Marketing Matters Sep/Oct 2016 ISSUE 52. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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Marketing Matters is a free eZine, published every two months, which we think you will find a useful and informative resource.

Share prices in Merlin Entertainments rose by 1% in the 30 minutes after the judge had handed them a £5 million fine for the operational negligence on the Alton Towers Smiler ride last year. The "needless and avoidable accident in which those who were injured were lucky not to be killed" injured 18 people, including two teenage women who both suffered leg amputations. (Business Desk)

The share price rise signals stock market relief that the fine will be covered by a few days trading and was not far larger.


A bill of £34 million has been handed down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to payday lender CFO Lending for a string of customer abuses common in the sector.

These include taking repayments without permission, sending threatening letters, giving misleading and damaging information about customers to credit reference agencies, refusing reasonable repayment plans and overcharging.

The abuses took place over five years and affected nearly 100,000 customers. The FCA has forced the company to write off £31.9million in outstanding balances and return £2.9 million in cash to their abused customers.


A crop of deaths caused by drivers using mobile phones at the wheel has prompted calls for penalties to be substantially increased for the potentially lethal offence.

The number of road accidents caused by this driver irresponsibility increased by 40% between 2010 and 2014, although convictions dropped due to pressure on police time. Accidents caused by people distracted while using a hands free kit were also included - in one instance a mother of seven ran over and killed a two year old girl while using the "safe" kit.

Meanwhile car makers including Honda, Toyota and Fiat are responsibly marketing trendy vehicles that incorporate access to Facebook and Twitter on the dashboards.


The nitrogen dioxide emitted by vehicle exhausts, particularly from diesel engines, can reduce attention and reaction times in drivers.

This is the view of researchers at the London School of Economics who have found a link between pollution and road accidents, and say that reducing nitrogen dioxide levels by one third in badly-polluted West London could reduce accidents by 5%.

One major contributor to UK pollution, Volkswagen, have still to modify a million of their cars fitted with software to cheat emission tests, a process they promised would be completed by the end of this year.


Researchers have recovered more evidence that the sugar industry, through its trade association the Sugar Research Foundation secretly paid for biased "research" that blamed saturated fats rather than sugar for heart disease and obesity in the 1960s.

The result today is that millions buy and consume low-fat but high-sugar foods in the belief that they are good for them, as they suffer more obesity and more heart disease.


A probe into comparison websites and how they make money is being launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

It is known that insurers and utility firms pay commissions of between £40 and £80 per sale to sites such as MoneySuperMarket and GoCompare when customers book through them, and that the sites only feature items where they can earn money on sales, which means that consumers are not getting a completely honest brokerage of information.


A luxury villa on Ibiza advertised on the Airbmb website turned out to be non-existent when a customer booked it and paid £3,450 on request to the non-existent owner. Sadly the payment was made to the fraudsters by wire transfer, which offers no fraud protection, unlike credit cards.

Unsurprisingly the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have regularly warned of the growing dangers of booking accommodation through any websites, because of the risk of fraud. Airbmb reject the accusation that fraud warnings on their website are not prominent enough and point out that in the above example the customer, who had not used Airbmb before, made the mistake of paying to the "owner" directly, rather than through Airbmb, which then offers protection for customer payments. (Source. Mail on Sunday Travel News)

A current Super-Complaint against the banks by Which? accuses them of not doing enough to protect consumers duped into transferring money to fraudsters.

For many it seems curious that Airbmb cannot check their own website regularly for fraudulent entries, which only they can do, and delete them.


The free snacks on board British Airways short-haul flights are being dropped from January next year in favour of the airline selling Marks and Spencer's products, at prices of nearly 50% more than passengers pay in M&S high street shops.

The money-spinning wheeze is part of the customer strategy of new BA CEO Alex Cruz. Passengers who don't want to be clipped for in-flight snacks can choose to go without, or investigate cheaper alternatives to M&S, including making their own favourite sarnies at home.

Free food will continue to be a feature of BA Business Class fares, at least for the time being.


Celebrity endorsements and product placement in films, two favourite routes for marketeers, have recently been under fire in the press.

Nespresso coffee packed in aluminium pods for coffee machines, as promoted by actor and green campaigner George Clooney, has been criticised for the fact that the pods - 15 billion discarded globally every year - can take 500 years to break down and are difficult and inconvenient to recycle. So most end up in landfill.

A TV ad for Walkers crisps featuring their promoter Gary Lineker has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after more than 100 complainants pointed out that the chances of winning the "Spell and Go" holiday competition fronted by Lineker were miniscule, owing to the rigging of the letter-collecting. Less than 1,000 of the 20,000 promised luxury holidays were actually won, and the ASA ruled that the competition breached industry codes.

The new film Bridget Jones Baby is a treat for those who like to spot product placement, with brands of clothes (adult and baby), technology, luggage, crisps, motor bikes, doughnuts, pregnancy testing kits, take-away food, champagne and supermarkets all getting a (yawn) showing. Question is does this kind of excess demean the actors and spoil the entertainment?



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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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Directory for discounts, special offers and free services.

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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