Category Archives: Shopping

Dear M&S


Dear M&S Simply Food,

Thank you for sticking with it. You could have got bored. You could have been tempted to try to something new. But the memory structure. The art direction. The MUSIC. It’s brilliant.

Clothing – not so much.

But Food. Brilliant.

Thanks again



Dear BP / M&S Simply Food

BP M&S Simply Food

Dear BP / M&S Simply Food,

Thank you for spotting an opportunity in the gap left by the tobacco display ban – and for filling it both elegantly and with a pleasing dose of karma.

BP - Tobacco ban replacementCiggies replaced by pharmacy – karma in action…and all pleasingly displayed in a back-lit pill shaped lozenge. Nice.

And so much nicer than the roller-blind of death that appears elsewhere.

Tobacco BanAnd thank you to your member of staff at the Family Farm services on the A34 just south of Junction 9 of the M40 who, albeit somewhat bemused and not only because of the ungodly hour in the morning, allowed me to take a picture whilst she was processing my Nectar Card.

Thanks again


Dear Amazon Kindle

amazon kindle

Dear Amazon Kindle,

Thank you for giving me a right laugh with the recommendations you give me on my Kindle – a hilarious glitch in your otherwise pretty amazing algorthymic matrix.

When I flicked on last night, I actually laughed out loud, when confronted with this:

Yours Completely - Krista Lakes

Intrigued, I clicked to find out more:

Maids don’t ever get to go to the ball… do they?

Jace Connors:
Stretched thin from running a business and organizing a wedding, the last thing Jace needs is the world’s most eligible bachelorettes trying to sneak their way into his bed. When he meets Ella grooming the inn’s horses, though, she leaves him breathless. Jace knows that he can’t let her get away…

Ella McDaniels:
What starts as an almost-kiss in the barn ends up captivating Ella, even though she knows that the richly dressed Jace is out of her league. However, when he keeps showing up wherever she is, her attraction to him grows. And if she can outwit her wicked stepmother, she just might be able to dance with him at the wedding reception ball. There’s only one problem…

What if Jace is actually the groom?

Krista Lakes, if you’re reading, please don’t think that I’m laughing at you. No doubt there is strong market for the books that you write. And they are enjoyed by a great many people.

But Amazon, you made me laugh. Perhaps out of relief that even an organisation as slick as you can get it wrong sometimes. Phew.

You have done such a great job in the past with recommendations “inspired by my browsing history”, that when the first novel in Krista Lakes’ new series Billionaires and Brides pops up, my reaction is to wonder what the hell it is that I’ve been browsing for, and what books I have bought on my Kindle (perhaps unknown to me) to make you want to recommend her work to me.

Bill Bryson - The Road to Little Dribbling

All the books I buy are either about Innovation. Or are by Bill Bryson. Pretty much.

But the truth is that you’ve conditioned me to expect that you’re going make accurate recommendations. It goes with out say. It’s ingrained deeply into my expectation of you as a brand. So when you don’t quite manage it, it’s kind of funny.

Thanks again Amazon Kindle. For giving me a laugh, but also for helping me read more and read faster.


Dear Mulberry


Dear Mulberry,

Thank you for #MulberryMiracle – in my view you’re leagues ahead in the annual Xmas ad hullabaloo.

A good story told – or re-told with a dash of subversion and whole dollop of humour – can’t be beaten.

Thanks for not worrying about offending people, thank you for the cracker paper crowns and thank you for the line “smells amazing”.

New bags – like new trainers and new cars, and new shoes and new cricket equipment – but most importantly like new babies, really do smell amazing.

Thanks again


Dear Aerolatte

Aerolatte Logo

Dear Aerolatte,

Thank you for your “world-famous, award-winning, best-selling, original steam-free milk frother” – it’s making my new-for-February-waste-fewer-resources-i.e.-time-and-money-at-Costa initiative a deliciously satisfying synch.

AerolatteThank you for being a stand out example of kitchen-gadgetry.

I love kitchen gadgets because two things that I enjoy experiencing – genuine innovation (i.e. the solution to an unsatisfactorily met need) and design (mechanical, ergonomic and aesthetic) – so regularly come together in a highly pleasing fashion. ┬áJust take apple corers…

Apple Corer

apple corer 2 apple-slicer-corer

Of course, many kitchen gadgets fail to live up to their promise and are in the back of the cupboard before you can say “Yes chef” – but a quick inspiration-safari to a Kitchenware store before an ideation workshop never fails to deliver a couple of starter-for-10 ideas.

Thanks again Aerolatte – yummy and Costa-busting frothy decafs all round!



Dear Westjet


Dear Westjet,

Thank you for making me smile with your Christmas Miracle video.

OK, so some of the editing and voice-over are way too schmaltzy for me, and at over 5 mins the clip might be excessively long to maximise full viral potential, but the warm fuzzy feeling you’ve created helps me (and the 6m YouTubers who have seen it since launch 2 days ago) to get over that.

And whilst I’m on the topic of Xmas ads, 2013 has been a bumper crop. Some great, some not so good.

Personally, this ad doesn’t do it for me.

I do like the backing track and admire the connection with past John Lewis Christmas ads: Music style (acoustic covers of well-known tunes); Focus on the giver not the receiver and the climax to the product “reveal” (clock / scarf) at the end.

But it took me a while to “get it” – I think probably because it didn’t do enough to make me pay attention the first few times I saw it.

Lots of people, including my wife who described it as her “favourite advert EVER”, seem to love it (although on questioning, she didn’t get it at first either). So nice one John Lewis.

M&S: whevs. Although Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is certainly somewhat arresting. As is David Gandy, so my sofa (life) companion tells me.

Cadbury’s: I actively dislike this one. I know it’s supposed to be Joyful, but frenzied, manic and at times aggressive tearing off of wrapping paper on Christmas Day – as depicted here – fills me with total dread and I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that this is not a behaviour my children adopt in a fortnight’s time.

Tesco: Isn’t that basically what John Lewis did with Always a Woman a few years ago? Although they did it better.

But the one that has really caught my attention is the Sainsbury’s ad.

Technically it’s very similar to the Tesco ad in its home-videoy-ness. But it’s more humorous. It’s more real. And it’s more engaging.

But it’s that final scene when the Dad comes in through the door, returning from Afghanistan that really pulls on the heart-strings.

Mild blubbing – and a Sainsbury’s online order – ensued in our household.

Thanks again everyone and Happy Christmas.


Dear Smyths

Smyths Logo

Dear Smyths,

Thank you for breaking the mould and doing something different.

Toy advertising – of which I am not a fan in principle, but have seen a fair amount of recently thanks to Channel 5’s Milkshake – is so samey, so formulaic and let’s face it, so nauseating, that when you popped onto our screen on Saturday morning with something that was different, I actually watched for the entire 60 seconds.


My instinctive response to 99% of toy adverts is a straight ‘no’, thereby maintaining my idealised vision of myself and our children as not the weak-minded types that resort or succumb to pester-power (which of course is not the case, but it helps to pull the wool over one’s own eyes from time to time).

But because you did something different, because you didn’t try to win me over with the sickening glaze of pink sparkles, glitter and girls with bunches bleating “Oh yeah! in American accents that my daughter loves but I hate, you’re now in my consideration set.

Well, I say that. On account of this ad, I’ll be more than likely visit your website at some point in mid-December. Which I guess is, for you, a result.

Thanks again