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July/August 2011 ISSUE 21


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Politicians are lining up to crow that Rupert Murdoch and his poodles are bending to the will of Parliament, when in fact it was public disgust and revulsion at the targets for phone hacking that sent a very clear message to MPs, and Murdoch's advertisers, that any support would be a Very Bad Career Move.

As our press, politicians and police get a long-overdue ethical check and clean-up it is reassuring to note that people-power can still be an agent for much-needed change.

Keep up the good work, everyone.


The disposable income of families continues to fall as costs of energy and fuel continue to rise, something that consumers are powerless to stop.

According to finance officers at Asda and Sainsburys consumer confidence is at a low ebb and not expected to recover in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile the Spanish chairman of Scottish Power, Ignacio Galan, had his pay package doubled to £10.5 million just before his company raised gas bills for 2.4 million British households by £175 a year.


Marketeers using celebrities such as Esther Rantzen, June Whitfield, Cilla Black and Gloria Hunniford have come under fire recently.

Rantzen fronts ads for the Accident Advice Helpline, which benefits from unsolicited and illegal spam texts to mobile phones, according to an investigation of ambulance chasing by the Sunday Telegraph.

And Whitfield, Black and Hunniford have backed insurance policies that have turned out to be very bad buys for some.

Consumers need to ask themselves whether the use of a trusted name is to hide an untrustworthy company, or bad product.


More than one third of Britons will be shunning overseas travel and will holiday in the UK this year, a figure up by 10% on 2010.

This is one of the findings of a survey of 5,000 adults by hotel operator Travelodge, which also found that while expenditure on holidays, and travel and accommodation, would be down, expenditure on visiting attractions would be up.

Financial difficulties are thought to be the main reason for the growth of the "staycation", and for the very late bookings of it.

Meanwhile research by ING Direct indicates that 17 million people in the UK are opting for a "nocation" and not taking a summer holiday at all.


Good to note that the organisers of our 2012 Olympics are promoting to the world our growing reputation for top quality cuisine in their choice of main caterer for the Olympic Park, gourmet food specialists McDonalds.

Sadly this carefully considered choice, rightly based independently on the large sum of money the firm put up for sponsorship, has not gone down well with some who claim that the association of McD's healthy cordon bleu cooking with sport is, er, unhealthy and sends the wrong message to our children.

As if.


Marketeers at Japanese confectionery firm Ezaki Glico have been forced to admit that the new 16-year-old member of very young girl band AKB 48 they depicted to sell their chocolate was a computer-generated fake, with features and singing voice cobbled together from six live band members.

Teenaged girl fans of the band became suspicious of the fake female, named Aimi Eguchi, when they noticed her striking similarity to other band members.


Do the management of Iceland stores know the difference between "half price" and "buy two get one free"?

We ask because their Norwich store was recently promoting a three-pack of cans of beer (one of the original four had been taken) at "half price", actually half the price of the four pack so really a "buy two get one free" offer.

When the misleading labelling was pointed out to store staff their response was that they were acting on instructions from their head office marketing department, and that "Everybody does it".

Wonder if this is the same silly tosh they give trading standards officers?


A campaign to name British dry sparkling wines "Merret" has launched to recognise the claim that what drinkers of champagne (French), Cava (Spanish) and Prosecco (Italian) enjoy was first brought to the world by an English doctor, Christopher Merret.

Reportedly Merret gave details of a "second fermentation process" - very similar to the "methode champenoise" - in 1662, 22 years before a French monk, Dom Pierre Perignon claimed to have invented what the French call "champagne".

In recent years the quality of English sparkling wines has improved so significantly that there is a view that there would be benefit in distinguishing them from the French product, like the producers of Cava and Prosecco have done. Sweet sparkling wines have also become more popular than dry versions.

Italy has recently overtaken France as the world's largest wine producer.


The eCommerce Expo event takes place on October 11-12 at Olympia, London.



Edifying to note that the likeable Sir David Attenborough has collected another honorary degree without having to have studied at the University, in this case St Andrews in Scotland.

Our Dave told the students who had studied there that his free degree was an honour he valued most highly, because universities are "the one institution which speaks truth, independent of commercial reasons, political reasons and dogma," which should silence the cynics who feel that honorary degrees are just the cheap PR of academia.

Another fairly recent recipient of the highly rated honour from St Andrews was popular top banker Sir Fred Goodwin.

A recent survey of 1000 teenagers by City and Guilds suggests that nearly half of them would be avoiding going to University following the near-tripling of tuition fees. And a survey by training provider Lifeline found that more than 50% of employers rated work experience and volunteering above academic qualifications.



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A host of free fact sheets on all aspects of event planning and implementation are available from event training specialists RJA.

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A new in-house training offer for any dates in 2011 is being made by the SEO on its Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) qualification. For SEO members only this can be delivered as one-to-one tuition at delegate's own premises for a fee of £725 plus second-class rail travel and budget accommodation for three nights, if needed. There is no VAT as the society has deregistered and additional delegates can attend for £75.

For venue members of the SEO the offer is also made on the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) qualification.

Free sign-up to SEO and details of both qualifications is at www.seoevent.co.uk To discuss dates email to peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk or telephone 01767 312986


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