One of the oldest and most used ploys in the PR business is to smother bad news that matters with even worse news that doesn’t. I can’t help wondering if that’s what has been happening in Cyprus during the past week. I cannot believe even the bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels couldn’t have forecast the likely strength of reaction to their swoop on the bank balances of the Cypriot savers. Anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of public attitudes would have expected such a violent protest. Look at it from the Cypriot’s point of view.
Since I spent most of my working life in the business of marketing newspapers and magazines it won’t surprise anyone when I say that I have always believed that ’freedom of the press’ is one of the cornerstones of democracy. None of the recent scandals have weakened that belief. To me the printed word is still of paramount importance and will always be the best form of permanent record. Would you buy property or undertake a legal transaction without it being on paper? Of course not. The Omar Khyyam quote says it all. "The moving hand writes, and having writ moves on.
Overseas aid has always been a contentious issue. It still is. The basic principle that wealthy nations should subsidise those poorer is obviously one that any self-respecting country would agree and sign up to. The debate is always about how it should be done. It seems to me there are two ways to look at the way overseas aid is delivered. The first, simply as a humanitarian action, the second, as a marketing project.
I hear the Americans have discovered a new type of shopper. Well it’s new to me anyway, they call them “Showroomers”. The retail business in the USA is becoming very concerned about them. Apparently the showroomer visits the shops in the high street and whilst in the shop of choice, uses a mobile phone to compare the prices of the goods on offer to those offered for the same item on Amazon. It is I am told causing quite a stir and I can see why.
It’s often said that you can prove anything with statistics. Certainly politicians know this to be true. How often have you heard the same data presented by one group as being accurate and proving their point, whilst at the same time an opposing group, presenting the same information, insist it is proof of something quite the opposite? Usually the real truth lies somewhere in the middle. Every industry has its own research source that enjoys the confidence of all those involved and to whom the correct analysis is of vital importance.
Have you ever heard of an American conglomerate called Berkshire Hathaway? or an investment company called 3G Capital? No? Well acting together they have just paid $28 billion for H J Heinz. Yes! That H J Heinz, the maker of baked beans, ketchup, soup and other foods you see every day on our supermarket shelves. I saw the announcement in the American financial press last week and it set me wondering….what benefits will accrue from that takeover? to the consumer I mean. Will their products improve in quality? Will the price come down? Will more people be employed?