Archive | July 2009

Would you like a rectal with your staycation?

Can't find a holiday here...

Can't find a holiday here...

I hate the word staycation.

Holidays are meant to invoke feelings of excitement, passion, longing. Glamour if you are lucky (and that’s way before we get anywhere near bragging rights). 

The language surrounding your precious time off should amplify those sentiments, and not overtones of some kind of invasive medical procedure..

I digress.

For those of us choosing to holiday at home (or partake in a little staycation if we must), the British coast has some real hidden gems. But how does one unearth them?

Well, in conjunction with VisitBritain Scott Ramsay (travel writer, photographer and blogger extrarodinaire) is going to drive around the coast of mainland Britain, visit the ‘kiss me quick’ popular tourist traps, but also do his very best to take the a-roads…

He hopes to explore some remote spots, and unlock some of those gems for those looking for something more from a holiday at home…

Although we’re a tiny wee island, his tour will see him take right round virtually our entire coastline.

He’s also rather handily googlemapped his route, so people can not only follow his blog (a nice blend of photos, videos and wordage), but can immediately identify those gems close to them for a sneaky weekend away, as opposed to going the whole hog like him.

Not a bad way to spend a month. But for his sake, I do hope he’s a member of  Shell’s loyalty scheme so he’s getting his airmiles for his next break!

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is thinking of offering up his blogging services to fund his next vacation…

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Ready for another synthgasm?

What do you mean we've run out of hairspray?

What do you mean we've run out of hairspray?

La Roux.

Fell in love with their sound late last year.

Elly Jackson sings, and co-writer / producer Ben Langmaid adopts the Chris Lowe Pet Shop Boys-esque role of being the quiet man at the back.

This album serves up stunning synthy slices of delicious retro pop, delivered without apology. Forget eargasms, it’s all about the synthgasms this summer…

Keeping up the retro theme, the album (if you still buy physical CD’s as opposed to downloading) has the words to every song printed inside.  And don’t get me started on the hair.

Genius. Just buy it…

Iain Morrison is a synthgasm loving senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And loves the fact her Mum pounded the mean streets of Sunhill for years…

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Rodents get the Disney treatment

Disney films have been a little hit or miss over the past decade.  This one is set to clean up in my humble opinion…

If the trailer above doesn’t work, please either click on it to open in a new browser, or click here >>

Chuck in Bruckheimer, an amazing cast of voices (Nic Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, Tracy Morgan) British institution Bill Nighy and some furry animals, and what have we got?

G-Force…

This one looks like a corker. Seems to have good kid-ult crossover potential.  And Jaurez is a clear mag pin-up in the making.

And it’ll be great for pet stores. Rodent sales (sorry, they are all rodents to me), will go through the roof…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And a lover of Disney Classix.

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Now you can see the art…

one_and_other

A while back, I blogged about the 4th plinth in Trafalgar square, and the one&other art project.  (In case they are reading, I am still waiting on my call / email with my slot, but I digress).

Well, now you don’t need to head down to London to see what’s going on.

The canny blighters have only gone and installed a web cam pointing at the artistic ‘installations’. 

It’s still worth a visit to London though, you can’t beat seeing art first hand…

We’ve already had few memorable installations already (although the pre-opening hi-jack has probably been the stand-out thus far), and they are getting some really rather decent  press coverage.

Simply genius. See it here art lovers… 

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And thinks the art must be more watchable than Big Brother 10???

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Ryanair vs the free toilet brigade…

Toilets

When was the last time you paid to go to the toilet?

If you live in London (where there are 40% less public toilets than 1999), you might benefit from pubs, shops and department stores joining the mayors toilet campaign.

I mean, why maintain the cisterns from the public purse, when the private sector will let you use their fancy facilities?

Marvelous cost efficiency…

Meantime in the private sector, the Ryanair toilet debacle rages on.

In recent months Ryanair has (in my view), conducted a textbook PR campaign, drip-feeding the press stories on their new cost cutting plans.

Everything from charging to use toilets, passengers carrying their own bags to the plane, through to stripping out standard seating for bar stools to get up to 30% more people on board.

Whether or not you agree with the sentiment behind the stories, they have certainly kept Ryanair in the press, and generated a significant amount of free coverage.

But what impact does this have on their brand?

BrandRepublic recently commissioned some vox pops, that asked prospective travellers how they felt about charging passengers to use the toilet.

Responses (as you’d expect) range from, “its ridiculous” and “its horrific”, through to “I am not really bothered, they are no-frills, you get what you pay for”.

I don’t want to ramble on, but just a few things from me…

  1. Ryanair are a no-frills airline. You don’t expect free peanuts, wine, etc. If you have to pay to use most UK public conveniences, why should a toilet on board a plane be any different?
  2. Most flights are short haul, with plenty of opportunities in the airport to use free facilities. Given this, what’s the fuss about?  Go before you go!
  3. Like most other sectors, one brand tends to be bold, innovate, take risks. The others follow. How many other airlines will quietly adopt Ryanairs policies after a few months?

I can’t help but feel it’s a little too easy to knock Ryanair for this.

Ultimately, they are a no-frills airline; the business model has always relied on a totally different pricing structure in order to make / increase / maximise profits.

With the travel sector suffering across the board (and even BA reviewing their peanuts and wine policy), it’s going to be a tough year. 

But, I can’t help feeling that this won’t harm Ryanair significantly in the short / medium term.

Some people will never fly Ryanair as they simply don’t do low cost. Some will still go with whomever is cheapest, and others will base their decision on airport / ease of access to final destination.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. And given the amount of coffee I’ve had this morning, I am off to spend a penny…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is wondering if there will be free loo roll, or will that be 20p extra? 

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Reputation managment 2.0

pikeroonAre you a fat pikey bastard? Yes?

Then presumably, you shop at Primark (or Primani to the chattering classes that love a bargain).

Well, they are the latest brand to launch a staff investigation after several hapless employees posted some less than flattering comments about their beloved customers on Facebook.

Some nuggets included: fat, pikeys, and twats.

Primark will launch an investigation into the comments, but they are the latest brand to do so (Virgin, BA, Tesco, Waitrose to name but a few).

In this day and age, surely no right minded individual would post any negative work related comment on a social networking page? Knowing that once it’s up online, its there for the world to see, and could come back and haunt them at any point in the future…

Well, factor in minimum wage and less than amazing working conditions, and it goes some way into explaining why numerous brands suffer at the hands of frontline staff.

However, this latest incident yet again highlights the importance of social media guidelines for employees.

All staff (in brands big and small) need to be aware of the potential damage their harmless / bitter / outright slanderous comments on social media sites can do to their paymasters reputation.  And ultimately, it can cost jobs…

Primark have generally done well in the social space. Their non-official facebook fan page was widely heralded as a marketers wet dream, something they mined easily with a truly engaged audience.

But, how (if at all) have they / do they engage their staff?  Does company HQ actively engage, listen to, and respond to the frontline staffs gripes, aches and pains? Are they able to voice their concerns beyond the shop floor supervisor? Or, do they feel their only outlet to vent their rage, is a public forum…

Sweatshops aside, this presents the brand with a genuine opportunity. A timely staff engagement programme wouldn’t go amiss. A few t-shirts with some choice slogans from the staff might also help put a positive spin on this in the press.

It’s unlikely this’ll put off many customers from shopping with the brand. If they can get past the sweat shop production issues, it’s unlikely they’ll mind this little slur against their good name. And I’m sure ‘Fat pikey twat’ t-shirts would sell by the truckload.

After all, sticks and stones…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And would like to remind you all to be careful with those tweets / status updates!

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Wannabe artist? Well, now you can BE the art…

Do love a bit of modern art...

Do love a bit of modern art...

That fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square.

Doesn’t half kick off some mass debates (boom boom!), as to what we should be sticking up there…

Well, for a limited time only, people can apply to be ‘installed’  for a set period (a few hours), and will become the art. All thanks to the one and other project.

Successful wannabe artists will have their names picked name out of a digital-hat, and will get a few hours to stand on the plinth to do as they choose (so long as they don’t do anything ultra naughty / offensive etc).

A really cute little project that we can thank the Major of London, Sky Arts, Arts Council (England), and the National Gallery for.

And a truly brilliant ‘Kodak moment’ for passing tourists if someone sparky takes the plinth.

Well done chaps. And please, please, please…

PICK ME!

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And already has his plinth outfit planned if he is picked…

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