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Monday, 30 January 2012

Do these people actually READ their copy before they run it? And how does it get into print? What do you think?

We just got back from Milan, which I guess is now the fashion capital of the world. I was pretty stunned by how badly ordinary people dress. Not as badly as here or New York, but nothing special.

We were really there to pick up some bargains and visit friends. To get the bargains we went to Lugano where there is an incredible outlet with all the top European brands. I saved a ton.

We never really change do we? I still take the most childish delight from bargains. And I still collect examples of outstandingly stupid copy, a task in which many kind people assist, including Andrew Gadsden, Tea Merchant Extraordinaire.

Recently he sent me a classic: "Maximise your competitors' performance within minutes". Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we can't tell the difference between competitors and competitive. And oh what dire stuff we come up with when we try to be creative before lapsing into cliché. Under that unfortunate subject line was a weird picture of a pyramid emitting rays (maybe death rays?) with the line "Shining Light on Transparency".

Then the copy opens with (oh no, not again) "In today's highly competitive marketplace blah, blah, blah, blether, blether."

A shame really as what they are offering - for the first time ever - is a free report on what the reader's competitors are doing to get business in the public sector. Why the hell they don't just say so in almost exactly those words is a mystery. As is another classic Andrew sent me: ABC Racking - Shelving Your Ambitions.

Actually, that's not a mystery; it just shows yet again how people think some silly slogan is marketing - a delusion not confined to providers of pallets in the Midlands, but which pervades every level of marketing, from bibulous golf-playing marketing directors and incomprehensible planners to coke-snorting junior copywriters and art directors.

Incidentally, Andrew's firm - www.allabouttea.co.uk - which I've always fondly hoped is just Andrew and lots of girls - holds the Guinness record for the largest tea bag ever made. When I asked him which run-of-the-mill tea is best he said Yorkshire Tea. So I have bought it ever since. 

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