Marketing Matters May/Jun 2017 ISSUE 56. 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.

Those who thought that energy regulator Ofgem worked to protect consumers from rapacious energy companies might want to think again.

Latest ill-conceived wheeze from the watchdog was to supply the companies with full details of anyone who had been with the same energy company for three years or more, with the idea that the companies could then contact those consumers with deals to switch supplier. This was based on information from the Competition and Markets Authority that anyone still with their energy company after three years was, rather like those who stuck with the same insurance company, probably paying a lot for their misplaced loyalty, or inertia.

So rather than continue to advise customers that they should switch, and perhaps supply some guidance on how best to do it, some bright Ofgem spark thought it would be a good idea to supply customer's data to the energy firms and let them do the aggressive marketing, by the junk mail, junk telephone calls and unwanted door stepping they are all so good at. So the energy companies could then target all their competitor's loyal customers and get them to switch with low-price offers, before ramping the price up over the next three years, of course, while their competitors were doing the same to them.

Sadly the energy companies, along with insurance companies, haven't yet seen the folly of rewarding cut-rate new customers at the expense of profitable old ones, and until they do nothing will change in their markets. Perhaps Ofgem could do some real good by encouraging loyalty bonuses for existing customers, which would also attract new customers?

Meanwhile the energy regulator has quietly dropped its plans after a test marketing exercise revealed "issues".


The director of a company that inflicted 100 million automated nuisance telephone calls over an 18-month period has avoided paying a £400,000 fine imposed by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) by promptly winding his company up.

Greg Rudd, 51, from Cambridge, wound up Keurboom Communications Ltd in March to avoid paying the fine and recorded assets of zero and debts of £43,000.This is the second time he has used the fine-avoiding strategy. In 2005 he was a director of Allied Telecommunications Ltd, another cold-calling firm that telephoned people to persuade them to call expensive premium-rate numbers with the promise of a cash prize. Hit with a £1.3 million fine this firm also went promptly into liquidation.

Until the ICO can target and fine directors personally, rather than their companies, Rudd and others like him are free to just carry on operating under another company name, completely legally.


A cartel of four rechargeable battery manufacturers has been fined a total of £147 million by the European Commission (EC) for colluding to rig prices.

One member of the cartel, Samsung, was spared any fine for informing on the other three, which were Sony Corporation and companies (fined £26 million), Panasonic Corporation and companies (fined £35 million) and Sanyo with Panasonic companies (fined £86 million).

The companies shared with each other the prices they were going to charge in competitive bidding situations and agreed levels of price increases when the price of cobalt went up from 2004 to 2007, all in breach of the Competition Act.


A Scottish sea salt company has ceased trading after its product was found to be mostly cheap table salt imported from Israel.

The Hebridean Sea Salt Company marketed its expensive salt with a very Scottish image, claiming it was "As Pure as Nature" and made from "Grade A certified sea water, taken daily from the remote and stunning Loch Erisort out in the wilds of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides" However, following a tip off from a former employee, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) discovered that the product had been bulked up with 80% cheap imported table salt.

Advising the media of their findings the FSS took the view that the "deception of consumers on this scale is not acceptable" and that it "could damage Scotland's well-deserved reputation for high quality, authentic food and drink products".

The company has enjoyed a £174,573 contribution from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and supplied Waitrose and Sainsbury's with the deceptive salt. At the time of writing (May 21) the salt was still on offer at Amazon at £3.98 for a small 150 gm bag, or £26.53 a kilo. Table salt sells in supermarkets for 40 pence a kilo.


Some of those who have wanted to avoid wearing real fur, so as to deny support to fur slaughterhouses in Asia, have been disappointed after buying items in House of Fraser or Misguided, Sky News has reported.

#Both retailers have a strict no-fur policy which helps their marketing but both have recently been exposed selling items, reportedly unknowingly, with real fur marked as fake. (faux fur) According to fibres experts however some of the fake is very real, being ripped from cats and dogs, as well as rabbits and racoons, and which is cheaper than faux fur.

Fur "farms", as the slaughterhouses for domestic pets and the like in Asia are called, were outlawed in the UK in 2003.


DON'T CALL 118118
Calling a 118 directory enquiries service to get a phone number can cost up to £8.98 per call, if you use 118118, which was 58 pence in 2003.

Even worse is to come if you accept the 118118 invitation to "connect you through" to the number they’ve found as the charges per minute stay at the same rip-off rates of £2.57 per minute from a BT landline and around £5 per minute from most mobiles.

Go online to get telephone numbers free, or get someone connected to do it for you.


Congratulations to Pepsi for supplying this year's most naff ad, which was quickly withdrawn by the company last month.

This starred model Kendall Jenner joining a peace protest march and making peace with a police officer with a can of the fizzy drink, a cringe-making dumbing down that heaped ridicule on Pepsi marketeers, who apologised for trivialising the peace movement and "missing the mark".

Let's hope Ms Jenner was well-rewarded for so sportingly allowing herself to be portrayed as vacuous and inane.


Meanwhile not far behind Pepsi in the naff race is McDonalds, where the little gem hatched up by their marketeers attracted more than 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) before it was pulled.

This featured a young boy struggling to find something he has in common with his late father, and only cheering up when his mother tells him the McDonald's burger he has chosen to eat was his dead father's favourite too.

Pass the sick bag…



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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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