Monthly Archives: March 2012

Dear Somersets

Dear Somersets,

Thank you for reminding me that as a consumer, I should not let myself be blinded by universality and omnipresence.



Gillette may be everywhere and claim to be the best I can get (I am a big fan of their Fusion razor blades, apart from when I have to to buy them, taking out a mortgage so to do), but for me, your Somersets Original Shaving Oil is an infinitely superior product.

Now I admit that I have not sampled any other shaving oils, so it might just be a generic category benefit, but boy do I get a close shave with you. And a fresh tingly feeling. Both of which I like.

Thank you for showing us how – in the absence of pots of cash to burn on the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry – to use packaging to communicate.  What a fantastic set of messages, all of which give me very clear reasons to buy.

I like you a lot, but I’m not 100% convinced that rowing and Henley-on-Thames – lovely as it is – are sufficiently compelling to hang a brand idea off.

Having said that, it makes a certain sense (as it’s where you’re from / rowers need to shave), no doubt plays well internationally (where potential confusion relating to Henley-on-Thames not being Somerset matters not a jot) and it gives you something slightly more lifestyle-like and aspirational than an image-bank sourced bloke standing in front of a mirror half-way through a great shave.

And finally thanks for being small, and as such, airport security friendly. Who wants to take a big can of foam in their hold luggage, let alone their hand luggage?

Thanks again




Dear Topman

Dear Topman,

Thank you for your bonus Jubilee early April Fool’s Day joke:


But hang on.

What’s this?

I’ve just looked on your website and this extraordinary item is actually for sale.



Well at least my summer fashion nightmare is finally over.

It’s perfect for Wimbledon, those pesky mid-summer weddings, my next school reunion and best of all that night out in Marbs with Arg, Kirk, Joey et al.


But what shoes?!

I have to confess that I was slightly disappointed that you have chosen to call it “Apple Green Skinny Shorts Suit”.

Might Topman Boysuit or Pastel Summer Playsuit have been a little catchier?

Thanks again


Dear Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,

Thank you for giving me a laugh as you inadvertently rebranded me as part of your good-in-theory-but-open-to-problems-in-practise “personalisation” initiative.


Now I don’t really feel like a “Mick” and I’m not sure any self-respecting “Mick” would have been ordering a decaf Frappuccino, but it was mildly entertaining and liberating to be “Mick” for the 15 or so ensuing minutes after my personalised cup was handed over.

Thanks Starbucks.


Dear The Guardian

Dear The Guardian,

Thank you for reassuring me that (ad-land) “creativity” is not dead with your interpretation of the 3 Little Pigs:


And pretty disturbing too.

Is the UK in 2012 really so disturbed, dark and aggressive?

I don’t believe it is, so thank you The Guardian, for choosing a fairytale rather than real news to dramatise your offering.

Thanks again


Dear McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes,

Dear McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes,

Thank you for being one of those biscuits that people like to eat in their own particular and unique style – in complete disregard of parental instructions “not to play with your food”.

The paradoxes of human behaviour – mine included – never cease to amaze me.

Who would have thought that biscuits (OK, officially you’re a tax efficient cake but we all know that really you’re a biscuit) could create such deeply entrenched rituals?

When I was growing up, I used to nibble all the way round, making sure that your internal orange “frisbee” remained intact, before carefully peeling it away from the sponge base and then trying to flake away the remaining chocolate. Resulting in a floppy gelatinous orange disc that I could showcase proudly to anyone nearby.

At the time it seemed like quite an achievement.

Brands try like mad to create “ritual”.

That’s because rituals increase emotional engagement and deepen the relationship between brand and consumer. Blah blah blah.

But you’re a biscuit – OK cake – for which I had my very own ritual – and that makes my relationship with you as deep as is ever likely to be the case between human and biscuit. Which is pretty amazing.

The thought of Marketing Directors pre-fixing “Personalised” to the already challenge brief of “creating (insert Personalised) ritual for the brand” makes me smile. So thanks for that.

And thanks for making the M6 yesterday afternoon slightly less arduous.

A nice touch.

Thanks again.