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Monday, 26 October 2009

What the hell are you doing in Minsk, Drayton?

Yes, Minsk, folks. And no, it's not a secret location near Manchester.

I'm doing a talk in Belarus (of which Minsk is the capital) because I impressed someone in Cuba a couple of years back when we did a seminar on how to sell cars - oh, it's too complicated to explain.

But the organiser, Natalia, asked me a question, and I wonder if your answers would be the same.

She asked what new things I thought people should be doing in marketing or management because of the present misery - which has affected people in Eastern and Central Europe far worse than here.

I replied

"There is absolutely NOTHING new in management or marketing to be learned from the current crisis. But there are many OLD things that people have NEVER learnt.

In Marketing a) Always measure, not gamble on what you or your boss or your wife likes. b) never spend without testing on small numbers before wasting money on large numbers.

In Management a) look outside at customers, not inside at your own organisation - "There is only one profit centre in business. It is your customer" - Peter Drucker. b) Ask constantly about every person in your business: "What is this person doing to make or save money for the business?"

And, in marketing and management: Never have a meeting unless it has a purpose that you are SURE is aimed at improving profits and that any decision will be acted on.

I am rather depressed that I decided
these things made sense about 40 years ago. I have learned nothing much since, which is no surprise. But nor has anybody else, which is.

Or am I wrong?

Am I going ga-ga?

You're an amazingly intelligent lot, so I'm curious as to what you think, dear readers.

For quite a few years I worked on American Express, doing creative and training and helping run the account around the world.

They had a unique positioning - expressed in the famous letter that began "Quite frankly, the Americasn Express Card is not for everyone ..."

I sometimes think that, not the famous Wall Street Journal Letter, must have been the most profitable letter ever written.

But here's my question

Now American Express are offering Cardmembers pre-sale tickets on The Monster Ball Tour starring Lady Gaga.

Does that fit in with their positioning? Yes or no?

Friday, 23 October 2009

In India they do things differently ...

Here's a story for you from India, in case you're wondering why daily applications of Lynx haven't done the trick.

It was headed, Man sues Axe, as unable to get girl

A 26-year-old man has filed a case against Hindustan Unilever, which owns the Axe brand of men grooming products, for ‘cheating’ and causing him ‘mental suffering’.

The plaintiff has cited his failure to attract any girl at all even though he’s been using Axe products for over seven years now. Axe advertisements (it's essentially an Indian version of Lynx, sold in the U.K.) suggest that it helps men instantly attract women.

Vaibhav Bedi, the petitioner, surrendered all his used, unused and half-used deodorant sprays, perfume sticks and roll-ons, anti-perspirants, aftershaves, body washes, shampoos, and hair gels to the court, and demanded a laboratory test of the products and narcotics test of the brand managers of Axe. Vaibhav was pushed to take this step when his bai (maid) beat him with a broom when he tried to impress her by appearing naked in front of her after applying all the Axe products.

He espressed his unhappiness with touching directness.

"Where the fuck is the Axe effect? I’ve been waiting for it for over seven years. Right from my college to now in my office, no girl ever agreed to even go out for a tea or coffee with me, even though I’m sure they could smell my perfumes, deodorants and aftershaves. I always applied them in abundance to make sure the girls get turned on as they show in the television. Finally I thought I’d try to impress my lonely bai who had an ugly fight with her husband and was living alone for over a year. Axe effect my foot!”

Vaibhav claims that he had been using all the Axe products as per the company’s instructions even since he first bought them. He argued that if he couldn’t experience the Axe effect despite using the products as directed, either the company was making false claims or selling fake products.

“I had always stored them in cool and dry place, and kept them away from direct light or heat. I’d always use a ruler before applying the spray and make sure that the distance between the nozzle and my armpit was at least 15 centimeters. I’d do everything they told. I even beat up my 5-year-old nephew for coming near my closet, as they had instructed it to keep away from children’s reach. And yet, all I get is a broom beating from my ugly bai.”

I sympathise. I have been taking internet courses that swear I'll make millions in my sleep for years now - but here I am, still penned up in my little Chelsea flat, still going to work every day. Where the fuck is my yacht?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

On November 16th I'll be in a secret location near Manchester...

"What kind of Special Agent piffle is that, Bird?" I hear you ask. "Have you lost the last of your few remaining marbles, you mooncalf?"

Not quite. I'm going to be there because everyone keeps telling me you can make scads and scads of cash from social networks, and I ain't - but there's a man who says he knows how it's done and promises he'll tell me.

In fact he seems to know how it's done to such a tune that he's been all over the media like a rash. Also he seems to have good taste in wine, so why not?

His name's Mark Attwood and the only thing I really have against him is that he's been interviewed by Chris Evans. But then we all have out own little career troughs, don't we?

Anyhow, if you too are failing to make scads and scads of cash from blogging, twittering, linking-in, you tubing and facebooking, why not look at http://markattwood.com/ArtOfBlogging2009.html? As you will see it's all blessedly simple stuff.

The other reason to be there is purely that I want to learn more from Ken McCarthy who will also be talking. If you know anything about internet marketing you know Ken's the man who taught most of the people who've made squillions in outer space.

But what might also appeal to you is that Mark's thing is not expensive. (Maybe he's holding it in a field somewhere).

Anyhow, if you decide to go, sidle up to me and say, "Hello, Sailor, it's all your fault."

Seriously, though, the train is leaving. If you don't understand how social media work, you're in danger of becoming a marketing dinosaur. You wouldn't want that, would you?

For those of you who are not exacty thrilled with Ryanair and think low price can come with charm ...


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Do you get messages about these Gestapo seminars for useless managers?

The latest one - shades of 1984 - is called How Managers Can Confront - and Stop - Unacceptable Employee Behavior

It sure tells you how to kick the rebs into line

It includes a "module" called "Progressive Discipline: The "Career Advocate" Method for Salvaging Endangered Employees".

The "overview" says that "every manager encounters employees who cross the line into unacceptable behavior. Maybe they tell off-color jokes. Spread gossip. Act like slobs. Practice poor personal hygiene. Ridicule core organizational values."

What kind of person talks about "core organizational values?"

You can just picture it.

"Bloggs! Stand to attention. Have you been ridiculing core organisational values, you treacherous wretch?"

God, what garbage. Aimed at people with three fatal problems.

1. Don't know how to hire the right people.

2. Don't know how to manage or motivate them.

3. Speak in some weird pseudo-English that only exists among the living dead.

There's a lot of them about. Like zombies they walk jerkily about in large firms, politics and government.

Incidentally, one of the greatest TV commercials ever, the one that made Apple and Chiat/Day famous, was based on the visceral loathing normal people have for this mindless, totalitarian approach to managing people.

Watch it.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A holy man's last request

An old priest lay dying in a London hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital.

He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling MP before I die", whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father", replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to The Houses of Parliament and waited for a response.

Soon the word arrived; Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling would be delighted to visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Brown said, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will help our images - might even get me re-elected. Darling agreed.

When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Brown's hand in his right hand and Darling's hand in his left.

There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally Gordon Brown spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ."

"Amen", said Brown. "Amen", said Darling.

The old priest continued, "Jesus died between two lying thieves. I wish to do the same."

Yahoo up their own derriere - the $100 million rebranding that won't work. Not ever.

A few years ago I chaired a series of lectures or something like that for some of the best advertising students in Britain.

They had to do an exercise on selling Yahoo, and the overwhelming impression I formed was that whilst the students were quite bright, Yahoo had no idea what they were selling or why anyone should prefer them to Google.

Now I see Yahoo is spending $100 million on a rebranding campaign. Research reveals - says Advertising Age - that "users want the web to be more personally relevant".

Yes, they paid to find that out. For nothing I will tell you that everybody wants everything to be personally relevant. This is why they buy things, you cluckheads.

But let us turn aside from such idiocy, and note that Ogilvy & Mather has created a campaign "of outdoor and print executions that spout generic-sounding affirmative slogans such as 'There's a new master of the digital universe: You,' while showing people dancing and skateboarding against colorful backgrounds. It also modified a version of the marketer's familiar yodel in TV ads."

Pretty vomit-making stuff which assumes the customer is a moron - not a good idea, said David Ogilvy - but more to the point, utterly irrelevant. Why do advertising people imagine you change the way people see your brand - and consequently get them to buy more - by sticking new labels on old jars? Expensive ones in this case.

You don't. A brand is formed (as David Ogilvy also pointed out) of a myriad impressions; but these start with what it is, not a series of childish messages. Moreover, once a brand's image is fixed in people's minds that image is hard, almost impossible to shift. To achieve that very difficult trick you have to DO something different. For instance, Skoda's image did not change until Volkswagen started making their cars.

Mind you, I imagine they all know that at Ogilvy & Mather - but who can turn down that many millions?

It isn't working, clearly, or Yahoo wouldn't have just called in Goodby, Silverstein to the rescue. But they can't make water run uphill either.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap

I got this today, with a heading about beating the Postal Strike. It's a relevant comment on commercial suicide as practiced by the Royal Mail.

"I wanted to drop you a quick line to see if you were working on ways to beat the postage strike as my Cambridge client has a super way for businesses to save money on postage & printing as well as enable marketing material to be received on time.

Their 'green postbox' is of course environmentally friendly too.

There are some short clips on the website that explain a little more on:
www.howtobeatthepostalstrike.co.uk - it may be something for you as well.

Feedback from someone who saved £20,000 and who beat the postal strike follows as well as more information about www.howtobeatthepostalstrike.co.uk.

Unfortunately I have no interest in this, but I wish I did.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The mole speaks out about Billy and the Morons...

My well-placed mole (who is not a Tory politician - he writes too well) says this:

Billy and around 420,000 others (past and present employees of the Royal Mail) are currently around £8 billion to £10 billion quid short on their pensions, sums which would probably make even 'Sir' Fred Goodwin reach for the decanter of 50 year old malt and think about quietly toeing the line for a while.

Not our posties though. The only way that debt is going to get paid is if you and I and few million other mugs still paying their taxes chip in and pay it off for them. If they're lucky then Lord Mandelson of Transylvania will cut some deal that bails the ungrateful tossers out, passing the piss-takingly large deficit on to you and me and handing the dysfunctional business over to some outfit from Latvia who like as not will actually do a better job with it.

Maybe they won't get lucky though. There's an election coming and I don't think little Lord Fauntleroy Cameron will be quite so sympathetic to their plight and let's face it, if it came to a popularity contest, right now I reckon even Arthur Scargill would measure up well against our posties.

For sheer destructive idiocy they are the financial equivalent of suicide bombers; hell-bent on blowing up their jobs and taking as many of our businesses down with them as they can. At least the suicide bombers wouldn't have the chutzpah to ask us to bail out their pensions.

NOTE: Chutzpah. A Yiddish word best explained by the story of the man who murdered his parents and said to the judge, "How can you prosecute an orphan?"

SELF-SERVING COMMERCIAL: The delegate ratings of EADIM talks were: 214 excellent, 187 very good, 37 good and 11 mediocre. Have ever seen anything as good as that? Even a video interview I showed got an excellent rating.

you be there next year? We shall probably run two long weekends.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dumb and dumber. Fat-gut Billy tells it like it is in his historic drive towards total unemployment. TNT anyone?

The other night I was in my local which is frequented by postal "workers" who do half a day then go in there to down six or seven pints of lager.

I start around the same time as them and finish a great deal later - and more sober, I imagine.

The man from the Union was there, and three of four of them were, with quiet glee, coordinating their next strike.* The mastermind behind this is a man called Billy "call me shit for brains" Hayes.

"I'm more powerful than Arthur Scargill" he boasts.

This is rather like saying that as a skier I'm even worse than Eddie the Eagle (see above)**

For those of you who've forgotten, Artur Scargill, besides having the worst hairdo ever sported by a public figure in the last 50 years (see above) managed to comprehensively destroy the jobs of a great many coal miners and ensure the re-election of Margaret Thatcher which was, to say the least, not what he had in mind.

Up-his-own arse Billy is right though. He will do a MUCH better job of losing his members' jobs than Arthur ever did.

I do not know of any sane client (and one of mine sends out 48 million pieces a year through the Royal Mail) who is not actively seeking or has not already found an alternative to Billy's boozers. I do not know of any ordinary person who would not switch suppliers in a heartbeat if they could.

When the strike began, the union said it was the biggest since the national strike of 2007. But the Royal Mail said service was at close to normal. Gives you an idea what a useless bunch they are.

Billy doesn't care either way. His pension is secure. His followers' families will pay.

I guess the moral is that a bunch of tipsy products of the British educational system aren't necessarily best qualified to think straight.

For overseas readers:

* The Royal Mail is to postal services what Alitalia is to airlines. It loses millions, but they haven't shut it down and want to sell off part of it so someone can make it profitable. The unions are busy striking - just before the peak season of Christmas.

** Eddies the Eagle was a man who couldn't ski - but who managed to get to the Olympics and make a fool of himself to general hilarity. Think Gordon Brown, but funny.

I aplogise for not showing a pic of Fat Billy - but we can only fit two idiots in at a time.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The credit crunch: a victim speaks

A friend who was in the IT business has severe financial problems. I know how he feels, because I've been there myself.

It's not really his fault - he's been screwed right, left and centre by one or two business associates. But in the meantime, as the bankers whack out million pound bonuses all round, he explains his relationship with his creditors very well.

"My mortgage arrears of £3,604, and debt arrears of £1,820 could do with a little attention. I really feel sorry for them you see. They write such desperate letters to me. And when I call to tell them the bad news, they don't seem to understand when I explain that it's all their fault.

I tell them that any club that would have me as a member, I usually steer clear of. But they were so insistent at the beginning, I thought it would be rude not to accept their very generous offers. And when I explain that if they'd stopped at low-lives like me, and not invited millions of even lower-lives in the States to join the same club, I might still be making the payments.

They find no consolation in my joy at having left the IT world that was decimated by them closing membership to the lowest of the low - lawyers - who could no longer freely walk away with their shareholders money (the UK government and me) and buy our IT stuff."

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

No wonder Tesco are worried... or, time to leave the country before they switch the lights out

In case you didn't notice, the other day the boss of Tesco let out a yowl of dismay about the dire state of education here. When a supermarket can't find people smart enough to arrange the fruit and veg, God knows we're in shit.

Just to remind you, among our fond memories of the Great Bliar's "Britain-in-Debris-Before-I- Slope-Off-Leaving-Maniac McToad-To-Arrange-The-Funeral" Programme is that he was committed to "education, education, education" - not, as it turned out, "fuck up, piss off, cash in".

So here is an instructive selection of magic moments from British Quiz programmes to remind us how well he fulfilled his promise.

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?

Contestant: Homosexuals.

Jeremy Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.


Jamie Theakston:Where do you think Cambridge University is?

Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.

Jamie Theakston: There's a clue in the title.

Contestant: Leicester


Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?

Contestant: I don't know.

Stewart White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?

Contestant: Arm

Stewart White: Correct And if you're not weak, you're...?

Contestant: Strong.

Stewart White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?

Contestant: Louis

Stewart White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?

Contestant: Frank Sinatra?


Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy ?

Contestant: France.

Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.

Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.

Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question.. In which country is the Parthenon?

Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.

Trelinski: Just guess a country then.

Contestant: Paris.


Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: - Prison, or the Conservative Party?

Contestant: The Conservative Party.


DJ Mark : For 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?

Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?


Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name?

Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM ( Bristol )

Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963 ?

Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.


Phil: What's 11 squared?

Contestant: I don't know.

Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.

Contestant: Is it five?


Richard: Which American actor was married to Nicole Kidman?

Contestant: Forrest Gump.


Richard: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?

Contestant: Er. .. ..

Richard: He makes bread . .

Contestant: Er . ....

Richard: He makes cakes . .

Contestant: Kipling Street?


Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?

Contestant: Barcelona.

Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.

Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain .


Question: What is the world's largest continent?

Contestant: The Pacific.


Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?


Steve Le Fevre: What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?

Contestant: Magna Carta?


James O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?

Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... Er, er .... Three?


Chris Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna ?

Caller: Japan.

Chris Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.

Caller: Er ...... Mexico ?


Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?

Contestant (long pause): Fourteen days.


Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?

Contestant: Holland?

Daryl Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.

Contestant: Iceland? Ireland ?

Daryl Denham: (helpfully) It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?

Contestant: No.


Phil Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?

Contestant: Er. ... ..

Phil Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . .

Contestant: Blimey?

Phil Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . ..

Contestant: (Silence)

Phil Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . .. .

Contestant: Walked?


Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?

Contestant: Nostalgia.


Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?

Contestant: Jewish.

Presenter: That's close enough.

(Sounds like BRMB operates on the same basis as the national curriculum, folks)


Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?

Contestant: Jesus.

By the way everyone, the headline in yesterday evening's copy of London Lite, a free newspaper, was all about the fact that Louis Walsh was not going to appear as a judge in The X Factor because Stephen Gately, a singer, has died and Louis is too upset to appear.

Now there's a paper that knows the intellectual level of most of its readers.

Monday, 12 October 2009

How many mugs are paying their IT agencies to get screwed like this? Or, there's one born every minute

Recession or no recession, there are still plenty of rip-offs going on.

I know one client that pays an agency tens of thousands a month just for being there. Not doing anything. Just being there.

My friend Ian reports:

One of my clients needed some code adding to their website, it’s something I could do in 10-minutes, but as the website developer wouldn’t let me have access to the server, my client had to ask them to quote for the work.

They said it would take 2-hours and when asked to substantiate their time replied:

Recieve (sic) request. (so they charge to receive my email!)

Review and understand request.
(That’s f’ing brilliant, how pig ignorant are they? Apologies to any pigs reading this.

Specifiy (sic) and quote changes required and confirm with customer (So you’re sending back my request with some prices plucked from the air with it?)

Compare live and local versions of file. (So why would they be different if the site is live?)

Merge differences and open code for editing. (I’ll try that next time a client asks me to open a Word document to revise some copy.)

Apply code to local development version. (Ditto)

Test changes. (This is where we discuss if Andrew Strauss should remain opening bat for England.)

Open up access request on server. (How long does it take to log on?)

Create backups of the old file. (Dear Client, before I change the headline in your copy, I must charge you for backing up the version you didn’t like. This could take about 10-minutes, I’m sure you’re dozy enough to understand.)

Upload new file. (Like this takes forever.)

Test live server. (Test the 13-amp socket with a wet screwdriver while you’re at it.)

Document changes. (Is this a copy of your Specify and Quote Changes document?)

Review. (Who are you, A A f’ing Gill?)

This is by all means not a full list but gives an indication. (WTF did you leave out?)

I’m in the wrong business said my pal.

This kind of stuff goes on because too many clients don't know what they are doing, and because the word online addles what little brains they have.

David Ogilvy used to have a sign saying, “Please God, send us smart clients.”

Amen to that. And praise the Lord that I have a few.

But not enough.

Er ... if you want to benefit from the economy bullshit generator I so generously offered

It would have been helpful if I'd given you the right link ...



But you must make allowances. When I was young they were just introducing gaslighting.

Specially for people wishing to improve their language. Two versions.

A group of children were trying to get used to nursery.

The biggest hurdle was that the teacher insisted on NO baby talk.

You must use 'Big People' words,' she was always telling them.

"John, what did you do over the weekend?"

"I went to visit my Nana".

"No, you went to visit your GRANDMOTHER.

Use 'Big People' words!"

She then asked Mitchell what he had done

"I took a ride on a choo-choo".

She said. "No, you took a ride on a TRAIN.

You must remember to use 'Big People' words".

She then asked little Alex what he had done?

"I read a book" he replied.

said the teacher .

"What book did you read?"

Alex thought very hard, then puffed out his chest with great pride, and said,

"Winnie the SHIT".

Those of you who working in places that require you to spend a lot of time talking shit about strategy in meetings may find the economy bullshit generator more helpful.

I have offered it before, but I am sad to note that some of you are still not using it. You will never succeed in any large organisation until you do.


Let's go, team!

By the way, if any of you talk about your "teams" or "team-building exercises" in business, stop it now. You're not playing soccer, you buffoons.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

New bra invented

No commercials today ...

Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

At a news conference, after announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and kicked the shit out of him.

Now THAT is what I call a joke.

Thanks Glenmore Trenear-Harvey, Phd and bar.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Ben and Karl (the rocket scientist) launch their squirrel on an eagerly waiting world ... and another lousy joke

I'm so sorry ... part of this slipped out yesterday.

Once again, whiz down to the joke if more guff about EADIM is not your bag ... and you've heard enough about business to last you a lifetime.

But if you really want to make more money on the internet, you'll love Karl (who really WAS a rocket scientist) and Ben of Conversion Rate Experts. They were the first ever authorised Google Optimiser Consultants in Europe.

Go and look at their site if you want to download lots and lots of free advice - but if you wanted to get the knowledge you need to succed with your websiteand be entertained as you go, you'd have loved yesterday.

First, to general delight they revealed their mascot, which is actually a squirrel in human form ... talked about what we say to dogs – and what they hear ... how you can end up paying £55 for “free” business cards – and lots of essential good advice.

After them Toon Vanparys of www.netmining.com amazingly managed to look good, even after Karl and Ben ... as he showed a “magic” way to get up to 5 times as many people to leave details on your site ...and did it all live.

Lastly, when we were all worn out, Guy Stainthorpe, who runs an amazingly complex mail order business managed the impossible. He made the maths of direct marketing entertaining – and did so at the end of the day. How can you make tired people laugh as you explain the concept of lifetime value? Ask Guy!

Enough already. Here's the joke.

An elderly lady who had been widowed ran an ad in the paper.






On the second day, she heard the doorbell.

She opened the door to see - much to her dismay - a grey-haired gentleman sitting in a wheelchair.

He had no arms or legs.

The old woman said, 'You're not really asking me to consider you, are you?

Just look at you...you have no legs!

The old man smiled, 'Therefore, I cannot run around on you!'

She snorted. 'You don't have any arms either!'

Again, the old man smiled, 'Therefore, I can never beat you!'

She raised an eyebrow and asked intently, 'Are you still good in bed???'

The old man leaned back, beamed a big smile and said...

How d'you think I rang the doorbell?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

How they sell Pizza in Lima, Peru ... and your joke for today

I bet you thought I was going to drive you crazy every day with loads of dull stuff to flog you Eadim, right?

Wrong. You misjudge me: only every other day. And don't worry - there's a joke at the end.

Tuesday was quite different to laugh-a-minute Monday – lots of rather deep stuff about databases ... especially from one of my partners, Professor Dirk Van Den Poel of Gent University, one of the highest rated data analysts the world. Important if you want to make money and you had to concentrate.

Then came a bit more comic relief from Bird and a wonderful talk by Andrew Boddington who used to work with me on Mercedes and a few other things - and who makes highly technical things seem so simple.

Then we had (Oh, God) even more Bird, after which things improved.

Martin Chilcott made CRM seem simple, showed lots of ludicrous charts from firms who rip dumb marketers off with CRM "solutions" - and told stories about his experiences around the world as a marketing director for firms like Amex, M & G, Thomas Cook and so on. He had us all in hysterics about the bollocks marketers talk about having relationships with customers. "Customers don't
want a relationship with you" - Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco.

And he talked about his experience as a spattered-with-spit bouncer for Madness, a part-time DJ ...and all the things that make him a real person and about ten times better than all those corporate drones who lord it over marketing departments for a year or so before they get found out and fired.

Then came Steve Harrison, widely regarded as the best direct marketing creative in the world today, certainly the most awarded and a damn sight better speaker than me AAAARGH. So, no surprise, he had everyone in stitches as he showed some extraordinary work - including how they sold Pizza Delivery in Lima, where people are afraid to open their doors to strangers.

He's speaking in Las Vegas in a bit; a change from Jermyn Street -- I believe every single member of the audience bought his book on
How to do better creative work. In fact Romania's rather gorgeous Diana Stoiescu who was at last year's EADIM came in specially to have her copy signed.

If you're beginning to think this little shindig is quite good fun, utterly different to the usually snore-a-minute marketing gabfests - and maybe even quite good - you're right. But you probably don't give a shit, do you? So ...

Here's your joke for today.

I urgently needed a few days off work, but, I knew the Boss would not let me take leave.

I thought that maybe if I acted 'Crazy' then he would tell me to take a few days off.

So I hung upside-down on the ceiling and made funny noises.

My co-worker (who's blonde) asked me what I was doing.

I told her that I was pretending to be a light bulb so that the Boss might think I was 'Crazy' and give me a few days off.

A few minutes later the Boss came into the office and asked, 'What in the name of good GOD are you doing?'

I told him I was a light bulb.

He said, 'You are clearly stressed out.' Go home and recuperate for a couple of days.'

I jumped down and walked out of the office...

When my co-worker (the blonde) followed me, the Boss asked her, '..And where do you think you're going?!'

She said, 'I'm going home, too. I can't work in the dark.'

Boom, boom.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

"If you act like a sheep, you'll get slaughtered" ... and how would you like to get better ideas?

Most of this will only interest you if you're in business and you want to do better, so scroll down if you just read my stuff for laughs.

The first part of today's heading comes from Rowan Gormley's talk yesterday at EADIM. He pointed out that doing what everyone else does is the quick route to disaster - and made some pretty cutting remarks about the way many businesses operate - and fail.

He had us all in fits of laughter describing his one-day career in accountancy, his work setting up three businesses with Richard Branson and one on his own. Mostly, he discussed his mistakes. He claimed he had made more than anyone in the audience. He should have asked me ... and I forgot to ask him how he got Jamie Oliver to work with him at Naked Wines, his latest venture.

But what he said about what worked and didn't in the businesses he has founded and run made us all think - especially about the catastrophic results of going to big database and direct marketing agencies - who nearly ruined him with needless segmentation and lunatic creative ideas.

I then came on and my usual selection of old jokes about animals and teenagers plus a goodly helping of glimpses of the obvious made him look a lot better then me - because he is. Things picked up a lot when Marta Caricato managed to make the subject of planning not only clear and interesting, but funny.

But the BIG surprise of the day was from a client of ours whom I invited at the last minute. Chris Griffiths offers the only authorised on-line version of Tony Buzan's mindmapping.

Chris - who was already a highly successful entrepreneur - turned down millions in financing to work on this for ten long years and what he showed had an audience who should have been snoozing after very long day really sit up and pay attention.

For example: did you know that NASA research shows a 5 year old is 98% highly creative ... whilst a 25 years old is only 2% highly creative? Did you know that doodling during a presentation doubles your chance of remembering things?

And you certainly don't know that I'm filming all this stuff - so if interests you, keep reading tomorrow.

Did I promise you a joke?

The Funeral Procession

A man was leaving a convenience store with his morning coffee when he
noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby

A long black hearse was followed by a second long black hearse about 50 feet behind the first one.

Behind the second hearse was a solitary man walking a dog on a leash.

Behind him, a short distance back, were about 200 men walking single file.

The man couldn't stand the curiosity. He respectfully approached the man
walking the dog and said, 'I am so sorry for your loss, and this may be
a bad time to disturb you, but I've never seen a funeral like this.
Whose funeral is it?'

'My wife's'.

'What happened to her?'

The man replied, 'My dog attacked and killed her'

He inquired further, 'But who is in the second hearse?'

The man answered, 'My mother-in-law. She was trying to help my wife
when the dog turned on her.'

A poignant and thoughtful moment of silence passed between the two men.

'Can I borrow the dog?'

The man replied, 'Get in line.'

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Brighton frolics: my mole reports on the Jovial Toad and other assorted loonies. And is our Harriett as mad as a box full of frogs, or what?

Would you like to know what all the people who are busy ruining your life are really like? Now's your chance. My mole in Whitehall sent me a report from behind the scenes at the Labour Party shindig last week, with an introduction that read:

"Knowing your preoccupation with the venality, incompetence, hubris and self-absorption of politicians, I thought this might be of interest to you".

This distinguished mole is, as you will see, a very good writer, so I have changed very little.

"Life is experience and experience, life; when offered the opportunity to indulge fascination and revulsion in equal measure I could no more decline the invitation than could an investment banker ignore a £50 note poking from a crack-whore's cleavage.

So it was that last Tuesday evening I boarded the Brighton train for a night at the Labour party gala dinner.

I learned several things including a surprising amount about the economy and political governance of the Isle of Man, after talking to their Agriculture Minister.

Tax haven and homophobia was how one of the Labour party faithful characterised the island's chief exports, upon being introduced to him, suggesting that whatever PR purposes the Minister had in mind when he applied for his conference pass, he still has some work to do.

Did you know that Delaware is an offshore tax haven? I didn't. The Isle of Man is quite keen that everyone knows about this, so I'm just letting you know. This is the kind of stuff you learn at these events.

Harriet Harman is barking mad; delusional; not safe out on her own. "Why?" she wailed, "why can't voters see the flaws in Conservative policies? Why?" she demanded, "do they not see what a good man Gordon Brown is?"

Harriet, dear, I thought to myself, you have been in this game too long; you need a bit of a lie down and then some time out in the ordinary world again. I didn't share these thoughts with her. She'll find out soon enough next May, bless her.

Ruth Kelly was sitting nearby. She was very nice, in fact she exudes a curious manly charm that I find slightly beguiling. She seems very normal, unlike dear Harriet, which makes the Opus Dei Christian fundamentalist stuff all the harder to deal with. Give me zealots with straggly beards and a tea-towel on their heads and I know where I stand. If they have a prosthetic hook instead of a hand, that helps too.

Ben Bradshaw came over after dinner to say hello. Obviously he hadn't a clue who I was, more a case of working the room and perhaps casing out potential dance partners for later on. He and and a few others were ejected from the Grand hotel bar at 1.30 the following morning after raucous renditions at the piano of Jerusalem and other popular favourites (see the Evening Standard for details).

A friend tells me she was at college with Bradshaw and that he had the hots for her. When she spurned him he found solace in arms of a chum. Perhaps so.

Lesley Garrett not only sings with quite astonishing gusto, she also displays the same brand of myopic party loyalty that makes the Harperson such a hazard to the civilised world. It's a shame really, I quite enjoyed the singing, in an 'applying a pair of tweezers to unwanted nasal hair' kind of way.

Then there was Gordon, the great toad himself. He tried to tell a joke. You could tell his aides had taught him it. It probably took quite a while, judging by his performance. He does have presence, but then so does a two week old horse cadaver.

There used to be a culture in insurance companies that people would be promoted to the level of their own incompetence, reaching a pay grade one step beyond their natural ceiling, at which point they would get stuck. Gordon Brown is the epitome of that tradition. He has frittered away the good fortune he inherited as Chancellor and is now floundering in a role which is clearly beyond his capabilities.

He may indeed be a good man, as Harriet insisted, certainly his wife seems fond of him, but he's not much bloody good as a prime minister."

By the way, folks, though Cameron could hardly be worse, will he be that much better? A piece in the Sunday Telegraph "by" him is full of piffle about giving power back to the people with hardly a practical example in sight. They hate detail, these pols.