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Monday, 30 January 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 27 January 2012

Want to be a good writer? Amidst the oceans of drivel, some good sense.

I have been amused lately by the torrent of messages from crooks promising to make anyone a best-selling author in two shakes of a dog's tale.

I have not found it that easy. 

One of my books, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, has been selling steadily around the world since 1982, but it wasn't easy to write.

I spent a month trying to get going and failed completely. Then I had another go a year later and it took 6 weeks frantic typing followed by a couple of months of editing.

Revising it repeatedly has been a nightmare because it is fairly easy to write something long, then cut it, but very hard to write something short and expand it.

But I had no choice. In 1980 the computer was only used by clever people at places like The Readers Digest; the word database was rarely heard. And as for the Internet - what was that? Text marketing? There were no mobile phones.

So that explains why what was a slim volume has - like direct marketing - swollen until its fifth edition is excellent for propping up tables and keeping doors open

One of the few people who writes intelligently about writing is Ryan Healy.

I just read this in his blog: "Creativity thrives under limits, be they natural or imposed." It reminded me of the reasons why in 1985 I sold my agency to Ogilvy & Mather when we had been talking to no less than eight other big ad agencies.

David Ogilvy rang me up, which was vastly flattering. They had great clients and I thought we'd get business that way. They were nice people, which is as important as money. But a huge factor was their work, at that time the best in the world.

The guiding spirit was their worldwide creative director, Norman Berry, who had once offered me a job when he was creative director of Young & Rubicam. He said something I have never forgotten: “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”. Pretty much what Ryan says.

If I had written a brief for myself before I set about the great tome, I would have found it much easier. The title is often a brief. My second foray into business writing - How to write a salesletter that sells - was much easier for that reason. That, too, is still around after 25 years.

Bad work comes from bad briefs which is why in my seminars I talk a lot about the brief. It is hard to be entertaining on the subject, but I usually manage to raise a chortle or two.

The two books are available on Amazon at a sensible price, or autographed illegibly by me, for slightly more because I can't compete with Amazon. And if you want my jokes about briefing and other matters, you'll have to join me in Andalusia.

Monday, 23 January 2012

I'm sorry - I just love this even though I've seen it before. Sent to me by Jeff Blenford


I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly  accurate.
The picture has 2 identical dolphins in it.
It was used in   a case study on stress levels at St. Mary's Hospital, London .
Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water.  
The dolphins are identical.  
A closely monitored scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact  that the dolphins are identical .
A  person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins.
The more differences a person finds between the  Dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing.
Look at the photograph and if you find more than one  or two differences you need to go on holiday....
 No need to reply, I'll be on holiday.
Never take life seriously
Nobody gets out alive anyway

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A far better Bird than me - but sad mistakes spoil his efforts

When you get to my age, unless you're one of the Army of the Smug (you know, those who stride along the street looking pleased with themselves) you start to wonder whether you've done much good with your life.

Well, at least one member of the Bird tribe has done a lot more good than me. He is John Bird, who founded The Big Issue, a magazine sold by street people as a better alternative to begging. A wonderful idea that has spread around the world. I envy him.

I buy the magazine, but not as often as I should. This is partly - believe it or not - because of the layout. For the first few years most of the mag was set in sans serif type with a lot of it reversed out. A deadly combination - proven to be almost impossible to read and comprehend.* More recently the type has usually been serif (far easier to read) but still with a lot of reversing out.

Design is a tricky thing, and most young designers are utterly unaware of what makes for easy reading. Nor are they aware of the observation of the great typographer Stanley Morison, who designed the Times face: "Any disposition of type that comes between the reader and meaning is wrong."

But they have just had a redesign. Whether this makes things better I don't know as I haven't bought it yet. However, since Dennis publishing are responsible I imagine it should be an improvement.

There is an excellent article, full of good sense, by Lucy Headley about the need to change - http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/blogs/lucy-handley/why-the-big-issue-brand-needs-a-rethink/3030458.article. Below the article is some good sense from a former vendor, too. I think John Bird's brilliant idea has never been marketed as well as it could be, and you can see why from the article and the comment.

That being said I just had a small fit when I saw an ad in The Week (a Dennis mag I read diligently) announcing the redesign.

The headline was "NO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WERE HARMED DURING THE MAKING OF THIS MAGAZINE." Oh dear, oh dear. That really is sad. Go to the back of the class.

There was a short cliché-strewn block of copy, starting with "All new magazine. Same old values." The whole ad reads like it was written by the caretaker at Dennis Publishing in about twenty minutes after a couple of pints.

There was the predictable wanky slogan: Journalism worth paying for. Why do so many fools think slogans are so important?

But there is also one rather clumsy sentence: "Your Big Issue seller has paid half the cover price of each magazine". Without clear explanation the significance of that is not that easily grasped. I'll lay money that even most of those who buy the mag are only vaguely aware of how it operates. More to the point, what about prospects?

That sentence, easily missed because nobody is going to read the copy after such a poor opening, sums up the very essence of John Bird's idea. The sellers do pay for the mag and sell it. The idea of those in distress helping themselves has enormous appeal. Who can decry it? Moreover The Week has God knows how many readers, and I wager they are disproportionately likely to be charitable.

That ad is a disgrace. Amateurs should never be let loose on something that affects so many lives.
What an opportunity missed to do some decent advertising that tugged at the heartstrings and opened the wallets of all those people!

And now I come full circle. It may not be like heart surgery, but time spent telling people how to create stuff that gets people to do something is well worthwhile.

*If you want to know what makes for design that works, I shall be talking about it in Spain during my copy weekend. Or you can read pages 311-18 of that excellent doorstop, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, written by a less worthy member of the Birds than John.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Why are you struggling? Really? With the results of an interesting poll

As you may have noticed, I take perverse pleasure in reading the emails sent by the sundry charlatans who inhabit cyberspace.

A great many start with questions like the first at the top, and answer them with an easy solution and an appealing offer.

These solutions often have these things in common:

a) You won't have to work hard to become whatever it is - an instant guru, an acclaimed author, a sought-after public speaker, a brilliant copywriter, or whatever your brain tells you is clearly impossible, but you would like to believe is not.

b) The money will be incredibly good and you won't have to wait too long for it to arrive.

c) It is all achievable because this guy did it. Here is the touching tale of how he climbed from trailer park to mansion in months - and how you can too. Sometimes there is more than one guy, and maybe the guy is a lady.

d) You don't believe me? Come and watch this free webinar/interview/whatever.

e) Wow! My webinar/interview/whatever was "awesome". I was blown away. Far more people attended than I expected. Many enjoyed orgasms of pleasure. But I'm worried that you missed it, so here's another chance. But it won't be around for long, because I'm taking it down, so act now

If you don't recognise all these signs of a scam, there's another pretty good one.

It is when you get variations of the same message from lots of people, most of whom make money not by running a business but by selling off vacant lots in Promiseland to gullible mooncalves.

But you know all this, I hope, and my reason for writing was because of a poll on Linked-in about another reason you may be struggling. It asked business people if red tape was stifling their business. 83% said it was.

I have no idea what could be going through the heads of the remainder, but to give you a clue about the impact of regulation Italy, once the fastest growing economy in Europe, slumped into decline the minute it started applying European laws, especially on employment.

The same has happened and will happen as long as wildly different European countries are gripped by the manifold straitjackets imposed by bureaucrats in Brussels who have neither knowledge of nor interest in how or whether people make a living, and who answer to a parliament full of thieving rogues.

The U.K. is infested with hordes of busybodies prying into everyone's business. It also has the most complex tax rules in the world - so complex that an entire department is devoted to tax simplification. Really.

This is even though the tax authorities have arranged things so that businesses - and quite a few individuals - are legally forced to do nearly all the work.

Despite other people doing their jobs for them, so incompetent are the tax people that they are years behind.

One respondent to the Linked-in poll said, "The state should be holding your hand not beating you with a stick."

I disagree violently. If there is one thing besides red tape that kills initiative, it is expecting the state to hold your hand.

If the state were holding your hand when crossing the road, you would be run over. I do not want or expect the state to hold my hand. I just want it to get out of the way.

Reagan's joke about the most dangerous words in the world applies: "I'm from the government, I'm here to help you."

But I guess it's marginally better than "I'm a guru, I'm here to rip you off."

Friday, 20 January 2012

Something for the perceptive marketer to reflect upon

If you receive my regular emails, you will soon receive news of my planned Copy weekend in Spain, but first let's see how your brain is working with this little test.

Forget for a moment all the guff you get sent about social media, brand-building and SEO, and concentrate on something worthwhile and meaningful at the end of your long week.

The picture you see was sent me by one of the towering intellectual powerhouses of marketing, my old friend and colleague Daz Valladares.

I have always seen Daz as a kind of mentor, and he certainly knows more about buying media than anyone I know.

 But like all good marketers he is a keen and profound student of human nature. He instantly spots insights that go far beyond the ordinary, and this mould-breaking study of pictorial impact shows such a series of inisghts.

To understand marketing, you must understand people. Analysis of the picture can tell us a lot about how different people think.

For young men, it's a picture of a lady with a nice derriere but only the most observant will notice that she is crossing a street.

The really observant will notice that she is wearing a thong.

For older men, she appears to be a respectable woman - with noble buttocks - on her way to work.

The more jaded among them will imagine her naked.

Wiser men will ponder the presence of mind of the photographer to take the shot in the face of such beauty and be grateful that they shared it.

For half of the women, this is an ordinary woman who should not have left home dressed that way.

The other half will think she is a slut but wonder where she bought that blouse.

 Older women will imagine the misery that the woman’s curves will cause by the time she reaches 50.

But only children, the extremely intelligent and the celibate will notice that the taxi is being driven by a dog.

If you are thinking of joining me in Spain in late March, I fear there will be nothing quite as insightful as that in store. But it should be good fun.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The wisdom of trees, why I’m not rich – and two bits of investment advice

A couple of years ago – I think when I was speaking in Washington - I got to know Dan Roberts, who does cartoons featuring trees.

 Don’t ask me how he came up with that idea – who knows what lurks in the minds of men?

 Anyhow, here’s one of his creations with a useful thought.

 Dan has also created a Guide to Investing, aimed at nincompoops like me who understand nothing about it.

If you’d like to know more, write to me - Drayton@draytonbird.com - saying investing. (I’m not his partner, by the way).

There are two good reasons why I’m not rich. The first is because my grandfather on my mother’s side lost all his money by making the wrong bets just before the crash of 1920. So instead of having a silver spoon in my mouth I had a rusk.

The second is that my last wife had an uncanny ability to spend. She even bought a house without telling me, followed by a swimming pool complex that cost more than the house. She also had an uncanny ability to part me from property when we divorced.

Both these seeming misfortunes have been good for me actually. Although I am naturally lazy I’ve had to work hard all my life; and bizarrely enough in recent years I’ve found myself writing a lot about money. To do so I have had to study finance and investment a little.

This brings me to two interesting thoughts that came up in the latest edition of The Motley Fool, which I follow because their copy is very good. One suggested that U. S. banks have taken such a battering lately that they might actually be a good investment.

 It is a well-established rule that the stocks (and very often the experts) that have just done well tend to do badly in the succeeding year – and vice versa. So have a look and see what you think: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/01/15/why-bank-of-america-could-be-the-dows-biggest-winn.aspx.

The other - in the same edition, suggests that as the Euro is about to fall to bits, this is a good time to cash in by shorting it.

As far as I can make out, my grandpa committed to buy cotton at a high price when he should have committed to sell it at a low one – or something like that.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

In praise of hard work - and bursting a few falsely inflated balloons. Quoted from Bob Bly, whose words I have now been reading since the '70s.

Business gurus are fond of saying, "Work smarter - not harder."

But I don't know ... I think there is something to be said for hard work.

Assuming you and I work equally smart, I'd think whichever one of us worked the hardest would come out ahead. Hard work is good for what ails you.

When your business or job isn't going the way you want it to, buckle down and redouble your efforts. You'll be more productive, and at least some of your extra efforts will be rewarded - and hard work will have saved the day.

Goethe wrote, "Whoever strenuously endeavors, him we can rescue". Combine hard work with persistence - never giving up - and the odds of you getting the result you want increase geometrically.

Ironically, a lot of people who work hard like to pretend that they don't. A famous Internet marketer, in promoting his programs, boasts about how you can make a six figure income in Internet marketing with hardly any work. But I happen to know that this guy works at least 12 hours a day, 6 days a week - and often late into the night.

A famous copywriter is pictured lounging in his pool in a magazine profile of him. Yet he seems to be continually at his PC banging out successful ad after successful ad for his clients.

Most things that are worth having or achieving require hard work. If they were easy, everyone would have them.

 Hard work alone does not guarantee success. You also have to work smart, of course. But if you are not willing to put your nose to the grindstone, your chances of failure are large indeed.

Business or career floundering? Not where you want it to be? Work twice as hard. You may get twice the results.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Was I right about Tesco's folly on Saturday? Or was it just more Bird Blether?

You probably take a rest from the tyranny of the internet on Saturdays, but as a helpless motor-mouth I often find something to talk to thin air about.

Such was the case two days ago. There was a big brouhaha in the investment world when for the first time in 44 years Tesco issued a profit warning and their shares dropped 16%.

After my last divorce I have no money to invest, but I do follow what goes on. That’s because I have clients in this area, because I’m interested in almost everything under the sun and for a personal reason I mentioned at the start of my Saturday piece.

Anyhow in that piece I suggested Tesco’s sales drop was due to three crass errors, all to do with marketing.  You can see what they are if you look at what I wrote.

Eight days before the profit warning Tesco’s Chief Operating Officer (with others) sold a load of shares and made a tidy profit. Tesco say this was not illegal as he didn’t know what was about to be announced. All I can say is pull the other one: it’s got bells on it.

If someone at the top of a large sophisticated organisation doesn’t have the figures and projections at his fingertips, either he is incompetent or they are - or both. It is fifty years since I first worked on a retail account – the long gone Hope Brothers - and even as a humble copy group head I knew the weekly figures on my ads. 

If what that man did was not illegal, then it should be.  This is precisely the sort of thing that makes people build tent slums outside cathedrals. It is high time the people who run things in this country stopped treating us all like idiots. And more than high time the Financial Services Authority focused on the big things rather than poodling about with small details in direct mail copy so as to make it incomprehensible.

One of the best books about investment – and human nature – is Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) by Scottish journalist Charles MacKay. If you read that and Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (1923) the fictionalised biography of investment wizard Jesse Livermore you will know more about the subject than most investors.

You will also conclude that much investment is driven by hysteria, that the 16% drop is crazy and that Tesco is a good stock to buy. Tesco chairman Sir Richard Broadbent has just spent £100,000 doing so.

But be careful. A recent Which? survey gave Tesco a customer satisfaction rating of 46% compared to Waitrose with 83%, Aldi with 72% and Lidl with 68% followed by M&S, Morrisons, Asda and the Co-op, which was 46%. 

When I was drafting the first edition of Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing back in 1982 I was very impressed by a an article by Gordon Grossman, former head of marketing at our client The Reader’s Digest. It was headed “If your customer won’t make you rich, who will?”

Your customer can also make you poor.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Big Price Drop = Big Share Drop: Tesco’s three mistakes – all to do with marketing, and pretty ghastly, too

I have always been interested in Tesco.

Back in 1962 in my first big job at Leo Burnett, London one of my accounts was The Supermarket Association, and we were given a tour of a Tesco branch by the founder, Jack Cohen.

He was, like Alan Sugar, originally a market trader, which is a damn good training for business – or marketing as we now call it. You must buy well, sell well and watch your margins. What’s more you know almost immediately whether something will sell.

My dear, much-missed late brother George started on the markets. He made his first money at 16 buying a load of fireworks cheap after Guy Fawkes day, keeping them for a year then selling them on Ashton market before the next Guy Fawkes day. He bought for a penny and sold for sixpence. 

The other day Tesco’s shares took a beating when for the first time since 1968 they issued a profits warning. Their new chief executive admits with admirable honesty that this was because they changed their promotional approach and got clobbered.

I may be maligning them but I suspect this needn’t have happened. For me the first law of marketing is to test. A friend who worked for Revlon founder Charles Revson told me Revson used to test everything including price in an area before he launched a product nationally.

It is hard to believe they tested their Big Price Drop promotion properly before they gave up the other promotions that were working well. Promotions pretty much identical to those which helped their competitors snatch business from them – and which have worked for years. 

Incidentally, I wager Big Price Drop is not as good as The Big Save. I know that because I am a copywriter, and I know that what something does for the customer (save) beats what it is (price drop) every time. That took a split second to occur to me, but if I had a big shiny office fitted out with hot and cold running planners and account handlers I could charge you, assuming I wrote nice long report, a few grand for it.

(As an aside, in 1961 the Metal Box Company, then a member of The Supermarket Association, had a miniature supermarket on Baker Street where members could test alternative packaging on real customers. Does anyone do that now?)

The second of Tesco’s ghastly marketing mistakes explains why instead of going to their shop which is nearer, cheaper and with equally good quality I traipse off to Sainsbury’s. It is called forgetting the customer is always right.

I have written about this before, but it is important.

Two years ago I bought some bad fish from Tesco in Soho. When I went to the branch near my King’s Road flat to complain, they said that since I hadn’t bought there, they weren’t interested.

Actually they were always bloody rude in that branch – slap in the middle of one of the wealthiest areas in Britain. When I emailed Tesco about my “shopping experience” as they told me to on the receipt, nobody replied.

They haven’t explained three things to their staff, maybe because they have forgotten them themselves: who pays their wages, the need to do what you promise and the value of a customer over time.

In a similar piscatorial tragedy at Sainsbury’s near me in Clifton, when I complained they gave me my money back and a voucher for £10. I haven’t even bothered to use the voucher, but the moral is obvious. 

If the only thing that mattered to customers was value for money Tesco would be almost impossible to beat. But other things sometimes matter more – especially buying from people we like and who seem to like us. Tesco don’t.

The third ghastly marketing mistake is to do with reputation – PR.

When I read that Noel "Bob" Robbins, Tesco’s UK chief operating officer has profited by £44,000 through selling shares before the profit warning, I thought there was a couple of misprints. Surely it must be Noel “Rob” Robbings.

The Financial Services Authority says directors must not buy or sell shares in their company while in possession of unpublished, price-sensitive information. Does anyone seriously think the guy who runs the business doesn’t know what’s happening to sales, margins and profits? If so, he shouldn’t be operating anything more important than a check-out.

Never have corporate ethics (if that is not an oxymoron) have been under such scrutiny. I am currently working with a client who helps firms in this area.

Having  your chief operating officer sell shares just before a profit warning suggests a) your directors  are a bunch of rip-off artists b) your compliance department is up the creek and c) the man supposed to run your business is a serious liability.

May I end by making a self-interested point? What this story demonstrates is a sad lack of understanding of several important aspects of marketing.

It is not enough, if you wish to succeed on a significant scale, to understand just one part of marketing. You must try to understand all of them. And that understanding is what I try to convey in my Commonsense Marketing programme, yours to try for a month, free.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Will this kind of short-sighted behaviour grow in the recession? Plus some advice from Dale Carnegie

I'm sorry, but it is not enough to have messages that sell. You need to know what makes them sell, otherwise you’re never in true control of your marketing.

A friend whose agency suffers from having me as chairman told me a story this morning that makes the point.

 One of my clients has just done the "can you give us the artwork for the ad you did so we can stick it on our system" trick, then informed me he will be giving it to the media agency to do the artwork so he can save money.

This is the guy who we did an ad for previously that tripled the response rates compared to the free ads created by the same media agency and turned £350k of media spend into £1.5m of sales.

This seems a bit short-sighted, to say the least. If they didn't have a decent ad to start with no one would be making any money.”

This sad tale reminded me of a client who did the same dirty on me 30-odd years ago – also in a recession. You won’t be surprised that he found his natural calling and now runs a bank.

Anyhow, I tried to console my friend.

The client and his media agency clearly don’t know what makes ads work otherwise their ads would have been doing OK before.  So eventually one of two things (maybe both) will happen.

1. The client and/or the agency will start getting bored with the ad and try to “improve” it. Almost invariably in doing so they will miss out something essential or add something unwise

2. The winning ad will run out of steam eventually and they won’t know how to create another.

However, I think this kind of thing will be on the increase in the next year or five, which is all the more reason to know what works, what doesn’t and why - whether you're the client or the agency. Otherwise when things go wrong you have no idea what to do.

That is why in my Commonsense Marketing programme I analyse work and tell you what makes it tick. I usually talk about stuff I wrote myself, because, as Shakespeare put it, “I can but speak of that which I do know".

But I also interview people who have succeeded and get them to explain what worked for them (and what didn’t). They are the only ones who can tell you.

One or two people who subscribed to the previous Commonsense have asked me if this is different. Well, as you will see if you go here, it is mostly new material.

But there is a very good reason for looking at old material again.  You forget most of what you read or see almost immediately. That is why at the start of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” you are asked to read each chapter twice, make notes and underline things that interest you.

And it's why I still pick up Claude Hopkins Scientific Advertising and find things I'd forgotten ...and I've been reading it for over 43 years.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Interesting new development in corporate waffle - plus a free offer

I have noticed lately a slight change in marketing bullshit.

For quite a few years marketers have been passionate. Passionate about all manner of stuff, it seems, except the thing  normal people associate with passion, which from memory I seem to recall quite fondly is sex.

An amazing number are passionate about food, which may explain why there are so many wobbling blobs of adiposity taking up more than their share of airplane seats and decorating public places.

But is passion being replaced by inspiration? Sainsbury's want me to be inspired to cook. English Heritage  has an entire campaign just called Inspired! (Note the exclamation mark: very creative, must have cost a few sleepless nights to some up with that).

The Olympics (of which I am heartily sick months in advance) have a campaign called Inspire, sadly bereft of any creative punctuation. This campaign "enables non-commercial organisations across the UK to link their events and projects to the London 2012 Games in an official scope"

What the hell do they mean "in an official scope"? Why can't these fools write in English, or at least hire someone who can?

Anyhow, the other day I noticed that the Harley Street Clinic has a big sign outside saying "Inspired to Care". I imagine this is because some oily consultant told them they needed some "marketing", then conned them into thinking that means plastering their building with fatuous drivel.

I lived on Harley Street for seven years, and I only remember one thing about what inspired the people there, which was told me by an distinguished lawyer. "I never knew a doctor who wasn't more interested in money than in medicine". Not long afterwards a doctor made the same remark about lawyers, so one doesn't know what to think.

I don't mind people wanting money, but I wish they wouldn't come out with all this patronising crap. If they were just inspired to care they'd be working in the NHS. They probably like doing what they do, feel it's worthwhile and do it well but like to get paid tons and tons of cash in exchange.

Me too, which reminds me: I really must urge you to have a free preview of my newly improved and tarted up Commonsense Marketing programme.

I have been inspired to launch this as an alternative to the amazing deluge of lies I get every day from sundry sharks. It runs every month for a year and starts with - among other things - something I have never done before. It's a step-by-step analysis of the briefing method I use.

I urge you - passionately - to go and see a simple little site that tells you all about it, at http://draytonbirdcommonsense.com/bespoke/preview1.html

Why not go there now? You can give the whole thing a go for a month without paying a bean and see what you think.

What can you lose? It won't get you to No 1 on Google, or get you $3,000 an hour without being able to sign your own name, but quite a few people have become surprisingly successful after taking my advice.

Some have made millions, so they say. Why not you?

Friday, 6 January 2012

This put me in a good mood for the year ahead

I had quite forgotten how hilarious Private Eye can be.

Ever since they started they’ve run poems by E. J. Thribb (17½) but the current one is the funniest I can recall.

In Memoriam Kim Jong-Il, North Korean Leader

So. Farewell
Kim Jong-

You were
Kim Jong-

Then you were
Kim Jong-

Now you are
Kim Jong-

Now we just have to hope we'll see a few on the deaths of a few other evil bastards. Assad, Putin, Omar Al-Bashir, any religious maniac of any persuasion - and so on