Marketing Matters Mar/Apr 2016 ISSUE 49. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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A Dutch International beach volleyball player is starting a four-year jail sentence for raping a 12 year old English girl.

Steven Van de Velde, 19 at the time, flew from Amsterdam in August 2014 to meet up with the schoolgirl from Milton Keynes he had met on Facebook and raped her three times before returning home. He was extradited to the UK and tried and convicted at Aylesbury Crown Court, the judge telling him: "A young, naive and foolish child had formed the view that you loved her. In reality you only knew her on the internet, had never met her before and were fully aware of the age difference. You were the adult, she was the child, and until you recognise this you will remain a danger to young girls".

Meanwhile Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has pleaded guilty to one count of internet grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child after an extra-marital relationship with a 15 year old model and Sunderland fan. Amid claims that his club had copies of the 854 grooming emails and still let him play, and earn on, Sunderland's chief executive Margaret Byrne has resigned in disgrace.

Meanwhile Russian tennis player and businesswoman, Maria Sharapova has admitted that she has taken a performance-enhancing drug, Meldonium, for the last ten years of winning titles and accepting up to £100 million from sponsors, most of whom have now dumped her. Meldonium became a banned drug in January of this year and Sharapova failed a drugs test prior to the Australian Open. Her sponsors have included Nike, Tag Hauer, Porsche, American Express, Tiffany, Avon and Evian.

Meanwhile sporting goods retailer Sports Direct, owned by billionaire chairman of Newcastle United Football Club Mike Ashley, has been described as "a truly hideous company" by Shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant. Bryant claims that in one Sports Direct warehouse 80% of the staff were on zero-hours contracts and that every member of staff is subjected to an unpaid 15-minute search before going home. A Guardian investigation of the company's Shirebrook, Derbyshire warehouse last year found that wages were docked for "excessive toilet breaks" and being a minute late, and the BBC has heard accusations that staff were "too afraid" to take sick leave. Ashley has reportedly refused to comment on the allegations and has accused the MPs of trying to create a "media circus" by making him give evidence.

Meanwhile the investigation into corruption at football's governing body FIFA continues.

Meanwhile hands up all those who think sport is inspirational...


As fines and scandals continue to hit the banking sector HSBC has warned that it will take "a generation" before the banks are trusted again by their customers.

The warning has been sounded by Antonio Simoes, head of HSBC in the UK.

Meanwhile, amid consumer recognition that high bonuses and greed in the sector were responsible for the stupid risks taken that resulted in banks being bailed out by the British taxpayer, Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that its chief executive Ross McEwan will receive a bonus of shares worth £2.7million. And chief executive of Lloyds, Antonio Horta-Osorio will get shares worth £3.7 million.

Over at UBS and Deutsche Bank the two investment giants have been criticised by the supreme court for running "artificial" share schemes a decade ago that were an artifice using offshore companies to avoid paying tax on high bonuses paid to staff. The court ruled that both banks must pay HMRC the tax due on the amounts, said to run into tens of millions. There are now concerns in banking circles that the ruling could affect the tax status of many other bonus schemes and artifices used by the banks over the last ten years to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Sounds like "a generation" might be pure optimism.


Unfair, misleading and aggressive trading practices used to defraud pensioners are an "industry standard" for the building trade.

This is the view of West Midlands building company directors Sarah Beadle (40) and Martin Evans (58) of Summit Roofguard, who have both been jailed for two and a half years for pressurising pensioners into paying grossly inflated amounts for building work. One paid £20,000 for guttering that could have been repaired for £40, and another was charged £9,585 for work that should have cost £2,820. The over-charging was made possible by victims being told that their properties were in urgent need of repair and that they were getting a discount that was only available for a few hours, two clear indications of a scam.

Four others at Summit Roofguard received suspended sentences for their parts in the deceit. One receiving a 12 month sentence suspended for two years was Summit's top salesperson Glenys Bolton, a 64 year-old from Birmingham who specialised in using her own age to get the trust of old people, lying about the building work they needed for their homes, telling them that her husband was wheelchair-bound to get sympathy and kissing and hugging them after they had agreed to buy.


Fake five-star reviews for worthless products can be bought for as little as 85 pence each from a number of fake review companies prominently listed on Google's search engines, an investigation by the Sunday Times has found.

For the investigation the newspaper launched a shoddy and ineffective lie detector phone app called Spot the Faker! for iPhone and Android handsets and then marketed it by buying dozens of fake reviews for £120. Many of the fake review firms stole the identities of celebrities and athletes to post them from, and the investigators identified more than a hundred apps that had used the fake review service.


Management of the Wentworth golf club are handicapped by some marketing incompetence, it seems.

Late last year Reignwood, the Surrey club's Chinese owners, announced it wanted to reduce the number of members from 4,000 to 888 - a number considered lucky in China - and impose a £100,000 re-joining fee on the ones who wanted to come back, this reportedly to finance a large loan the company had taken out and a £20 million bill for urgent improvements to the course and clubhouse.

Interestingly some of the idea worked in that members resigned in disgust to join other clubs but the bit about paying £100,000 to come back was much less successful. So much so that the top types in Wentworth management, after hasty consultation with their very rich paymasters in Beijing, did a swift U-turn and scrapped the greedy exploitation of current members. Focus has now moved to the annual membership fees, which are doubling from £8,000 to £16,000, and joining fees for new members which have been set at £125,000, up £110,000 from £15,000.


A Labour MP has been fined £5,000 for sending out automatic telephone calls to Labour supporters urging recipients to back his campaign to become London mayor.

David Lammy sent out 35,000 canvassing calls to people who had not given him permission to contact them, said the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, likening politicians begging for votes to double glazing salespeople offering discounts.

Lammy finished fourth in the Labour mayoral campaign.


Marketeers we know have been receiving emails from a publisher of advertorials Mr Jack Clarke of Acquisition International as below.

"As the head of (company name) Acquisition International has personally chosen you as a leading MD in the United Kingdom and we welcome you to celebrate this news by joining us with an exclusive interview for our forthcoming issue. The cost for this high-profile spot is just £500 and includes:

  • One full page of editorial (approx. 900 words)
  • Inclusion of your article on our website
  • An "MD of the Month" logo for you to use in your email signature and website.
  • A hand crafted beautiful trophy presented in an elegant box
  • Access to high resolution PDFs for you to use as you wish"

The copy in the email goes on to claim that the Acquisition International magazine is distributed to "108,000 individuals" each month and to urge the recipient to agree to the £500 charge. Those flicking through the magazine will find page after page of advertorials - PR puff masquerading as journalism.

On this basis how much serious credibility would you give any company or individual placing advertorials in Mr Clarke's vanity magazine, or promoting his paid-for awards in their marketing. Would that be less than bugger-all?



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View the two one-day programmes at and call Peter Cotterell on 01767 312986 (email to discuss dates and book. Delegates achieving the BASIC CERTIFICATE IN CONFERENCE ORGANISATION can go on to take the other two days for the full certificate at a later date and the same pricing.


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For the suppliers this will be a low-cost proposition of a total £85 for up to 100 words of text published in six issues over twelve months, which can include details of the venue/product, the discount offered and contact details. Suppliers that are also charities can have this flagged up and can book for £65. 



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The views of the editor are not necessarily those of the publishers.

Peter Cotterell
Tel: 01767 312986

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