Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dear essential Waitrose

essential WaitroseDear essential Waitrose,

Thank you for your hilarious take on the meaning of the word essential with your Sea Salt & Kelp shower gel.

Waitrose Essentials - Sea Salt & Kelp Shower Gel

The idea that it might be vitally important and absolutely necessary (as per the dictionary definition of essential) for any shower taker to have some Sea Salt & Kelp gel in there with them is absurd, bordering on the ridiculous…but very funny.

Toby Young - CapitalAnd thank you for reminding of the BBC’s excellent mini-series Capital and in particular the scene in which Toby Young’s banker character reels off a list of items to describe how his predicted £1m bonus “doesn’t go very far these days” (“…My car, your car, the family car, the school fees, the tennis lessons, the gardeners for here and in the country…” – the list goes on) to which his vile wife snaps “And tell me which one of those is not an absolute essential?!”.

Thanks again – I look forward to spotting further “essentials” from your range and having a laugh…




Dear The British Army

British Army


Dear The British Army,

Thank you for making me ponder the difference between two of marketing’s most fundamental levers with your latest Step Up ad.


  • Brand recruitment (aka penetration)
  • vs.
  • Brand retention (aka loyalty)

You see I’m not sure whether the ad – which on the face of it is designed to recruit new soldiers – actually works harder as a means to retain soldiers.

Which may be no bad thing of course, as nor am I sure whether or not, if my theory about the ad is right, you’re doing this on purpose.

OK, let me expand.

It’s a smart insight to identify that a uniquely special relationship exists between a soldier and their boots. I can attest from personal experience* that it does.

And this piece of insightful understanding leads to a neat creative idea that brings alive the rich variety and benefits of life in the British Army…as shown from the perspective of the boot in the ad…and particularly when linked to the motivating Step Up call-to-action.

But here’s the thing.

Until you’ve been a soldier, you don’t have that special relationship.

british army boots

As a potential army recruit, boots are just boots. There’s no meaning there.

As a current soldier, you’ve spent hours and hours polishing them. They’ve been your constant companion on your adventures across the globe. They’ve been through thick and thin, swamp and dessert. They’ve probably been in the presence of the Queen – in all their shining glory. Your most vital bit of kit. You’ve been instructed to love, cherish and care for them. And you do.

Which is why I think this ad does a great job for retention and not such a great job for recruitment. The core emotional hook sinks deep into current soldiers, but skims by potential recruits.

Having said all that, retention might be your intent anyway. You’ve trained them up at considerable expense after all. And it’s well documented that employees feel a disproportionate glow when they see their brand being advertised, demonstrating that their company and by extension they, are doing well.

How Brands Grow Byron Sharp


Byron Sharp has caused a veritable marketing storm with his book “How brands grow” – the central thesis of which is that brands should forget about loyalty and go all out after penetration – and it makes a fair amount of sense given the evidence he presents.

So according to Byron’s view of the world and if my theory about the ad connecting with existing soldiers rather than new recruits is correct and the possibility that you might be doing this on purpose, then you, The British Army, have got yourselves into a royal regimental mess here.


Thanks again


(*As an aside, I developed a very strong bond with my boots despite once being told by an over-zealous Sargent Major (aren’t they all?) that I was a liar on account that I hadn’t polished them – which in fact I had, just not rigourously enough to be to his liking)

Dear VW Commercial Vehicles

Dear VW Commercial Vehicles,

Thank you for understanding, being proud of, playing back and celebrating the deep connection that can exist between man and vehicle…or in your case, man and van:

To some, this might seem trivial (as far as they’re concerned, a van is a functional item that takes you and some of your stuff from A-B), but for those of us that have experienced you, there’s something else.

It’s hard to pin down, but as a former owner of a VW Campervan, I really do feel the love.

Perhaps it’s because you’re reliable, faithful, consistent and loyal. Like a dog in fact, you’re a man’s best friend.

And thank you for acting as a Reason to Believe for van drivers and tradesmen up and down the country. I trust VW drivers. I’ll get a good job at a fair price from a VW driver. A cowboy wouldn’t drive a VW.

When the day comes that I need to buy a van, you are the only option.



2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,700 times in 2010. That’s about 21 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 98 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 248 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 20mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 13th with 316 views. The most popular post that day was Dear Virgin Atlantic.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,, one.akzonobel.intra, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for daily mail logo, coca cola, coca cola logo, nurofen, and x factor logo.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Dear Virgin Atlantic November 2010


Dear Coca-Cola September 2010


Dear Kronenbourg 1664 November 2010


Dear McCain September 2010


Dear M&S August 2010
1 comment

Dear Exactitudes

Dear Exactitudes,

Thank you for being totally fascinating.

I know you’re not really a brand but as marketing guru Philip Kotler, or perhaps someone else, said, “If you’re not segmenting, you’re not marketing”.

Take a few Friday minutes and check it out:


PS – Make sure you have the volume on.