Bang

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I’ve always liked Yorkshire and its people. Friendly, down to earth, straight-forward. Maybe that’s why I decided to support Leeds United when there are probably 20 or so top football teams geographically closer to the place of my birth.

But one particular bloke from God’s Own Country pisses me off every year.

By attempting to blow up our seat of government he paved the way for thousands of lunatics to explode incendiary devices hundreds of years later. And not just on the anniversary of the event. Yesterday, 11th November, a continuous display over 60 minutes shook our village scaring our dog, and no doubt many other animals for miles around.

How many of the participants in the event actually knew why they were there? How many would say they were ‘dog lovers’? And how many of the organisers, if I find out where they live, will have a black bag full of dog’s poo through their letterbox if they repeat the performance?

One day a year, almost fair enough – and this year 5th November fell at the weekend. But no repeat performances.

As a responsible dog owner I clear up my pet’s mess around the village. It would be great to have that consideration repaid.

Guy Fawkes, born York 1570, died Westminster 1606. Burn in hell.

 

 

Certified

While convalescing from minor surgery I had a day-long Netflix session (without the chill) watching the first series of ‘Narcos’. Based on true events, it chronicles – with a fair amount of dramatic licence – the story of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and the continuous attempts of the Drug Enforcement Agency to bring him to justice.

It’s very good; gritty and violent, but well narrated and not without humour or irony.

What struck me though, was the 15 rated certificate. The series contained a fair amount of bloody violence, drug abuse, torture, and scenes of a sexual nature. The BBFC guidelines read as follows:

Drugs
Drug taking may be shown but the work as a whole
must not promote or encourage drug misuse
(for example, through instructional detail). The
misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous
substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.
Sex
Sexual activity may be portrayed, but usually without
strong detail. There may be strong verbal references
to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are
unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context.
Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or
stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.
Threat
There may be strong threat and horror. A sustained
focus on sadistic or sexual threat is unlikely to
be acceptable.
Violence
Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the
infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images
are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic violence
is also unlikely to be acceptable.

I’m not suggesting that our precious 15-year-olds shouldn’t be exposed to these scenes – they are in general very familiar with the big bad world at that age, and are big enough and ugly enough to deal with it  – but the ‘Narcos’ series clearly contains sex, drug use and violence portrayed in a manner contravening the above.

My real question is, what’s the point of the 18 certificate?

If the only difference between the 15 and 18 certificates is to protect our youth from viewing risible ‘porn torture’ such as ‘The Human Centipede’, or cartoon video war games, I would suggest that maybe the BBFC’s priorities are wrong, and their certification process outdated and completely out of touch with 2017 society,

 

 

 

 

Onboard

A few years ago I was asked who in the business world I most admired. My reply, to the slight surprise of my questioner, was Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary.

My reasoning was that he had a built a very successful brand with only one real benefit, that of perceived low cost. Yes, your £25 flight to Venice will cost you over £75 once you’ve added the extras. Yes, you won’t actually land anywhere near Venice, incurring additional costs to get you to your final destination. And yes, your walk to the Ryanair gate at Stansted takes 15 minutes and passes through 3 postcodes.

But still, we came. Most Ryanair flights I’ve experienced have been full, and that’s not counting the poor guys who have been ‘bumped’ due to overbooking. O’Leary has proved that you can treat customers like shit and still retain and attract customers, and that’s one hell of an achievement.

I seriously believe that after the current crisis, and despite all of the inconvenience and total disregard for their current customers and target market, that Ryanair will remain a successful airline.

However. Does anyone really believe the reason given for the substantial number of flight cancellations? Pilot shortage due to poor annual leave planning? Surely what’s really behind the disruption is the rationale behind all of Ryanair’s actions. Profit. Maybe their loss-leading routes are becoming too costly. Maybe the forecast for the next financial period was looking a bit low.

Or – and I’m not really qualified to comment on this but I will anyway – maybe there’s a more serious underlying issue.  The prospect of dangerously reduced profits? Cashflow problems? Time will tell.

Ask me again who in the business world I most admire and the answer will not be Michael O’Leary. Not with Sir Philip Green around……………………

 

 

 

 

Houses

‘NIMBY’ is an overused acronym.

I know that because I use it far too often myself; a knee-jerk reaction when I hear of protests against new housing developments or transport links.

We have a severe housing crisis in the UK and one of the only solutions is to develop land close to current amenities and infrastructure. Constructing new towns such as Northstowe helps, but it’s not enough.

I appreciate that some people are genuinely worried about jamming the local infrastructure and the pressure on local schools and healthcare facilities. No doubt some have a genuine fear around environmental issues.

But others see massive personal threats. House values falling pound by pound with every brick laid. An extra 2-minute wait in the queue at Spar. The risk of Johnny Foreigner infiltrating the bowls club. Here’s the response I received on Twitter to my accusation of NIMBYism on the topic of building a new busway linking Cambourne with Cambridge:

I am against because it will wreck what I and my family invested in. There are better options.

“Better options” somewhere else, I imagine.

Yes, developers may well be evil money-grabbing bastards, but we must make them bring facilities along with their cash-cow dwellings. That’s the role local councils should be taking, not automatically rejecting any plans put before them, safe in the knowledge that the village gentry will get behind them.

300,000 new houses are needed every year in the UK.

Everywhere is someone’s ‘backyard’.

 

Words

Merriam-Webster (lovely lady, by the way), has produced a fascinating feature which determines when a word was first used in print. Surfing through the years, it’s somewhat surprising how long ago some commonly used marketing terms were first used.

‘Direct marketing’ was first used in 1961, and it follows that ‘database’ appears a year later. ‘Big data’ dates back to 1996.

‘Case study’ dates back to 1914 – usually referring to medical histories – the year of the start of WW1. If only there had been a cautionary case study showing what would happen if you asked thousands of young men to go ‘over the top’.

‘Email’ was, of course, first written in the early 1980s, and ‘e-commerce’ in 1993. 1999 gave us ‘blog’ (and ‘clickbait!), ‘vlog’ followed just three years later.

‘White paper’ was first used in 1884, but it’s not clear when marketing hijacked it and removed the necessity of governmental origin.

The first known use of ‘social media’ was in 2004, the year of Facebook’s launch, despite platforms such as Six Degrees and MySpace existing earlier.

And the word ‘marketing’ itself? 1561.  Which makes sense as it was the 1600s when posters were first used for promotion, and the first newspaper published leading to paid advertising becoming available.

Incidentally, the word ‘guru’ was first coined in 1613 – a year that most self-proclaimed marketing gurus seem to be stuck in.

 

Storm

As Storm Aileen hits the UK, it’s interesting to learn that the reason the Met Office started naming weather disturbances was to increase public engagement through social media. Apparently, we are more likely to relate to a christened danger than one without a moniker.

If that’s so, and social media stats seem to indicate that it is, surely they should go one step further and give the storm a name that reflects its status and nature.

I give you:

Storm Boris: Blustery, probably harmless but may cause accidental damage

Storm Nigel: Should have died out quickly, but is lingering annoyingly

Storm Freddie: Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening

Storm Brexit: Welcomed by the majority who just ‘wanted a little rain for the garden’, only realising later that it creates widespread havoc and destruction

 

 

 

Protection

Four letters are currently striking fear into the hearts of marketers, causing more anxiety than could be found in a cinema full of 8-year-olds forced to watch the new IT movie.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), 99 articles and 173 recitals worth of unadulterated text, kicks in on 25th May 2018, representing the biggest change to data protection laws in over 20 years.

In terms of data, the public will have greater access to the data held, and intelligence on how it is being used. No longer will marketers be able to send emails without the recipient’s consent – ‘assumed consent’ becomes a thing of the past, and double opt-in and the right to be forgotten will become mandatory under GDPR.  And the fine for disregarding the new law will be larger.

However, contrary to some of the scare stories being circulated, B2B marketers shouldn’t too alarmed. What is clear is that the when dealing with employees of corporates, that is limited companies, LLPs, partnerships in Scotland and government departments, the rules for telephone and direct mail are the same, opt-out. When emailing these individuals you do not need their prior permission, although you do of course have to offer a clear opt-out process.

So all you B2C marketers, maybe it’s time to move over to the dark side of B2B. It may not be as sexy, but we can still test virgin lists.