Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Has The Sun Set on the Labour Party?

The front page of The Sun newspaper today declares ‘Labour’s Lost It’ and states the withdrawal of its support for the current Government amongst accusations of a catalogue of failures including crime, healthcare and, top of everybody’s list, public spending. So should Gordy B and the Labour Government be scared?

Yes, definitely. But not because The Sun dictates the electoral outcome of the UK - I think the UK public should be given more credit than that. Yes, The Sun is the UK’s highest circulation newspaper and no doubt it does have a certain amount of influence on its audience. However, I would suggest that it is reacting more to turning public opinion rather than shaping it. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be on the winning team?

There have been more than enough indications that the political tide is turning and various polls to substantiate this. Although I have total admiration for Sarah Brown, her speech at yesterday’s Labour Party Conference to me smacked of desperation and reaffirmed that the Government is in serious trouble. Who really cares whether Gordon Brown is dedicated, loving and loyal when there are so many more important issues to be debated, and is the political stage the right place for his wife to be discussing how much she loves her husband rather than debating these important issues?

I’m sure this was a carefully planned PR strategy to show Gordon Brown’s more human side, but for me it had the opposite effect of a weakened Prime Minister hiding behind a wife who is known to be more popular with the electorate. So will The Sun dictate the forthcoming election? I would say no, but they may have backed the right horse in the closing stages.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Spotted Richard Stirs Up Ill Feeling

When a case of a council going PC mad was revealed recently, everyone from The Daily Mail to The Telegraph wanted a piece of the pudding, with blanket coverage across both print and online media. The story that prompted the reaction? Traditional suet dessert Spotted Dick has been renamed as Spotted Richard in the canteen of the Flintshire Council headquarters. Why? Because customers kept making jokes about it.

A council spokesman said: "The correct title for this dish is 'Spotted Dick.' However because of several immature comments from a few customers, catering staff renamed the dish 'Spotted Richard'. This was not a policy decision, canteen staff simply acted as they thought best to put an end to unwelcome and childish comments, albeit from a very small number of customers." Typical, huh? It’s always the small minority that spoil it for everyone else…

In a public backlash to the decision, one councillor said the move was "political correctness gone mad" and that the people who made the decision would soon be "frightened of their own shadow". The Daily Mail called Flintshire Council “prudish”, while The Telegraph, Daily Post and BBC also chipped in with opinions.

It’s not the first time that Spotted Dick has come under the spotlight. In 2001, Tesco opted for Spotted Richard on its packaging, claiming that female shoppers were offended, and Gloucestershire NHS Trust caused a stir in 2002 by changing its menu. But both eventually admitted defeat. The Pudding Club has also now spoken out on the matter, stating that “this is totally bonkers”. At last, someone talking some sense…

Bookmark and Share

Friday, 25 September 2009

Can Too Much of A Good Thing Be A Bad Thing?

As many of us know the common saying, too much of anything can often be a bad thing. And in light of the recent news story surrounding hand gel, I think this has once again, been proven true. Over the last few months, Brits have really stepped up their levels of hygiene in order to avoid contracting the deadly swine flu. I for one can’t swing a cat without knocking over a bottle of hand gel, whether it be in my toilet at home, by my kitchen sink, in my handbag, or most commonly, on my desk at work. So much so, that I have actually become fairly obsessive in my generous use of antibacterial wash, wipes and gel!

But never once, despite my obsession, have I thought to drink the stuff?? Whilst I have no doubt, that it must be fairly dismal being locked inside a prison, starved of all pleasures, luxuries and treats, things must have really plummeted for the prisoners of Verne Prison in Dorset, who opted to use their hand gel as an alcoholic beverage to liven things up! And before you think they just swallowed it whole…no no. The prisoners went all the way to ensure that their latest cocktail was the best that it could be, as they steamed the alcoholic gel, strained it to ensure that just the alcohol content was left, before mixing it with sugar and fruit to form hooch! As you can imagine, prisoners + alcohol will always equal disaster, so following the drunken fight which broke out, the hand gel has now been removed.

If that wasn’t enough, Dorset County Hospital had to withdraw their alcohol based soap, to prevent vagrants from coming in to drink it!

With the threat of a second pandemic wave right around the corner, I would have thought that the alcoholic gel could have been put to far better use, and in time, perhaps these select few may come to regret their moment of madness! I will say one thing, when the pandemic does return…I’m staying well clear of Dorset!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Will Real Men Wear Tights?

Apparently, the latest fashion must-have for the man about town is a pair of tights. Yes, you heard me…tights. Apparently demand for ‘Mantyhose’ has risen so much that one of our top London stores has started stocking them.

Whilst I am sure this is more PR stunt than reality, I think it’s brilliant that someone somewhere is trying to push the boundaries in menswear. I love clothes shopping for me, but hate clothes shopping for the husband because it’s so boring! I feel for our men because their options are so limited compared to what is on offer for the girls. There was a time when men led the fashion trends – think of the renaissance fops with their towering wigs and high heels.

So come on gents, are you ready to join the tight revolution? If you are feeling the urge then please make sure your look is more swashbuckling hero than a wrinkly Norah Batty!

Countdown Queen Rachel Riley Boosts Ratings

It may have a cult following, but 25-year-old Channel 4 show Countdown can hardly be viewed as particularly relevant to 2009. But over the last couple of days there’s been a surge of interest in the long-running quiz programme in the press. And it’s not been due to conundrums or number puzzles.

For the last three days, Carol Vorderman replacement presenter Rachel Riley has worn what the Daily Mail calls “some truly eye-popping numbers” in reference to a series of short, tight dresses. The sequence started on Monday with a pink minidress, followed by what the Daily Telegraph described as a “scarlet outfit which barely reached her thighs” on Tuesday (pictured below), and another skintight monochrome number on Wednesday.


So what’s all the fuss about? Well, disregarding the fact that Countdown is a daytime show that airs in the afternoon, viewing figures have plummeted this year since Riley and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling took over the reigns in January. At its height, 1.3 million people regularly tuned in for a daily fix of word and number games, but latest figures show that this has dropped by 50% to just 650,000. So is the minidress series a simple PR stunt by producers to boost the ratings?

23-year-old Oxford graduate Riley has come under fire for her performances on the show, and will undoubtedly hope that vamping it up in revealing outfits will defer some of that criticism. And very short, very tight dresses can hardly be bad for viewing figures. And if it is a pre-determined publicity stunt, it’s certainly done the trick and grabbed the press’ attention. As well, I suspect, as that of many of the male students who avidly watch the programme.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Roll Up, Roll Up, Get Your Free News Here!

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch recently announced that all his online publishers would begin to charge for news content, so he’s not going to be very happy with today’s findings. New research has found that only 5% of people would be prepared to pay for their web content, with a massive 74% saying they would simply find an alternative, free provider.

Rightly or wrongly, in this digital age, we have become used to getting things for free online. The only surprise for me here is that as many as 5% of people would be happy to pay for their news. If the music and film industries can’t stop people downloading illegally (even with those scary adverts about funding terrorism), I can’t imagine that people will take kindly to having to pay for news.

Newspaper sales have taken a battering over the last few years, due mostly to the availability of free news online, so I can see why Murdoch would be keen to generate more money. What he seems to be missing, though, is that while consumers can’t create their own newspapers and hand them around, they can share news on the internet. What’s more, it’s easy, fast and we’re all doing it anyway! I don’t think I’ve ever gone to The Times website to see what’s going on in the world, but I have been directed there by Facebook, Twitter, blogs, my RSS feed… the list is endless. It won’t take anybody very long to find an alternative news source that doesn’t cost money.

As The Guardian asks (on its free website, which I found via Twitter): is 5% readership enough to offset the decline in advertising revenue that would come with putting news site behind a pay wall? Time will tell…

Stop Judging the Judges

You may remember a while back, that I blogged around the subject of Strictly Come Dancing, and the fuelled debate over Alesha Dixon’s replacement of Arlene Philips. Following on from the media hype which was generated months ago, the actual arrival of Alesha on our screens this weekend seems to have caused an even bigger stir, resulting in an obscene amount of media and consumer backlash!

Whilst the BBC received over 500 complaints, and an online petition began to campaign for Arlene’s return, the breakfast team at Kiss FM, coupled with contestant Natalie Cassidy and Craig Revel Horwood vowed to stand by the Strictly winner, insisting that her previous experience as a dancer really was extremely valuable. They insisted Alesha was a wonderful relief to the new contestants and that viewers ought to stop judging her before she’s even had her chance to shine!


Whilst Alesha may not have a background in musical theatre in the same way that Arlene did, let’s be honest…does Cheryl Cole’s short lived celebrity stardom really give her the authority to be dictating who has the X Factor in music?? Despite this, the panel of ITV judges including Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh provides sufficient expertise in the industry, enabling favourites like Cheryl and Danni to add a breath of fresh air to the show. So with the likes of Australian dancer Craig Revel Horwood, British professional dance judge Len Goodman and choreographer Bruno Tonioli on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing panel of judges, isn’t it about time we had someone different to shake up the mix?


Furthermore, since when was the Hoff (who featured on the panel of America’s Got Talent) considered to be a qualified talent spotter??
Isnt it about time, that we stopped judging the judges, and started focusing on the job at hand…the contestants!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bah Humbug!

According to members of the public interviewed by Brand Republic in their latest video, the common perception is that retailers should wait until late October or November before rolling out their Christmas ranges, and that by launching them too early "puts people off" and is in "bad taste".
The question is…”Are you too put off products that start advertising too early for their Christmas range, or does it help you plan ahead and spread spending, especially given the current economic situation?”
If journalists are allowed to plan their Christmas issues in July, and publish them in November then why shouldn’t retailers jump on board and do the same? Furthermore, fashion outlets begin selling their winter ranges throughout the summer season, enabling us to stock up our wardrobes with the latest must haves, demonstrating that early planning sells?

Harrods is long renowned for its famous ‘Christmas Shop’ which opens in July, displaying an elaborate array of baubles, decorations, Christmas crackers and gift ideas. Surely its longstanding presence is a sure fire indication that consumers do like to shop for Christmas so early on in the year?

Several consumers commented that Christmas promotions encourage their children to start thinking about their gift wish list, which in turn, caused them frustration at having to deal with it! Others found that the sight of Christmas created a sense of panic which they just couldn’t cope with in August!

Personally, I think that by stocking products so early on, retailers are providing consumers with the opportunity to purchase specific goods ahead of time, and avoid the mad rush in December. I for one am very much a fan of the Christmas season, and welcome the arrival of Christmas products in store early on, enabling the festivities to stretch out for as long as they possibly can and provide sufficient anticipation! (Although I have been booed by colleagues on several occasions, when I have loudly announced how many days are left until Christmas! Just so you know….it’s 97.)

Cirkle get physical for a great cause!

The Cirkle team is out to prove that it’s physically as well as mentally fit while raising money for a great cause as it takes part in the forthcoming ‘Logans Challenge’, in a bid to help raise money for Sparks, a unique children’s charity funding medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure for conditions and illnesses affecting children, babies and expectant parents.

Four members of the Cirkle team will compete in a series of five physical and mental tasks comprising of a 10k run, 15k cycle, skill task, agility challenge and an assault course on the 10th of October. Despite being the most unfit member of the team and having just got back from a week in Mallorca where my only exercise was the continuous raising of my glass, a minimal amount of swimming and a little bit of Salsa (if you can call it that), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the training so far and surprisingly I’m actually relishing the challenge ahead although getting quite nervous with only four weeks left to go.

There is definitely something to be said for healthy body, healthy mind and I can see why many organisations support health and fitness initiatives in the workplace. At Cirkle we’re lucky as this is something very close to our CEO’s heart, particularly since she was crowned ‘Britain’s Fittest Director’ by the Telegraph newspaper last year. As an agency we’ve introduced lots of innovative initiatives in this area including; ‘Ditch the duvet day’s’ where staff can take an additional day’s holiday to take on a new challenge, ‘Trojan Training’ for employees on Monday’s as well as Fitbugs for all employees to monitor our progress – which isn’t always a good thing!

To find out more about the Sparks ‘Logans Challenge’ please visit: http://www.loganschallenge.com/ or alternatively if you would like to sponsor the Cirkle team please go to: http://www.justgiving.com/CirkleLogansChallenge/

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

He Had The Time Of His Life

This morning we woke to the sad news that Patrick Swayze has passed away, aged just 57, after a long illness.

Jennifer Gray, who co-starred with Swayze in Dirty Dancing, commented, “'Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace,” and in his final years Swayze demonstrated this more than ever. His determination to get the most out of the short time he had left was inspirational. Swayze had been battling cancer for almost two years – but what a battle it was. He had continued to work throughout treatment, filming American TV drama The Beast, and hadn’t even stopped during chemotherapy.

The star of film classics including Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Point Break is being remembered all over the world today, with tributes appearing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and various message boards. These forums have become focus points for fans all over the world to share their sadness and memories of Swayze, as they did for Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson before him. Events such as these high-profile deaths demonstrate the global community created by social media and give like-minded people a chance to celebrate the life of someone they never knew, but will miss all the same.

In the spirit of celebrating a life lived to the full (and a chance to gratuitously admire the gorgeous Johnny Castle), here's a classic moment in film history.

MTV Music Awards – The Weird & Wonderful

I am sure I wasn’t alone last night, in watching the much awaited MTV Music Awards, to witness the who’s who in the music charts, the newcomers, the best videos, not to mention the red carpet outfits!

But could it be that I was in fact alone in my utter surprise and loss of words, every time Lady Gaga appeared on the screen? Whilst I am fully aware that she is renowned for her eccentric behaviour and unusual dress sense, last night’s five outfit change was far beyond eccentric and verging on disturbing.

Her initial entrance was slightly odd to say the least, as she arrived in a limo with Kermit the frog, before appearing on stage in her underwear, only to then hang herself from the ceiling, as blood poured out from her eyes. In light of recent news headlines, is it just me, or was this display of attention slightly distasteful??

If that wasn’t bad enough, her subsequent outrageous outfits left little to the imagination. What would possess somebody to display a bird’s nest on their head? Or even to go as far as adorning a full faced red mask?

Whilst I am fully aware that my music taste may, at times, be regarded as ‘old fashioned’, (particularly as my boyfriend had to inform me on a number of occasions who exactly was on stage!), am I really that old fashioned to be asking what sort of message this bizarre display of behaviour must give out to the kids of today?

Whilst I appreciate that a number of artists have made their name, or upheld their reputation by a series of extreme behaviour, isn’t this taking things a bit far? Could it be that the MTV Music Awards are now renowned for such outlandish stunts, that the celebrities have come to tailor their behaviour accordingly to make as much noise as possible? Admittedly Lady Gaga did hit all of today’s papers, but whether or not the saying ‘all publicity is good publicity’ rings true in this instance is very much debatable….

Monday, 14 September 2009

Products, products everywhere!!


So the UK is to follow the US’s lead by for the first time allowing product placement in tv programmes. We know the preferences of many of the world’s secretive fictional characters such as we know James Bond prefers an Omega watch and Spider-Man likes a drop of Dr Pepper.

Product placement in films is widespread, however in British TV programmes, shows have long had to make up fictional products such as made up beer brands in Coronation Street however from this week you could see a plethora of more familiar beers lining the bar in the Rovers Return as a decision has been made to allow commercial broadcasters to show sponsored products for the first time.
The decision represents a major U-turn by the government, and a senior Whitehall source said: “the climate has changed and we are ready to allow product placement in certain circumstances.”
The ban lift will only apply to commercial broadcasters with the BBC still banned and the ban will also remain in force for all children’s programmes across the networks.
So what does this mean for the advertising industry as we know it?
It will throw a lifeline to struggling ITV and other independent broadcasters who would be able to boost their advertising revenues.
Media analysts estimate this could inject around £72 million into British independent television in the short term.
The move could lead to celebrity chefs promoting supermarket products in their cooking programmes and soft drinks manufacturers placing their beverages in television talent shows.
Also had this move been announced earlier could there have been a different future for Big Brother for example? With new ruling, BB would offer a raft of opportunities for advertisers to place their products and could have rescued the failing programme. Instead of gaffer tape covered Lucozade bottles (which everyone knew was Lucozade really), GSK could have paid to have their famous soft drink appear on the show which targets many of their consumers.

This opens up yet another revenue stream for PR’s and advertisers, and with the wonder of Sky meaning consumers can fast forward through the traditional ATL, this offers brands another way to reach its chosen audience.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Strictly Come X Factor

Autumn brings with it many dilemmas - summer frock or woolly jumper? salad or soup? But none are as tricky as what to watch on a Saturday night – Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor! Sadly, with a young baby at home, Saturday night telly is a highlight in our household and now the Beeb have decided to go head to head with ITV I’m getting ready to fight my corner to take control of the remote from him indoors. Being camper than a row of tents I love the glitz and glamour of Strictly, but I’m not sure hubby can live without his weekly fix of revelling in the horror of the disillusioned that actually think they can sing on X Factor. As far as I’m concerned there’s no competition – it’s got to be sequins, false lashes and glitter balls all the way. And if he doesn’t agree? Perhaps the alternative of he and I taking up ballroom dancing lessons might just be the persuasion he needs!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Is shoe shopping bad for your health?

It doesn’t take an increase in media coverage to get me interested in shoes, but this Monday morning was a real treat, with the ‘Miss KG Goldie’ heel splashed all over the news. Featuring a celeb-worthy 6 inch heel and a shiny gold platform, these glittery beauties have hit the press because they are the highest heel available on the high street. Demand from us mere mortals to look like the super-stylish Posh or ever popular Cheryl Cole has led to these super-sized creations appearing at Debenhams for the very reasonable sum of £65.

However, it’s not all fun and games for ladies looking to add a pair of skyscrapers to their wardrobe. Apparently, the NHS already spends £29million each year treating foot conditions caused by ill-fitting footwear, and two million work days a year are believed to be lost due to injuries sustained by problematic shoes. High heels can lead to all sorts of health problems, particularly to the feet and back. The Trade Union Congress, who are campaigning for high heels to be banned from work uniforms, recommends that heels should be no higher than one and a half inches and shorter than an inch if worn for prolonged periods.

This news has appeared alongside every report of the ‘Goldie’, with po-faced health officials warning against them at every turn. When you think about it, it’s a great angle to take. This story was guaranteed coverage – the combination of the highest heel on the market, the celebrity link (as discussed by our own Kate last week on this very blog) and the health scandal provides an angle for every media channel.

Plus, it’s too late for the health warnings to discourage the target market of these shoes – we’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for them already. I predict a stampede to the shops though, so next week you might be seeing more coverage of shoppers being trampled into the ground on a high street near you…

Lego & Spinal Tap: A Match Made in Hell?

At our recent biannual company conference, I presented a rundown of some of the top creative ideas that we should aspire to. Among these were some great uses of social media, including a fantastic clip from YouTube where someone has used an Eddie Izzard skit to create a brilliant video using Lego. Watch it below.



But in a very bizarre set of circumstances, Lego has fallen out with spoof rock band Spinal Tap for wanting to do a similar thing. The rock stars, who famously had an amp that turned right up to 11, wanted to use a clip of the band in Lego performing ‘Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight’ on their new DVD. But Lego thinks the song’s too rude and has refused permission.

The clip was created by a 14 year old and has been viewed some 110,000 times on YouTube, and was used by the band on stage during their recent ‘Unwigged and Unplugged’ tour. But when The Tap asked to use the clip as part of an anniversary DVD, Lego turned them down. A spokeswoman said that although Lego relishes customers’ creativity with its products, it felt the ‘inappropriate language’ and ‘tone’ of the video wasn’t right for its target demographic of kids between the ages of 6 and 12.




Do they have a point? Maybe. Spinal Tap is hardly aimed at 10 year olds. But interestingly, Lego hasn’t banned the clip from YouTube. So just maybe it knows all about the power of viral marketing and is more than happy for 110,000 people and counting to have had exposure to the video. And while seeming to do ‘the right thing’, the mere fact that the refusal has attracted media coverage can’t be a bad thing for Lego, can it? But whether it was with genuine concern that permission to use the clip was turned down, or whether Lego spotted a PR opportunity and grabbed it, the whole thing is very Spinal Tap…

Monday, 7 September 2009

Poppadom anyone???

So I am all in favour of tributes – a singer that sings/writes a song in honour of a loved one who has passed or an author who dedicates their book to someone – this is a wonderful and poignant way of remembering someone important to you and ensuring their memory lives on.

However tributes apparently takes on a completely different meaning if you are Shilpa Shetty. This week she has launched her own range of ready meals – complete with poppadoms dedicated to the recently departed Jade Goody.
The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant plans to give away Shilpa's poppadoms with her curries - the name Jade famously called her when they were on the reality show together.
The remarks made by the Goody, who died of cancer in March, sparked the Big Brother race row which engulfed the nation back in 2007.
Now like most people out there I was never Jade’s biggest fan, but was terribly saddened by her death, however this ‘dedication’ if you can call it that is a self gratifying farce if ever there was one.

The ‘Poppadom’ scandal ensured there was never much love lost between the Bollywood star and the ex-Big Brother contestant so to ride on the back of such a tragedy to promote her ready meal range just makes a mockery of Jade’s memory and Shilpa herself.

Shilpa is reported to have said she admitted the name brought back memories but said it was supposed to be ‘light hearted’ and “it also reiterates the fact that we completely buried the hatchet. God bless her soul.”

Now as PR’s we all know as cynical as it sounds that riding on the back of something that caused or attracted media attention cant help but attract media attention for your own campaign but this takes it to a whole new level.

Lets just hope out of all of this she is giving some of the profits from her so called Jade dedicated range towards Cancer Research, giving this campaign at least a shred of credibility.

New Look – The Latest High Street Chain To Up The Fashion Stakes

This week saw the announcement from much loved high street fashion chain New Look, that Girls Aloud’s more curvier band member Kimberley Walsh is set to be the new face of their Autumn/Winter 2009/2010 clothing collection, due to her modern day iconic style.
The range, following in the footsteps of Lily Allen, will include a number of items tipped to be very ‘va va voom’, making the most of Kimberley's voluptuous figure.
Whilst I am indeed a big fan of New Look, and in fact of Kimberley too, it seems that the days when fashion chains could attract you in to their stores purely on the basis of the quality clothes they had to offer and the reputation they have built, have long gone. The only way to lure consumers in store nowadays, is to bring on board a well known celebrity who appeals to your target audience, by getting them to wear the clothes!
Forgive me, but I don’t remember the last time I saw Madonna sporting a Hennes outfit? Kate Moss may be the face of Topshop, but in a recent episode of ‘Topshop launches in New York’, she voiced her frustrations at having turned up to the launch in a Topshop dress from her own collection, only to find everyday consumers wearing the same outfit! Sorry, but isn’t that the whole point?
With such an uplift in celebrity involvement including Take That, Twiggy and Myleene Klass who raised the fashion stakes of M&S, Stella McCartney and Viktor & Rolf who developed their much loved Hennes ranges, Kelly Brook’s New Look swimwear range and of course Roland Mouret who’s collection at Gap was fast tracked to clearance within a matter of weeks, it appears that the reality of the high street experience itself has got completely lost.
In the words of George Davies, the inspiration behind Next, George at Asda and Marks and Spencer's Per Una range; “we've replaced the innovation and inventiveness of retail and fashion with the marketing ploy of celebrity culture. Personality has gone out of the shopping and retail experience for the customer.”
Isn’t it time we let the high street chains let their clothes speak for themselves again, and allow us to enjoy our time perusing through the rails, without the added threat of making it through the door alive in a bid to grab a shred of the latest celebrity range the second it hits?

Friday, 4 September 2009

Is Out-Of-Date Cosmetics Warning a Marketing Ploy?

It’s a story that rears its head every so often in the media and it’s in the news again today: out-of-date cosmetics are putting our health at risk. Ladies (and of course well-groomed men), apparently only one in four of us take any notice of use-by dates on our make-up and toiletries. We are therefore, according to a recent study, putting our health at serious risk.

One beauty expert has claimed: "It is not simply a matter of products no longer performing to optimal standards. Old make-up can be hazardous to our health. Like food, cosmetics can expire and become dangerous to use." So, is it time for us to have a good old rummage around in our make-up bags and throw away our much-loved products that have been lurking around for years?

According to the following, my cosmetic bag needs a little spring clean – are you guilty too? How long they last:
  • Mascara – 3-6 months
  • Blusher – 12 – 18 months
  • Lipstick – 18 months
  • Tinted moisturiser – 12 months
  • Foundation – 6 months
  • Eye shadow – 12 months
  • Liquid eyeliner – 3-6 months
  • Eye pencil – 24 months
  • Shampoo – 24 months
  • However gel – 24 months
Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is some truth in that cosmetics become less effective the older they are, especially those with organic ingredients. However, the extent to which they are a serious risk to our health I’m uncertain. In the back of my mind I can’t help but think it may also be a ploy by the cosmetics industry to give sales a much needed boost during the current economic climate. However, the next time you reach for your trusty mascara will you stop to think how long you’ve actually had it? Although I have my doubts, I still think I will.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A joke too far?

As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival draws to a close, kudos must be awarded to the resourceful comedian Lewis Schaffer, who scooped the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for the best publicity stunt at the festival. Schaffer not only persuaded Scottish publication ‘The List’ that he was the sponsor of this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, but he also managed to convince them that the Awards would now be called ‘The Lewies’ in his honour, and that his mother would be on the judging panel!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, John Fleming, co-producer of the Malcolm Hardee Awards, was quoted as saying, "What impressed me was when he was forced to issue a retraction for the false press release he managed to include full details of his own show… twice.”

Schaffer faced close competition from Shed Simove, who was noticed after he printed details of his show, ‘Ideas Man’, on every sheet of 1,000 toilet rolls, and Warren & Hanbury, who climbed Arthur's Seat naked to publicise their show, ‘All To Bare’.

Obviously, these techniques aren’t transferable to every situation - I don’t think we could get Walkers to print their press releases on toilet roll, and why exactly would we want to?! However, what Schaffer and his colleagues do remind us is that the best publicity stunts are simple, smart and just a little bit cheeky!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tacheback 2009: One Small Step for Man

I’m fortunate enough not to know anyone affected by prostate or testicular cancer. But when I heard from Remington about Tacheback, visited the website and read the facts and figures from Everyman, it shocked me. Prostate cancer kills one man an hour and has overtaken lung cancer as the most common cancer in men. There are over 36,000 cases of male cancer every year in the UK alone, and testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-44. And so, spurred on by these stats and following encouraging noises from the Cirkle ladies, I’m growing a tache in September.

When it came down to it, I found it hard to find a reason not to. People go skydiving and run marathons to raise money for charity. All I’ve got to do is to sit on my bum in front of the TV, watch the footie, drink beer and not shave. Sounds like heaven to me! So when it comes down to it, the vanity excuse of being afraid of looking silly by growing a moustache doesn’t really cut it. When it comes to helping a charity for testicular cancer, growing a tache doesn’t take balls.

So now I’m on a one way journey to face fuzz heaven. No retreat, no surrender. For the next 30 days, I shall be cultivating my facial furniture safe in the knowledge that it’ll be doing the world some good. I’ll be growing a little Bono on my upper lip, if you will.


Should you so desire, you can Follow the Fuzz here on a daily basis. And, what’s more, you can even VOTE on which style of tache I should go for once my furry friend has grown in. There are five to choose from, so leave your vote below and I'll shave into the winning style before the end of the month.


And most of all, please visit my Tacheback profile page: www.tacheback.com/Magnums-Upper-Lip. Incidence of male cancer is rising rapidly and affects fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, grandfathers and friends. So if you can spare even a pound or two that would be fantastic and for an extremely worthy cause. There’s more information on Everyman here.

Let the growing begin…

Bookmark and Share