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Saturday, 31 December 2011

What's in store in 2012? Odd language leads to pretty useless advice - and my touchingly generous offer expires today

One of the most profitable lines ever written was to sell the Kiplinger Letter. It ran for a good twenty years and read "Will there be more BOOM and more INFLATION ahead?" 

It worked because we all want to know what's going to happen; but I can save you a little trouble. There is no boom coming your way but a whole lot of inflation, because that's what happens when you print money, whatever fancy name you call it.

This is prompted by something I saw in an e-mag called "London Loves Business" which read: Market niches set to explode in 2012, according to the UK's most successful entrepreneurs.

Strange phraseology: niches do not explode, but I wanted to know what various experts thought. The answer is that most of what followed was a series of self-interested plugs by sundry individuals who think their business is going to do just great.

Stelios Hajimathingy thinks his easy businesses will go just great, except he didn't mention easyJet because he's having a row with them. A couple of guys in the dating business think people are going to want to leap into bed with each other more. 

And would you believe a property man thinks you could do well in prime property? A man who's been trying to make hydrogen batteries reckons he's finally cracked it. There were a couple of investment schemes I would be very careful about. And (surprise, surprise) mobile ads are doing well and will do better.

The whole piece was a big con. Most of the people were not London's most successful entrepreneurs. And other than Will King, the King of Shaves man and a guy who runs virtual gyms, all the advice was just flat-out self-promotion. 

I like the idea of virtual gyms. I could stop all my push-ups and crunches and just imagine I'm exercising. Actually, that's not unlike what most people end up doing after they join a gym: they go two or three times then quit. 

Don't laugh, though: research I read somewhere says that just imagining you're exercising actually works.

Changing the subject a little, do you ever find yourself astounded at the way you know you should do things - but you don't? I do, often.

That's why I spent much of yesterday making audio recordings. I have known for years that people like to listen to stuff in the car or while doing other things like the cleaning (which I do, believe it or not). But I have always put stuff out in video or written form. Stupid.

Anyhow three hours of wit and wisdom is now in the can ready for January. If you're one of those who has joined EADIM you'll start getting them. If you're not (I may have mentioned this before) well, the £600 saving deal ends when the year ends. Just a few hours from now.

After that, the New Year - no boom, but plenty of busts - is coming your way. In the deathless words of Bette Davis, "Fasten your seatbelts. We're in for a bumpy ride." .

Friday, 30 December 2011

How to have a Happy New Year: two options – plus thoughts on Special Relationships and General Folly

If you follow politics in the same bemused way as I do you may find yourself chortling from time to time at how British politicians harp on about a special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.

This certainly existed during World War 2, when a wonderful arrangement called Lend-Lease enabled us to stay afloat with the help of U.S. supplies that we eventually had to pay for - which pretty much ruined us.

Nowadays it seems to consist of British politicians a) competing to see which can lick the arse of the current president most vigorously – see Blair-Bush; and b) imitating the sillier ideas from over there.

Under the heading of General Folly who commands Major Disaster, Bush had a “Drugs Czar”. This is what they call gesture politics, and had about as much effect on drug taking as Prohibition had on boozing. So, ignoring a few more serious matters, Cameron has a Shopping Czar called Mary Portas. 

Her “mission” which she accepted with alacrity - think of the publicity, darlings! - is to Save the High Street. How fatuous is that? Is she going to ban online shopping and blow up all the supermarkets? And why isn’t she called a Czarina, by the way?

In the mad, mad world it seems by some mechanism I cannot comprehend that if people spend, spend, spend more on shopping the economy will be just fine. I can’t understand why pissing away money on rubbish is good for us all, but no worries: Bill Bonner in Money Week has just pointed out why this won’t happen.

It is because people don’t have the money. Or rather the wrong people have the money, to be more precise. 

In the last year, British CEOs increased their salaries, but certainly not their competence, by 49%. Ordinary workers got 2.6% more. That is less than they lost by inflation. In the U.S, one obscenely grasping CEO paid himself $145,266,190. 

(Of course, he was in the “health-care” or rip-off industry. Sickening, isn't it, how bad health is in the U.S. considering how much it costs? In the most comprehensive survey I know of, the U.S. came 37th out of 37 nations - though costs are more than double any other nation's.)

Sadly, though there is only so much money these egregious wretches can piss away on vulgar yachts and overpriced modern art. 

So the question you might like to ask before my next commercial is this: if ordinary people don’t have as much money to spend, how can you make sure you get more than your fair share? 

It's simple really. f you want to have any kind of decent New Year at all, you’d better get better at marketing. A lot better.

I have two suggestions for you - then I won’t bore you much more for at least 24 hours.

1.  Grab one of the last handful of seats at EADIM, saving yourself £600.    

2.   Keep your eyes open in the first week of January, when I shall offer you a full year of marketing advice.

This will include a description, in riveting detail, of How I Came Back From The Dead.

Hard to beat that, eh?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Shooting cows and sparing milkmaids, or how to put the cart before the horse: an expert demonstrates. And why I’m ending this blog shortly

Years ago when I whizzed around the world telling people what to do (a role for which I was astoundingly unfitted) I arrived one sunny morning at a Canadian airport.

The office head met me and drove me into town. He had quite a problem. The office was losing money hand over fist. I had no idea what to suggest but I thought maybe the trick would be to get rid of a few people. But who?

So I asked him about office numbers. He had a small creative department – the people who put together the ads and mailings and so on. There were somewhat more account handlers – the charmers who deal with the clients. And there were even more in the accounts department – they send out the bills and keep score financially.

I said, “Well, David Ogilvy says you should never have more milkmaids than cows. You have that - more account handlers than creative people. But you have even more people counting the buckets of milk, which is pretty amazing. See what happens if you get the balance right.”

So he did, and the business went on to prosper – as did he. He is now the worldwide head of that particular organisation.

There is obviously a hell of a lot more to what he achieved than changing the numbers. He is very good blues harmonica player, for one thing. But I was reminded of all this when I heard what they are up to at the BBC. 

Mark Thompson – he who gets paid well over five times as much as the Prime Minister – has a “programme” or “initiative” called “Delivering Quality First”. Pardon me while I throw up before explaining that they are doing this by shooting cows and sparing milkmaids. 

They are getting rid of over 2,000 people in programme-making (cows) but sparing all the executives (milkmaids). There is no shortage of milkmaids at the BBC; in fact so many there are 1,800 job titles that include the words manager or management.

I have stolen most of that from the Oldie magazine, which also reveals that despite all these managers, analysts, officers, architects, executives and advisors one senior correspondent revealed recently that “it is incompetently managed from top to bottom.”

This story reminds me of one of Evelyn Waugh’s best jokes, delivered after Randolph Churchill had had his appendix out. He remarked how extraordinary it was that they had managed to remove the one part of Randolph that was not malignant.

Lastly, I have noticed one thing in life – demonstrated by the BBC story – that far too often people mistake change for improvement. 

The people who run this blog have introduced improvements which make it much harder for me, so I’m going to move it elsewhere shortly.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A gorgeous lady reveals why some people will be having a Merry Christmas - at your expense. Plus a funnier European joke

As all but the blind and stupid know, the news is increasingly brought to us by glamorous lady newsreaders.

The reason may lie in research I saw 40 odd years ago into what attracts the eye. This may well help you in your marketing, by the way.

Men look more at women than at men, and women look more at women than men, but they look at babies even more.

This may explain a few relationship mysteries to us males, but that is not my purpose here. Go and check out http://dotsub.com/view/01ad2718-073c-474a-ac40-c7a72e199d55. It will explain one reason why most people in this country (and I suspect many others too) are not keen on the joys of the European community. 

 Another is that 45% of the community's money goes to subsidising two groups. First, rich farmers who don't need the money. Second, poor farmers who need the money because they are not very efficient ... and get it because they are large in number, many are in France and Germany, and they all vote.

After that, a far better European joke.

Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece. 

The mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. 

When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor he wondered how he could afford it. 

The Spaniard said "You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to build a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end this house could be built". 

The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek Mayor's house - gold taps, marble floors - the lot. 

When he asked how this could be afforded the Greek said; "You see that bridge over there?"

The Spaniard replied "No." 

 And finally, a Swiss-Welsh joke. 

There is great stress placed on retaining the ancient language of Wales, which I applaud. 

It does give rise to oddities, though, as they have made up words for things that didn't exist 700 years ago - e.g. toilet is toiled, or ty bach, and paper is papur.

Anyhow, after that boring stuff you don't really need to know, I was entertained to receive the other day this message: Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. 

My Welsh is not what it was - I went to school in Wales, but only learnt rude words - but this means Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Why the sender, who works for a Swiss firm, imagines all his readers speak Welsh, I have no idea, but I would like to pass that message on to all readers in their respective languages - even my resident hissy old queen, Shannon O'Hara.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Putin would applaud the way America is going - and a tale about the joys of equality

While you were out celebrating, the fires of liberty were being extinguished, no doubt on the principle of "yes we can".

The U.S. Congress, abetted by Obama, has passed a Bill that means you can be arrested, thrown in jail, "questioned" for any reason or no reason at all. You don't have to be charged with anything. Don't waste time asking for your lawyer - or anyone else. They don't have to allow it, any more than they need read you your rights or provide any evidence.

And I might add that they also feel they have the right to do much the same thing anywhere in the world - to you or me. All this brings to mind nothing so much as the Spanish Inquisition, Stalin's Purges and Hitler's Germany.


 My friend Andy Owen sent me a parable which may be made up to attack Obama on the laughable grounds that he is socialist - but which bears thinking about.

 Allegedly an economics professor at a local college announced that although he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class.

The class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

 The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment on this". Everyone agreed.

"All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade, so no one will fail and no one will receive an A:.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset. The students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little, had studied even less. And the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too, so reduced their efforts too. The second test average was a D.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased, as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings - and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail, because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

From, this the following was concluded

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for, without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

I do not think Obama is a socialist. I think he is, like almost all politicians, something of a shit. Recently, in an effort to curry favour with the right, he has backtracked on his promise to introduce a more humane immigration plicy.

In fact more people are being deported and families being torn apart under his legislation than were under Bush.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I want to be a pygmy instead of pretending to be a giant. Also, a little embarrassment - and your advice, please

After Cameron's little squabble in Europe Mr. Clegg stamped his feet and said  "We risk being a pigmy on the world stage".

What an EXCELLENT prospect. I love the idea of being a pigmy nation - like Switzerland or Norway. Sarkozy, being a genuine pigmy, naturally feels the other way round.

Mr. Clegg seems to have an almost unnatural desire to grab hold of the wrong end of the stick and beat everyone up with it.

Offhand the only sensible idea I can recall from this government is to restore tax breaks to people who marry. Clegg says it is a bad idea to “preserve the 1950’s marriage in aspic”.

 As anyone with eyes to see and brains to use knows, one of our biggest nightmares today is teenage delinquency. And as we all (save Mr. Clegg and a few PC crackpots) also know,oceans of research and statistics show that children whose parents stay together are, on average, happier, less at risk and do better in life than the reverse.

One of my own greatest regrets is that my first marriage broke up. God save us from posturing fools after short term advantage at our families' expense.

This morning I woke up, as usual, absurdly early, to find a message from a client I am seeing on Monday for the first time. She wanted me to bring some samples of my copy for a meeting.

Oh God, I'm fearfully busy and it's years since anyone asked that. I've been getting away with it on wild claims and all-round waffle. I had to send an assorted batch I could scrape together from current projects and bits and pieces.

Well that got the shattered old brain creaking, and I had an idea. Tell me what you think - usual address, Drayton@Draytonbird.com, or comment here.

I currently have four projects lined up, and each might benefit.

1. There's the Spanish copy day at the end of April and beginning of March. We're just negotiating on hotels, but it looks like Malaga . A U.S. attendee suggested that while we were there I might as well add a second day.

3. There's Australia at the end of February.

3. There's EADIM on October 4th (I think).

4. There's also the relaunch of my Commonsense Marketing Series in January.

Well, I suddenly recalled that decades ago I used to do copy clinics where people aired their problems - usually one at a time, face to face - and I would give my views.

It was very popular. So I thought of doing the same thing within one, two or even all the things I just listed. I also thought of getting my partner Al involved. I always ask him to critique my stuff and he's full of good sense besides knowing more about the magic of the worldwide interweb than me.

Tell me what you think, if you're not too hung-over or busy wondering what the hell to give little Elspeth for Christmas (we did all our shopping yesterday, ha ha).

By the way, people haven't all coughed up yet, but we now have over 30 of the EADIM seats spoken for. Less than 10 to go. I greatly fear there'll be none left by New Year.

I had a most interesting "yes" from a Russian designer this morning. His site is full of highly original stuff. Not sure it sells well enough, though.

My dear friend Panda sent me this. I love it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGgKwggLaWw

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Well, well, well. Goodbye Magna Carta. Our gutless government did it to us. Now U.S. citizens can have their freedom removed. Plus Dumb-Dell

I read what follows this morning, so I have no idea whether it has come about.

However, I do know that years ago Tony "I gave Gadhafi a big wet kiss" the Bliar's flabby excuse for a government allowed the U.S. to whisk our citizens away and stick them in jail without trial or proof.

Memories are short, so you may not recall that this was part of Bambi Blair's campaign to insinuate his tongue as far up George W. Bush's arse as far as it could go. Anyhow, what goes around comes around, and it seems a Bill has come before the U. S. Senate that defines the whole of the United States as a ‘battlefield’ and allows the US Military to arrest American citizens in their own backyard without charge or trial.

“The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president — and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even US citizens could be swept up by the military, and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” writes Chris Anders of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

Under the ‘worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial’ provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor this week, the legislation will ‘basically, say in law, for the first time, that the homeland is part of the battlefield,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports the bill.

The bill was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) before being passed in a closed-door committee meeting without any kind of hearing. The language appears in sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA bill.

“I would also point out that these provisions raise serious questions as to who we are as a society and what our Constitution seeks to protect,” Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said in a speech last week. ‘One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil. Section 1031, essentially, repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the US military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.’

This means Americans could be declared domestic terrorists and thrown in a military brig with no recourse whatsoever. Given that the Department of Homeland Security has characterized behavior such as buying gold, owning guns, using a watch or binoculars, donating to charity, using the telephone or email to find information, using cash and all manner of mundane behaviors as potential indicators of domestic terrorism, such a provision would be wide open to abuse.

“American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely, without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?” asks Anders.

That report is taken from The Daily Reckoning. What follows is taken from the Bird postbag.

I have commented before on the rank stupidity of Dell's marketing, which is almost entirely based on discounting, a pretty good way to tell buyers your stuff isn't good enough to sell on its merits.

They do also have some copy, though. For instance, in an insert with my copy of The Week: "Give the gifts you wish you could hold on to."

When writing or reviewing copy it is wise to ask yourself questions like what the hell it means, and does it make any kind of sense. Do you hug your little computer to your chest? Are you worried that you might drop it down the toilet? Are you getting paid to write lines like that? Really? Why?

Another line in this insert is “Give the gifts they’ll love to open”. Why not “I saw Mummy kissing my Dell computer”?

I watched a programme about Steve Jobs last night, presented by that man who looks like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. I can just imagine what Jobs would have said about such rubbish.

Anyhow, the other thing interesting about Dell's leaflet is that they have one in every issue of The Week - but with no way I could see of properly measuring the results. Dumb.

Incidentally, I see this blog is being regularly reported in Facebook as abusive. What took so long?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Well, knock me down with a feather, he's at it again! Does the devil have all the best tunes? Plus the world's silliest offer

Yesterday I was on about the floppy-haired wunderkind J. P.Maroney.

He looks impossibly young to be so good. In only a few short weeks he has offered to turn me into a world-class public speaker, stick me in his Genius Incubator and make me a brilliant writer.

Step aside, Mozart, Dickens and Einstein, this THE man.

And as if those prodigies were not enough, in the middle of the night he whacked out another one.

He is so impressed with my progress - even without my having taken any of these astounding no-brains-talent-or-work-needed courses - that he wants to hire me!!!

Yes, gentle reader. I'm about to join the elite! Here it is, word for word. His invitation for this life-transforming and bank account draining opportunity starts

I want to HIRE YOU... [webinar explains all] Then it goes on:


I want to hire you.

My buddies want to hire you.

And, this new webinar on Friday
explains EVERYTHING about this

I'll share "How To Go From ZERO
To $10,000.00 Per Month Online
-- From A Standing Start!"

REGISTER and join me.

12:00 Noon Eastern
11:00 AM Central
10:00 AM Mountain
9:00 AM Pacific

I'll show you how to crank up and
start churning in the cash -- FAST.

So, if you haven't decided on a
specific online business to start
or run then join me on Friday for
this fresh, new webinar.

FACT is...

In most cases I can ONLY teach
something ... but I cannot
guarantee that someone will go out
and succeed.


If you follow my recommendations
in Friday's online workshop ...
I can GUARANTEE without hesitation
that you WILL get customers --

CUSTOMER (how's that for cool)?


What SPARKED this idea:

Another marketer interviewed me
one time and asked me to answer
this question...

"JP, if you suddenly lost your
whole business, your list, your
products, your clients, your
expert status ... and if you had
to start over with NOTHING ...
what would you do to QUICKLY get
up to turning $10,000.00 per month

I'm going to teach you that plan,
in detail on this RARE workshop
on Friday.

I guarantee...

Your life will NEVER be the same




PS: Over the last few years, I've
met a lot of people like you who
are basically starting with
NOTHING, and want to get up and
running making real money online.

They don't have a product, don't
have a list, don't have any real
"sellable" expertise (or at least
they think they don't).

This is ONE OPTION that
practically ANYBODY can do.

It's not some "MAGIC BULLET" that
pours money into your bank account
without you doing any work.

But, if you don't mind working a
little, and following a system,
you can make some SERIOUS CASH --

I'll teach you THE SYSTEM on
Friday -- 12:00 noon eastern.


Well, I was just about to join when I got an even better opportunity from Robert Grant of Crowd Conversion, another of my favourites. This one, full of Oriental Promise, is headed

$150 ninja software for nothing (open up)

I simply had to share this cool valuable free tool with you.

My friend Jonathan over at Heistit.com is letting you "legally steal" his $150 software.

This ninja software bangs out the coolest looking web pages at the click of a button.

Seriously, it's "cut and paste" easy. I wish I could tell you more but you'll have to.

Click Here To Grab This $150 Ninja Software For Free - No Catch, High Value.



Isn't that just awesome, Little Grasshoppers?

And to answer the question about the devil at the top, the answer is, "Very often, yes." You can learn a lot from these guys. The video in Mr. Grant's landing page is brilliant. Have a look. It's got every trick in the book

If for some reason you find yourself sceptical or even wondering why they don't offer to add 4" in to your dong, you can always try the other way to get rich, which is called hard work.

P. S. Maybe you'd be safer watching paint dry. If that appeals, go here http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/884763-first-ever-world-watching-paint-dry-championships-to-be-held-in-uk.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Today's great promise: writing for trailer-park f***wits. Watch out J. K. Rowling! Also, can you walk on water?

As faithful readers know I am an eager follower of the life and works of J. P. Maroney, a man so brilliant he can turn a Norwegian Elkhound into a best-selling author in 3 days flat.

This morning he writes to me promising all my troubles are over:

"If you want to know how to sell a ton of books and turn your books into client-getting marketing tools for your business then you're going to love my new Author Coaching Club ... Wait 'til you see all the cool stuff I'm giving you. Luv'it!

PS: Did you know something like 8 outta 10 people hope to some day write a book?"
Pretty inspirational stuff, eh? Maybe after all these wasted years I should forget scribbling away in English or sending off for Jeff Walker's Miracle Window Cleaner and Everlasting Traffic Gobbler and give my money to J. P. Because the sad fact is, I am one of the 8 outta 10 and I find "authoring" hard work.

In case you don't know it, J. P. is also "Mr. Monetizer" and just a few short weeks ago was offering me the chance to sit inside his Guru Incubator, having failed to get me to become a world-class public speaker in 37 seconds flat.

What a writing style the man has, though I am a tad disappointed that he didn't fit in the all-purpose teenage/marketing guru adjective "awesome" in there, not to mention that catchy little phrase "I gotta tell ya".

Whilst waiting for his How to Become a Nobel-Winning Nuclear Physicist Without Getting Out of Bed course, I just got this inspirational message from someone with a Hotmail address who's never heard of targeting and is utterly unfamiliar with the concept of the paragraph.

We are seeking an experienced Real Estate Office Manager/Sales Manager/Realtors to manage the Real Estate department of our Company, to develop and grow our existing sales team and rentals department. Would you like to play a pivotal leadership role in an established and highly successful Real Estate business in your region, then this position is perfect for you.You will be responsible for managing the candidates and the candidate process, supporting a small team of consultants on a daily basis with their admin and back office functions allowing them and the business to achieve overall sales targets. Responsibilities will include: * Ad writing (SEEK and My Career) * Continually introducing talent to the business by: * Meeting with new candidates through ad response * Headhunting talent out of the market * Telephone screening * Candidate coaching * Achievement of your individual revenue budget * Assist a team of experienced consultants in achieving their budgets We will offer YOU: * Uncapped earning potential * An extensive training program * A network of established and experienced colleagues * Development and career opportunities You will be given all the tools needed to succeed including ongoing coaching and mentoring from the leadership team. This coupled with your demonstrated experience, passion for the industry sector and your huge willingness to learn and achieve, will ensure your success. Ideally you will come from a Property or Real Estate background, or a recruitment agency. Your approach must be professional and intuitive, with the ability to hit the ground running in a fast paced environment.

Not asking for a lot, are they? I must hit the ground running, dig out on the old pivotal leadership role mask - next to my Superman outfit in the loft - and meet their leadership team.

P. S. All that stuff about J . P. was just sour grapes. He has a magnificent head of hair, and you can learn a lot about parting fools from their money from his website.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Back home, to hail, a leaky roof and a deluge of local government piffle

In New York the sun was shining. In Bristol it was pissing down. And in my flat it was going plonk, plonk, plonk into assorted buckets, bowls and pans.

Only the plants, which needed watering, have escaped.

Meanwhile in a website called London Loves Business it was raining jargon and cliché in the form of an ad from Harrow Council.

With the exception of property ads, recruitment advertising must surely be the worst.

But seriously, could anyone cram much more pretentious bosh into one small space than what follows? And what kind of person will apply? Someone who loves children? Or someone who talks bilge?

Here is the headline to the ad.

LSCB Senior Professional

Gripping, isn't it? It caught my eye because I had no idea what LSCB is. Nor, I bet do you.

More to the point, I suspect that anyone who does is probably divorced from the rest of humanity.

But if the headline was bad, just wait till you read the rest of the complacent self-praising disgraceful guff that follows

Support the groundbreaking new integrated Children’s Service in Harrow through innovative partnership working for the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB).

Play your part in a new model

In early 2012, we will launch a brand new operating model for Children’s Services – a radical transformation driven by a complete system re-design. This will be a seamless, fully integrated multi-agency service with one point of contact and a true team around the family. Our visionary approach is based on the firm foundations of evidence, best practice and extensive consultation.

Residents, partners and employees have informed the model’s development every step of the way. Joining us now will give you an important say in the detail and the development of service delivery as we continue on an ambitious journey to become the country’s best performing Children’s Service.

We are looking for an experienced safeguarding professional to work within the Quality Assurance and Service Improvement service to ensure efficient operation of LSCB and sub groups. You will have a key role in ensuring the efficient operation of LSCB meetings, sub groups and time limited task groups.

Look, I don't want to worry you all, but is there any soul in there? Is there any feeling? And how would you feel if your child were being "safeguarded" by people who think and talk like that?

Unfortunately I am time-limited after my flight, so will say no more, except thank you to those who replied to my mention of the joys of EADIM.

I think we now have 13 places left of 40, but I am also brain-limited after the flight, so maybe I've got the numbers wrong.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Where to invest your marketing money, free audio series, IBM suggests where NOT to buy software, and meaningless promises

A few people take the trouble to write to me and comment or suggest things, which I do appreciate.

Today my main challenge is to make a chili to poison the guests at my son Phil and his wife Megan's annual Christmas bash, but Robert Currey wrote to me about a (very good) blog by photographer Trey Ratcliff and asked what I thought.

Trey decided to measure the performance of his advertising in magazines - a blindingly obvious idea ignored by the fools in big firms who think marketing means just spraying money around at random with no regard to the results.

He concluded that print is now a waste of time. and we should throw everything on-line. Robert asked me if I agree. Here are some thoughts for you.

1. In the days back when I compared the ROI on advertising in trade mags with direct mail a couple of times. Direct mail did four times better. One reason, I think, is that most trade mags are tripe.

2. However, most advertising in mags is as bad as the editorial, so good ads work, as they shine out like good deeds in a naughty world.

3. Most people who use the internet haven't a clue and can't be bothered to study. It is NOT easy to understand. The water is muddied by thieving rogues who tell you all you need is either a) traffic b) good traffic c) be at the top of the Google rankings d) "my secret super launch formula" - that's made me a fortune out of mugs like you.

4. You must attract the right people - thousands of them; you must get them to give their details; you must follow them up with an endless series of messages - on auto-responder and otherwise - that are interesting, relevant and helpful enough to make them buy eventually. You must use all available channels (this one for example). A whole lot easier said than done when so few people can think clearly, write well, or even take the trouble to bloody count.

5. Direct mail is not dead. As more and more are lured on-line, it is still doing O.K. despite insanely high postal rates. So is door to door distribution.

6. Your prospects do not confine themselves to one medium. Nor should you. I am currently working on a worryingly wide range of stuff in many countries. Two clients sell new thinking to big business, another sells a home service, a fourth sells to collectors and investors, a fifth sells to people who want to improve themselves, a sixth sells to international travellers and a seventh sells to hobbyists, mostly ladies.

7. In no case are we using one medium, We are using SEO, auto-responder conversion techniques, video, direct mail and advertising, email, landing pages, advertising in trade and national press, co-operative deals and even van sides. All to multiple decision makers inside and outside the clients' firms.

I feel tired, which reminds me: a week or two back I offered a free cure for insomnia: a 10 part audio series on how to do decent marketing. I have been waiting for a decent mike to do it - time to start seeming vaguely professional.

The utterly useless twats in England who had one were taking over a month to deliver, so screw them. Be warned: they are (ha ha, very droll) a business partner of IBM called www.zoom4u.co.uk. IBM should be ashamed of themselves.

Don't go near them. Their idea of service includes the brilliant wheeze of having no phone number. I'm buying a mike here in New York and will do the recordings next week.


Politicians all over the world are crooks - but local ones are often worse than most. Here in New York one crook who has clearly had his hands in the till, big time, has managed to get off.

Back in the old U.K. with a quiet chortle, I read that Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London "pledges" to bring down London public transport fares by 7% if he is re-elected.

The chortle was the second of the day as far as he's concerned. He's written an autobiography that's promoted in posters as the man who tells it to you straight. What a comedian.

I don't know who is worse - him with all the crooked cronies he had around him - or Boris Johnson who in his first two years pissed away £9 million on "consultants". But I do know that every time I read the words "vow" or "pledge" a lie is not far behind.


Here's the blog I mentioned at the start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpTYWNbXKzA

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

At last! One of my favourite jokes brought to life by a rip-off specialist -- or maybe he's a philanthropist. What do YOU think?

By the time you read this I'll be winging my way across the Atlantic to sighs of relief here in the U.K. and moans of apprehension in the New York area.

A few moans from me, too, because when I see my son Phil I tend at some point to end up in a grand Irish bar in Soho the name of which always escapes me, but for some reason I think it's Italian.

Here's the joke, anyhow.

A researcher is asking a number of men (I have no idea why they were there) about their sex lives, and specifically how often the happy event occurs. "Who gets it every day?" he asks. Two raise their hands with smug grins. "And every other day?" Five happy souls raise their hands. "Once a week?" Fifteen, not quite so cheerful, confess to this.

And so it goes. As the intervals get greater, the happiness diminishes, until the researcher asks "Once a year?"

One little man man in the back row sticks his hand up, grinning all over his face.

"Well, you seem quite content," says the researcher.

"Tonight's the night!" cries the little man.

All this came back when I got an email from Steve Little with that very heading. He promises "a simple, easy to follow formula you can steal that is guaranteed to produce income for you" - and lots more in the same vein.

This reminds me of a story about the Duke of Wellington, then by far the most famous and recognisable person in England and perhaps Europe.

A man came up to him and asked, "Are you John Smith?"

"If you believe that you'll believe anything," replied the Duke.

The same I suspect applies to anyone who believes Mr. Little's promises.

I don't suppose he's worried though. There are many born every minute.

The Harlot's Progress - or The False Promise and Premiss of Procurement

In my parent's pub hung prints of Hogarth's great series, The Rake's Progress and The Harlot's Progress.

Their scenes of depravity, designed as awful warnings excited me no end, though I didn't know then that some of the figures shown were based on real life.

On the left we see the infamous Procuress Mother Needham about to recruit the innocent country girl Moll Hackabout for the benefit of the gent fondling himself in the background.

Moll has just got off the coach from the country and knows no better - a scene brought to mind when a couple of weeks ago I received a request from some procurement people to fill in some forms so as to be listed as a supplier to a client I have been working for some seven years.

Now you and I, dear reader, forced as we are to live in the real world might think the chief things we want to know about someone who does what I do are these.

1. Do I get generally good results? And more particularly do I get good results for this client?

2. Do I charge a decent price for what I do?

3. Do I deliver on time?

4. Do I deliver what was asked for?

5. Can I deliver quickly if necessary?

That sort of thing. They might at a pinch ask what services I supply, I suppose.

They never did, and I shall come to that in a moment. But as far as I know the answers to those five questions are yes, yes, yes, yes and yes - otherwise they wouldn't keep coming back.

I have never been beaten in tests. My prices, though not the cheapest, are far cheaper than those people with silly names, fancy offices, hot and cold running 23-year olds and phalanxes of indescribably verbose planners.

What's more, although my partner teases me that I write the stuff then read the brief afterwards, it always seems to be pretty much what the doctor ordered. Moreover, I have never missed a deadline And I have been known to deliver stuff in less than week from brief to completion.

In a sane world that is what buying services is all about. But not in the Weird World of Procurement. The questionnaires I was sent (there were two) were concerned with my hiring practices, compliance, ethics and so forth. They were written as though I was a supplier of meat pies or toilet paper.

People who do rely on procurement - like government departments, the armed forces and so on - are famous for three things. They take too long to get things. They often get the wrong things. And they overpay to an astounding degree.

Today's procurement looks into all the things that don't matter, ignores the ones that do, and is not only not helpful but devastatingly harmful.

If you fall for the great procurement rip-off, you may not end up like poor Moll Hackabout, who died in a lunatic asylum. You don't have to wait that long. You're crazy to start with.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Weasels in Auntie Val's marmalade? Digging for Defeat - and a Pre-Hangover Offer

A weasel, as all good copywriters know, is a word or expression that gives you a misleading impression of something, usually good, without actually lying.

Common ones are "virtually" and "up to".

Anyhow. yesterday the one I love brought me a jar of Auntie Val's Orange and Blueberry marmalade. Being a sad old person I read the ingredients, which stressed that the contents are entirely natural. They include natural blueberry flavouring. This phrase had me confused. Is that blueberries or isn't it? If it isn't how is it natural? Was a weasel at work?

People selling get-rich quick stuff on the Internet don't bother with weasels - they just lie. All politicians should wear weasel suits every day. So should the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which has just classified pizza as a vegetable. They have done so because the people who supply the gunk that goes into pizza spend millions, maybe billions, on lobbying - or bribery as we used to call it.

When historians come to explain the reasons for the ultimate decline of the West I think eating will come high on the list, just after education.

In the second world war I remember lots of posters headed Dig for Victory, encouraging people to grow their own vegetables. It is impossible to grow pizza, but here in Britain we are busy digging for defeat - with our teeth. And we're doing pretty well. British women are now the fattest in Europe. Can we catch up with the U.S.?

One question is this: are McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King and so on really our secret weapon? Even in China, home of the world's best cuisine, some have taken off. Will these clever young people out-eat us and become as good for nothing as we are? I greatly fear not, because they are as keen on education as we are not.

On the matter of education, here's a deal for you. I have not been pestering you about EADIM lately, mostly because I've already sold either 22 or 23 seats out of 40 (there is some dispute about this among the troops).

I must thank the gallant folks who've already started ponying up without knowing who will speak next year for their faith in me. As ever, everything is subject to change. However I can say that one speaker will be Howie Jacobson, co-author of Adwords for Dummies who seems to be very good at getting people to come up with great ideas to promote their businesses. I am also talking to Professor Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness at Work - and a stunningly inspiring speaker.

You are going to need all the ideas and inspiration you can get in the next 12 months, I promise you, so I have also persuaded an old associate, Ian Mulingani, to come and talk about some very interesting stuff.

These include how to survive (and eventually do even better than before) when almost your entire customer base vanishes in a matter of weeks. And how to turn your customers into your salesforce. It's a lot cheaper than advertising - and he has the numbers to prove it. Ian and his colleagues work with some of the world's biggest brands on some astonishingly complex things - everywhere from here to Mongolia. Really.

Anyhow, everyone is about to stop everything for Christmas, so here's the deal on EADIM. It's not as good as the last one, but you can save £600 off the full cost of £2,000 plus VAT - with 10 monthly payments.

You can see what last year's event was like at www.eadim.com. If you're interested or have any questions, email me, Drayton@draytonbird.com. The deal ends when the year ends. No exceptions.

Anyhow, on the matter of education dedicated readers may have noticed with relief that I have not been promoting my EADIM event for a few weeks. The reasons are simple: I have sold 24 out of 40 places, and thought it would only be polite to give a you a clue about who might be speaking.

Well, these things are, as they say, subject to change, but so far everyone who has been invited to speak in the last four years has been kind enough to turn up. I expect next October that our faculty will include Howie Jacobson, co-author of Adwords for Dummies, and also one ofmy own long-time associates, Ian Mulingani.

I shall say more about Howie later, but if you are interested in how to survive a catastrophic recession and come out grinning like a a hyena you can learn a lot from Ian, whose clients include several of the world's most famous brands. One of his many secrets is a way of turning your customers into your salesforce. It's a lot cheaper than advertising, believe me.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Fashionable drivel with helpful advice from 400 years ago - plus your advice, please

I'll tell about the picture in a minute as it may interest you.

But first, I am often amused by the way, at regular intervals, people tell you everything has changed, customers are getting smarter etc., etc.

Only this morning I read that a business expert, referring to the internet, and the great social media yawn-a-thon thinks “In this new world, we are more and more dependent on word-of-mouth.”

Sorry. It's all balls.

I regularly quote research conducted for Buick about 7 years ago which asked people what governed their choice of a new car. The chief reason given was word of mouth. (TV advertising, on which Buick were pissing away most of their money was given as least important, and boring old direct mail from dealers came second after word of mouth).

I will happily wager that word of mouth always has been and always will be the chief single reason why people buy things - or do things, for that matter. The internet just allows more people to sound off than ever before, and since most of what they say is rubbish, I'm not sure how much it helps.

I would imagine people are, if possible, getting more stupid, too.

Back in the '60's fashionable educational theory proposed that nobody should be allowed to fail. The real result has been that educational standards have been lowered to such a degree that in reality almost everyone does. This is not helped by the fact that governments fiddle things to make them look better than they are.

A big thing worth remembering about people was well put about 400 years by Sir Francis Bacon in one of his essays: "Men behave as they are accustomed". Our own marketing hero John Caples said "Times change. People don't"


Here are three things I would appreciate your advice about.

1. Craig Sunney, one of my EADIM graduates, lives in Umbria, Italy in a village called Rotecastello, which means red castle. It's the one in the picture and I suspect he inhabits it. Maybe I should be his student.

Last week we had drinks in Leicester Square and he told me a lovely story.

Rotecastello has an annual Festa (like a Spanish Fiesta) which includes a classical concert. The concert has always lost money, dragging everything down financially.

He told me how he had used different thinking and all manner of media from roadside banners to direct mail to badges to on-line advertising to promote the event. I have seen the material (very elegant) and he made it profitable.

I was fascinated and amused particularly by the fact that none of the organising committee will speak to him now. Ah, politics!

Would you like to know how he did it? I have never seen anything local promoted so well.

2. I have clients in South East Asia who help people sell property - not just in that area but in the U.K. and Europe. Last year I spent some time working with them on a ten part series for their clients about how to do good marketing.

Would you be interested if I turned it into a little e-book?

3. Four years ago I set about what I now think was an unduly elaborate thing called Commonsense Marketing which has been running ever since.

It consisted (and still does) of a course that teaches marketing from A to Z, plus interviews with people I admire, and general advice. It went on forever and ever and had three levels, but I plan to relaunch an improved and simplified version in January. Would you like to try it free for a month? Existing subscribers will get a special deal.

As usual, send me emails saying Festa, or Basics or Commonsense (whichever interests you). Thanks for your help.

P. S. I must warn you that I do get carried away. If enough people are interested in the Italian Festa story, I might go mad and try and arrange a jaunt there. Many people consider Umbria the most beautiful part of Italy - and my rule in life is "why not?"

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How NOT to write copy. This writer swallowed the wrong dictionary - then vomited all over the page.

In my talks about copy I always suggest three pretty steadfast rules:

1, What you offer matters far more than what you say.

2. What you say matters far more than how you say it.

2. The headline matters far more than any other part of the copy.

What perhaps I fail to stress enough is that it helps if you can write English - and if you write badly enough you can unsell something

I was quite taken by the offer from Groupon this morning headed Overnight Break For Two in the Forest of Dean With Breakfast and Cream Tea for £63 at The Speech House Hotel (Up to 60% Off).

We don't live that far away from the hotel and the picture looked OK. What's more I'm as cheap as chips and a pig for cream tea.

But then, oh dear! the copy went into semi-literate orbit, in some weird copywriter's baroque - as follows:

While they make a lovely country getaway, some thickly wooded areas can be unexplainably prejudiced against numbers, earning them a reputation for being fourist. Stay indiscriminate with today’s Groupon: £63 for an overnight break in the Forest of Dean for two, including breakfast and a cream tea each at the Speech House Hotel.

I think "fourist" gets the Golden Turd Award, don't you? But there was more: a picture of the hotel, followed by:

Cuddled by a 27,000 acre forested duvet, The Speech House Hotel is a 17th century hunting lodge that oozes rustic charm fused with all the desirable facilities required to appease contemporary travellers. The auberge is well placed to offer an array of outdoorsy activities designed to leave guests well prepped for comfy beds and a view of Gloucestershire’s foliage. With food options including two restaurants and the casual orangery, the massive house treats wilderness wanderers to 21st century mini-breaking.

Will somebody please shoot that writer before he or she does any more damage?

Or, to quote W. S. Churchill: "Use simple words everyone knows, then everyone will understand."

Do you want to be cuddled by a forest? Do you yearn to be indiscriminate? Come to think of it, I wonder if whoever wrote that is a native English speaker. Hard to believe, isn't it? It reads as though written by someone from Transylvania.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

What kind of customers do you have? New audio series, Virgin's banking plans, Spain and Northwestern - and an old video

If you want to persuade people, you'd better understand them.

So here's a tip: read the correspondence.

Many years ago I wrote copy for a pain reliever called Cephos. The fact that people used put it in warm water to sooth their aching feet told you a lot about what they were like. We used strip cartoons in the advertising.

When I was working on American Express I was impressed by the fact that the top people - in the U.K., anyhow - used to listen in on customer calls.


Currently there is heated discussion on the Citywire site about a speech made by Nigel Farage, the UKIP man, about the European situation.

A man with the pseudonym "Dislexic Landlord" proves he's not kidding when he writes "the sooner we leave this curcus the better". But he is not alone. At least half the people writing in are ignorant and semi-literate. The other half are pretty well-informed and write well.

Schizophenia rules, I guess


I promised a week or so ago to start a series of audio seminars on creative and marketing.

It's amazing how long it took me to get round to doing it, as so many people like to listen to stuff in the car. Anyhow, having decided to give it a go I thought I might do it properly for a change and ordered a decent microphone.

This arrived on Thursday - but I was immediately thrown into a panic because my partner Al was rushed into hospital with a punctured appendix. He's O.K. now, thank God.

However, abnormal service will start this week.

I was not sure if I should have two separate series or just one. The reason is that I don't really think you can be much good at the communications if you don't understand the business. On balance I think one makes sense.

I will try and base it on my two books - Commonsense and How to Write. I suspect more people buy than read them.


I read somewhere that Richard Branson promises to shake up the banking industry the way he shook up the railways.

This is more of a threat than a promise.

For years Virgin Trains were a complete bugger's muddle. I remember having to spend a night in some dire hotel in the middle of nowhere because my Virgin train from Manchester to London broke down - and their fare structure is as impenetrable and outrageous as everyone else's.

What's more, as a friend pointed out the other day, the Virgin financial services, after a fine start, are now not much better than anyone else's - nor are their marketing messages. I believe that internally they have the same initiative-crushing deadheads running things as their competitors.

On the matter of the great Spanish copy day, we are looking at the end of March in either Alicante or Malaga. And someone in the U.S. suggested a second day for the determined.

Re: Northwestern University, that looks like taking place in January. I'll keep you posted about these two events.


Last, for a bit of light relief I just found this interview I did 30-odd years ago with Leo Toralballa, then a top banana at American Express in New York - and a very funny man.

I asked him for the secrets of success, and his reply was utterly unplanned and unexpected.

If you can't see the video above, try clicking here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Another up his own arse show-biz loon gets carried away - this time in Sydney. And some thoughts about the BBC's betrayal of trust

Over here we have a man called Moyle (or Moyles - can't remember which) who gets paid far too much for blathering away in the morning on BBC radio.

His chief characteristics appear to be homophobia, anti-semitism, an ability to sink lower than even the lowest dregs among his audience and being employed by the BBC, whose desire to appeal to the moronic millions knows no bounds. Since none of the BBC bosses does what they are supposed to he has never been fired.

I often wonder if the people who run things at Broadcasting House ever stop to consider the difference between quantity and quality, and that getting an audience of millions of half-wits is not what good broadcasting is about and doesn't reflect their charter in the least.

You can plough through that charter if you like, though I don't recommend it as it is 48 pages of turgid stuff with many misprints clearly designed to discourage scrutiny, but the only bit that matters says the BBC should be:

(a) sustaining citizenship and civil society;

(b) promoting education and learning;

(c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;

(d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities.

I didn't make that up. That really is what they are required to do by Royal Proclamation, and they only do maybe half those things. More to the point it says a lot about the people who run this country that none of them, not one, seems to have asked anyone, anyone at all, at the BBC why they don't do their jobs. If I had a copywriter who didn't write or only wrote half time I would fire him or her. Why should they be different?

In fact every one of the top BBC apparatchiks deserves to be picked up and thrown violently on to the pavement at Great Portland Street without a pension for:

a) not even attempting to do the job they are required to do, with such clear instructions;

b) wasting too much of our money on people who have nothing to with broadcasting and paying them more than the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world an oaf called Kyle Sandiland on 2DayFM in Sydney has sounded off on air at some poor woman who didn't like his show with this barrage of fourth form wit:

“Some fat slag has already branded us a disaster … What a fat bitter thing you are, you deputy editor of an online thing. You’ve got a nothing job anyway. You’re a piece of shit … You are supposed to be impartial, you little troll … Yeah, and your blouse, you haven’t got that much titty to be wearing that low cut a blouse. Watch your mouth, girl, or I will hunt you down.”

Rare command of language amidst the megalomania - but it's got him in trouble with his sponsors who are all deserting him. The reason that made me laugh most was from Holden, who were Australia's biggest car manufacturer until Toyota came along and cheated by making cars that cost less and were more reliable.

They said they think the show is "no longer in line with Holden's core values." Ah! Dear old core values, second cousin to key issues and beloved of Chief Marketing Officers everywhere.

Incidentally, the show the lady criticised, which was on TV, started out with 1.4 million viewers - because it followed an episode of the X Factor - of whom 1.2 million had switched off by the time it ended. God, it must have been bad.

More to the point, he just may have betrayed 2DayFM's core values, which are to make as much money as possible in any way not actually criminal and never upset the advertisers.

I should say, by the way, that I find Australian talk radio utterly fascinating and have done ever since I first visited in 1971. It's amazingly outspoken and often extremely funny. Compared to the pallid stuff we get here for the most part it is far, far better.

That applies to Australian language generally, which reflects the national character and is tons more vigorous than what we trot out over here. But that's another subject.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

If they can't write English, how good d'you suppose they are on investment advice? Plus a bizarre sense of priorities that mystifies me

Eileen McCarthy of UK Auctioneers in Chester got a message from the Financial Times who wanted her to advertise.

It read, "As a number of global dynamics play out, investors are still airing on the side of caution and sticking to less volatile, safe haven stocks.

With only four IMA sectors making a gain in September, achieving returns is becoming ever harder. But never fear, as there are areas where investors are almost guaranteed to make a return.

Antiques is one of them."

I fear the journo who bashed that out is erring on the side of illiteracy - and for all I know, truth as well. That little word "almost" is usually a bit of a give-away, isn't it?

What is interesting is how some people involved in finance can get away with murder while others get clobbered left right and centre. Anyone encouraging people to save - generally a good thing - has their copy so slaughtered by the FSA that it's almost impossible to put forward a coherent argument.

On the other hand, those who encourage them to spend have for years got away with murder. Now, I see, the government is bent on stopping the credit card industry incentivising people to borrow. They are worried about people getting into trouble as a results of having to pay interest rates of 15 - 20%.

But what astounds me - and I keep banging on about this - is that they let Wonga, who charge as much as 4214%, to advertise everywhere from the internet to footballers' shirts. They have a specious argument that because you're only borrowing for a short time the interest rate is irrelevant. On the same lines I could argue that a quick, violent rape is not as bad as a slow, more gentle one.

When I say "criminal" I am not suggesting they are criminals. I suspect even the Mafia would be more reasonable. And when I say "astounds me" it astounds me that any set of people pretending to govern could be worried about 20% when that kind of stuff's going on. We know they're clueless about money, but come on. Can't they count?

Just a point of view, that's all.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A little self-promotion - and what the Bliar and McToad started, Cameron and Osborne look set to finish

I'll get to the bit all about Me, glorious Me in a minute, but the chief reason why I have to bray so loudly is because of what successive governments have done to me and lot of old codgers like me.

First, one of the most diligent architects of our present woes, G. Brown, in need of money to hire more public servants almost halved the value of the pension fund I'd been building for twenty odd years. Obviously necessary if I'm to subsidise the pensions of the people he hired.

More recently the Bank of England's been printing money to make sure that whatever I do get will be worth less when I get round to spending it.

And now there are rumours that the hopeless crew who currently mismanage our affairs are considering slashing the tax relief people get when they save for a pension and the tax free benefits when they cash in. The result will be to push the current abysmal savings rate even lower. If that isn't a dumb, retrograde idea I don't know what is.

Brilliant stuff, in fact. Only necessary because you have not, as promised, done anything to cut spending on jobs for the boys who sit on committees or indeed anything else. It would have taken a fair old leap of imagination to believe that anyone could be less competent than the last bunch of dead beats, but you've pulled it off. You're outspending them, so you need to out-steal them.

All this is the chief reason why I really must draw your attention, dear reader, to http://draytonbird.net/copydvd/. It's an opportunity to improve yourself in one of the few areas that can make you a lot more money without costing you a lot more money, which is copywriting.

There are some ghastly pictures of me in it, looking slightly pregnant (impossible, I know: you're either pregnant or you're not). But there is also a good video at the end which I put there because it's worth watching whether you want to buy anything from me or not.

Thanks for reading these maunderings. And thanks to all of you who send me comments. It makes it all worthwhile.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Is a slum really the answer? And how to become a famous author, speaker etc., in two shakes of a lamb's tail

I took the picture outside Bristol Cathedral, which I walk past pretty much every every day.

They show the camp set up by the people who are protesting against the excesses of capitalism – something I too feel pretty strongly about. They have stated that they want to create a slum there, and are doing a pretty good job.

When young, I used to protest against things like the atom bomb – I was lucky not to get arrested.

We used to march and hand in petitions to parliament. We couldn’t go and camp out because most of us worked for a living, but sadly the jobs many of these people would have if they could be bothered were stolen by Poles and other foreigners who are willing to work hard.

I am not sure a slum is the answer, but it can be very uncomfortable. At 10. 50 last night on my way back from work I saw one industrious slum-builder riding a bike up Whiteladies Road, no doubt going home. He was wearing a jaunty top-hat with a feather in it, looking like a character from Barnaby Rudge.

The tactics of these people remind me of a story about the great Labour Leader Ernest Bevin. In the 1940’s, as now, many Labour politicians loathed each other, and on being told that Ernest Morrison was his own worst enemy, Bevin replied “Not while I'm alive 'e ain't.

Among the people currently giving me wry amusement is J. P. Maroney, the famous writer and public speaker you never heard of.

Since his name rhymes with baloney I have never been quite sure if he is an elaborate practical joke, but for a long time he was trying to turn me, no doubt in exchange for money, into a wildly successful public speaker.

As I’ve been practicing at that for 34 years now – though with not nearly the success he guarantees - I haven’t paid much attention. Now, however, he is pushing some scheme whereby, faster and more easily than I have ever dreamed possible, I can become a famous author.

Well, I’ve been trying and failing at that, too, since 1964, when my first published book, a novel called “Some Rats Run Faster", came out. Quite regularly people embarrass me by saying they have found copies on the internet

This magisterial work would, said one reviewer, make me “Britain’s next best-selling author”. He was wrong, largely because though well-written it had no plot to speak of. If people don't want to know what's going to happen next, they lose interest.

Anyhow, yesterday the wag Maroney put up some answers to the questions many of us would-be authors ask ourselves. A brief quotation is called for.

Q2: Are you going to teach me how to write a book?

I have a unique approach to author. You’ll want to learn it and use it. Put it this way, with my method, you can literally "author" a book in a couple of days if you wish.

Q3: Can you help me choose WHICH book to write?

Yes. I'll show you how to find out what your market wants so you can write the RIGHT book (and make the maximum mool-lah from it).

Well stone the crows! Have I been barking up the wrong tree, or what? The “moo-lah” has been pathetically inadequate. I’ve been taking weeks and weeks to write a book. Amateurs like Mark Twain used to take years. With Maroney's method you could bang out the Bible by Christmas. That's a real money-spinner.

What I needed all the time but never knew it was a secret weapon called semi-literacy. Also, I must stop trying to write, start authoring and splash a few redundant quotation marks around.

I don’t quite know why, but I get the feeling that Mr. Maroney can do to literature what Hitler and Stalin did to Poland.


Incidentally, on capitalism, Winston Churchill's definition of democracy comes to mind. "The worst possible system, except for all the others."

Thursday, 17 November 2011

This morning’s haul: an illiterate “holistic” miracle worker, another bloody legend and another sure-fire formula. Will it ever end? And does it work?

Someone clever once observed that if the tray tables on your aircraft aren’t clean you start to wonder how well they look after the engines.

In much the same way, I wonder about people promising miracles who can’t write decent English. This applies to a lot of the stuff I get which is written in what I call folksy-bollocks-language. But nothing beats the email I got this morning headed Women gives Money Luck....., You will Like This...!

I don’t actually want to get pregnant right now, but I am put off by an incoherent heading followed by PLEASE, NOT ANOTHER pregnancy GIMMICK!

This is especially true if it's immediately followed by, well, another pregnancy gimmick:

Now, I know many of you are saying, "Oh no, not another 'get pregnant in 7 days' program". To be totally honest, I thought the same thing. Rest assured, this is not the case. It is not a quick fix, or gimmick. Its 250+ pages of solid, clinically proven holistic information for getting pregnant. She starts from square one and teaches you everything you need to know. Doesn't matter what type of infertility you have and regardless of your age or lifestyle, you WILL learn something from this book.

The testimonial is priceless and reads: Dear Friends,

I found this information which of no use to me as a man, but I know by spreading this information
I can help other people's life. I believe in doing good deeds will bring back good karma to me,
abundance of wealth and happiness. We never knew with whose prayer we get success and abundance of wealth. Just keep doing good things in life, you will definately get abundance of wealth.
just Clik here, you will know what to do...,

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How did the word holistic, beloved of phoneys everywhere, creep into this salvo of ignorance? But this may work for two reasons. 1. For every illiterate, demented and crooked promoter there is a horde of illiterate and desperate prospects, growing fast because of our broken-down educational system. 2. The words “money” and “luck” always attract readers.

This may also be true of the word “legend”. When I was 12 I read a book called Myths and Legends of Ancient Babylon and Assyria, written by the archaeologist J. M Breasted. Bloody boring, actually, but I was (and am) a history nut. Today there are more myths and legends than ever were in ancient Mesopotamia, especially in sales and marketing – and I see another has emerged in the shape of “Sales Training Legend Stan Billue”.

I have to declare an interest here, mind. People regularly call me legendary, to the point that occasionally I wake up and breathe on a mirror to see if I really exist. One person who does exist and is as legendary as they come is Jeff Walker who is busy promoting a re-packaged version of his Product Launch formula, with added bells and whistles on social marketing (surprise!) and the help of his many “good friends”.

A good friend, if you don’t know, isn't really a good friend. Did you know that? It is someone who hopes to make money by flogging your latest money-making scheme as an affiliate. A formula, if you don’t know, is something vastly overpriced that you fondly hope will spare you the pain of hard work and hard thinking. It won’t.

I'm not saying all these formulae are complete moonshine. They do work, for a precious few and up to a point. This one is really an elaboration of the system used by Hollywood for the last 80 years. You will learn far more from the way it is promoted than anything else.

What none of these people – not even the most celebrated – has ever done is work on proper businesses - big brands in the big wide world. Some are just dishonest. The best-known in this country was caught lying by the Advertising Standards Authority.

I wonder why nobody notices this. There really are a lot of mugs out there. That doesn't mean you have to join them.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How the Greeks will solve their debt problem. An old, but good parable

It is a slow day in the little Greek Village.

The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

A rich German tourist, name of Merkel, is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner she wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives her some keys and, as soon as she has walked upstairs, grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with renewed optimism. And that, gentle readers, is how the bailout package works.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

TBQ at the BBC, a cheeky little agency scam and other assorted hoots

Did I ever tell you about the time I was asked to join a BBC committee all about the future?

It was all about predicting what was going to happen in the 21st century. Total wankfest, as you'd imagine. One meeting was enough. What a shame they're increasing the TBQ (Total Bollocks Content) and cutting back on the things that make them good - like the World Service.

A perfect example of what's gone wrong in Broadcasting House is on their weather website, brought to my attention with a groan of despair by Crispin White. "We're building a new weather experience for you". WTF???? Are they going to arrange a heatwave on New Year's Day? No: just a new way to show the bloody weather forecast. Are they hiring failed ad copywriters to churn out this tawdry stuff?

The rot set in, of course, when Thatcher got rid of the last real programme maker to be Director-General and replaced him with a bloody accountant, followed by a man called Birt who spoke nothing but corporate jargon. Tony the Bliar, saviour of the Middle East - favourite Charity, Tony Blair's bank account - loved him. They probably used to sit there talking to each other about stakeholders and Tony's Third Way (which is up your arse, if you really want to know),

Anyhow, bit by bit the BBC made fewer and fewer of their own programmes, and bought more in from outside. Then they hired more and more people to buy the programmes. Net result, millions of our money pissed away and a man at the top called Mark Thompson getting paid nigh on a million quid to do a shit job.

Someone should remember the BBC motto: Nation shall speak peace unto nation. Cameron, or Bliar-Lite as we all realise, should stop giving aid money to kleptocrats in poor countries and give half to the World Service and the rest back to us.

It'd be a good idea, too, to fire all the corporate drones starting with the top man. Then they could use that money saved to hire people who will make BBC programmes rather than paying outsiders to do the job. Just like they used to.


On the matter of failed copywriters an agency called The Lean Agency (geddit?) has had a brilliant wheeze. Instead of just hiring freelance writers and so on they're offering "franchises" - the poor dupes are expected to pay a fee for the privilege of working for them. Anyone who falls for that one deserves what they get.

The agency's website tells you all you need to know about why they need good copy. Thanks to Iain Maclean for sending me this egregious example.


Thanks to the folks who sent me messages reading "Berlusconi". You have been added to the great list of masochists who get my helpful ideas, and my colleague Bill Fryer will contact you about the sundry ways we can help you do better.

Lastly news for those of you interested in copy.

1. I promised a free webinar on copy today. I did two versions yesterday and didn't like either. So I have redone this morning, and if the radiant Chloe has time to edit it will be up later. I do sound a bit hoarse, but it may interest you.

It is just under 30 minutes long, and covers something I will not be talking about in Spain.

2. On the matter of Spain, I am talking about arrangements with my client there, who is wisely busy this week doing his real job rather than doing favours to me. I will keep you posted.

3. The video of my Bristol Copy Seminar is now available and I will be writing about it later this week. The content will not be the same in Spain. I am working on something new to celebrate the spring.