Marketing Matters Mar/Apr 2018 ISSUE 61. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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Some alcoholic drinks are set to cost more from May 1 in Scotland as the country becomes the first in the World to set a minimum price for alcohol, in this case 50 pence per unit.

The move has been made to alleviate Scotland's drink problem and is expected to save "thousands of lives" according to health minister Shona Robison. Drinks most affected will be 7.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) cider which can currently be bought in Scotland for as little as 16pence per unit, the new limits putting a 3 litre bottle (22.5 units) up from £3.60 to £11.25, a rise of more than 200% Beers and lagers at 5% ABV will have to be sold for no less than £1.10 per 440 ml can, a rise of around 50%, wines at 12% ABV for no less than £4.50 a bottle and the cheapest whisky will be £14 a bottle, all of which could persuade some thrifty Scots to travel over the border to England to buy their favourite tipples.

UK recommendations for alcohol consumption are 14 units a week, or six pints of beer or glasses of wine. More than this carries a risk of a shortened life, by one to two years for nine drinks a week, and four to five years for seventeen drinks weekly. The UK limit is one of the lowest in the World - USA drinkers are advised to drink no more than 11 pints of beer or glasses of wine a week, nearly 100% more than in the UK.

Especially worrying airlines is the incidence of dangerous drunkenness on aircraft, where alcohol has double the effect at 30,000 feet than on the ground. Noting that many get loaded up in airport bars before boarding, and some then open their purchased duty-free there have been calls for a two-drink limit in bars at airports and for duty-free bottles to be sealed and stored for passengers until the end of their flight.

More than 400 disruptive passenger incidents were reported to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 2017. In some cases drunks of both genders swore at, threatened and fought with other passengers. Earlier this month a BA flight attendant admitted drinking four miniatures of vodka during a flight from Singapore, putting her two and a half times over the drink/drive limit and ten times over the limit allowed by the airlines for their crew. Said to be drinking to numb the pain of a divorce she was not disruptive in any way but was caught when a passenger smelt alcohol on her breath and reported her.


A senior executive at Facebook has added to the social media firm's current serious woes by claiming, in a memo in 2016 that was leaked, that anything that helped his employer grow was good, even if it helped terror attacks, or was on the back of ethically dubious data practices. The most important thing, claimed Andrew Bosworth was connecting people and ensuring the growth of the company.

The utterly stupid comments have been taken by many to show the real and misguided mindset of a company that is having a number of crises, including the data of 50 million Facebook customers being harvested and used without their permission, and Facebook making a profit running scam ads and hate material.


Sexy images of nearly dressed cartoon ladies and saucy names used to market craft beers look to be on the way out.

Such racy delights (for some) as the pretty and leggy lass in a red mini-dress and chunky heels could disappear from the label of Robinsons Dizzy Blonde Golden Zesty Ale as the brewers accept that lots more ladies enjoy the stuff, and could just be offended by the way it comes across. The Castle Rock Brewery, which has marketed its Elsie Mo Full Bodied and Irresistible ale with American style cartoon pin-ups displaying cleavage, stockings and suspenders has already altered its artwork to portray Elsie as a heroic pilot figure, to be more "accepted by a culture that strives for, and celebrates equality".

The charge is being led, reportedly, by a Ms Jaega Wise, recently elected as south east director for the Society of Independent Brewers.(SIBA) who are drawing up a new code of practice to tell their paying members how to best market their beer. Wonder how many will listen?

For our money most, though not all of the approaches are just fun and harmlessly tongue in cheek, to which only a serial snowflake could really object. And one, marketing the Liquid Mistress red IPA from Siren Craft Brew is blessed with a piece of Art Nouveau artwork in the flowing style of Alphonse Mucha that is actually rather beautiful. (See Pumpclip Parade on the net for a selection of the good and bad, and start collecting some beer mats. They could be worth serious money if they get banned by SIBA.)


Toothpaste claimed to whiten teeth, shampoo claimed to help reduce hair loss, long distance bus tickets for £1 and mineral water claimed to extend life have all been targeted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently.

o Ads for Glaxo-SmithKline's Sensodyne True White tooth-whitening toothpaste were banned after the ASA ruled that there was no evidence that the product whitened teeth more than any other toothpaste not claiming whiter teeth.

o Ads for Dr Kurt Wolf's German Alpecin Caffeine C1shampoo were banned after the ASA ruled that there was no evidence that the product "helped to reduce hair loss" as claimed.

o Ads for Megabus promising "fares from £1" have been banned after Megabus admitted that there could only be one fare at that price per coach.

o Ads for No 1 Rosemary Water have been banned after the ASA ruled that there was no evidence that drinking it could "Help the body stay illness-free and in turn contribute to a much longer life" as claimed.


Two crooks who used hard sell "boiler room" techniques to defraud investors into paying large sums of money for worthless or grossly overpriced goods have been jailed for thirteen years each.

Dylan Creaven and Andrew Rowe sold worthless carbon credits and very low quality or non-existent diamonds from very smart offices in St James Square, London. Both were also involved in fraudulent land deals, Creaven with a company which sold land packages for 31 times their value and raked in £3.2 million before being closed down by the Insolvency Service, and Rowe with a firm that raked in £10 million selling overpriced land.

For those interested in how these scams work see two excellent and enjoyable films, Glengarry Glen Ross and Boiler Room.


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating car rental firms that advertise low prices on the internet and then stiff their customers with hidden fees when they collect the vehicles. The CMA says that if the deal is signed in the UK the customer should be covered by the Consumer Protection Act, which requires firms to clearly display their charges.

The CMA is happy to take evidence of wrongdoing - tel: 020 3738 6000.


Cex, purveyors of second-hand computer and office equipment and CD/DVDs may need to rethink their latest marketing.

Till earlier this year those ordering CDs or DVDs to be posted from the Cex shops where they were in stock paid a reasonable flat rate of £2.50 total postage and packing costs for up to 10 items, any size/weight sent, or 25 pence per item.

Now, however the price has soared to £1.50 per item, a rise of 500%, meaning that the cost of sending 10 items has climbed from £2.50 to £15.

Cex branch staff claim that their firm was "losing a fortune" on the old deal but the hike has left some customers wondering if a middle road couldn't have been found, say a total of £5 or £7.50. After all Cex, who pay 1 pence for DVDs they sell for 50 pence are not exactly losing a fortune on the product itself.


Children eating more healthily could be a vain hope, given the number of ads for junk food they see.

This amounts to up to 1,000 every year, according to researchers in Australia. During peak viewing times the number of ads for healthy foods is half the number for junk stuff.

Liverpool University revealed last year that British children can see as many as 12 ads for junk food every hour during family shows like The Voice.

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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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