Despite the fact that there is a team of battle-hardened journos
ever on the look out for scurrilousnous in the industry, even Sleuth was
shocked to hear that that most stalwart of bodies, the BPMA, has invited
members to enlist themselves under the new heading of 'PVC Products', in
its publication Promotions News. What's going on? Is there a secret
society within the association, where shiny accessories, peaked caps and
harnesses caress the silky, pliant skin of the, ahem, members? Or the
heading a coded reference to the - nudge-nudge - 'inflatables' sector?
We deserve to know, but there again, we have been very, very bad, and we
wouldn't want to blow the issue out of all proportion.
Following the appearance of a seven-foot standee of Staines gangsta, Ali
G, in Sleuth two months ago (P&I, September), our spies tell us the very
man once earned his crust in promotional marketing. Well before he
played to drunken students on late night TV, Cambridge spotlighter Sacha
Baron Cohen apparently worked for Michael Bartman Marketing in Chelsea -
a little more in keeping with his Cambridge background than his Staines
affectations. Our source tells us that he was 'bad' as in bad meaning
Nudity, it appears, is all the rage. What better vehicle is there than
naked beefcake to promote a range of frozen organic vegetables, and
supermarket chain Iceland evidently agree. The meat and two veg in
question, ex Calvin Klein model Dominic, was hired to sport his and the
chain's frozen goods at Iceland's Fulham branch. 'It's great news that
the vegetables are all organic,' he shivered, 'but I wish I'd used fresh
rather than frozen.' Sleuth understands Dominic's assets suffered from
shrinkage, but trusts his buns remained hot and tasty.
Erstwhile UK compers, though undoubtedly talented, could learn a trick
or two from canny Californian David Phillips. He's taken early
retirement on the back of a rather nice little earner he stumbled across
in his local supermarket. The words that changed his life were 'earn
1,000 frequent flyer miles for every ten Universal Product Codes sent in
to Healthy Choice by 31st May.' With less than three weeks till the
closing date, Phillips bought up 12,560 cups of Healthy Choice chocolate
pudding at a cost of dollars 3,140. Realising he could not remove the
product codes in time, he donated all the puddings to local charities on
the condition that they peeled off the bar codes. He duly submitted all
12,150 by 31st May and had well over 1 million air miles posted to his
AAdvantage account in August. Even better - he was then able to claim
the entire pudding purchase as a charitable deduction, giving him a tax
saving of dollars 815.
We're a liberal bunch here at Sleuth, after all, some of our best
friends are thespians - unlike the irascible Tim Salthouse, director of
promo clothing company Tradewinds, who had a hairy moment on a recent
trip round the company's print facility. Spotting a quantity of fitted
black T-shirts with 'Changeling Rooms' written across them, he rushed
head-long to tear a strip off the illiterate account executive
responsible for the misdeed. Unknown to Salthouse, the T-shirts were not
for major client, BBC, but a bunch of fresh-faced luvvies giving it
their all at the Edinburgh Festival, whose theatrics mimicked the
home-style series title. The acting hopefuls also wore kilts for their
production, but Sleuth doesn't advise Tim to go sticking his oar in
We don't wish to scare you but Christmas is just around the corner. Our
friends at Prodir (Prodir, 01553 776607), who understand a thing or two
about seasonal obligations, not to mention pens, have kindly decided to
offer bottles of champagne to five lucky readers. To enter, just answer
the questions below, and send them on a postcard to the address above.
First five correct entries out of the hat win. Draw will be made on 28
1. Which charity is launching a Christmas tree push?
2. What platforms will Teletext be available on?
September's winners: Sarah Briggs, Tate Britain; Martin Sheehan, Great
Ormond St; Alison Attard, Clarke Hooper Momentum; F Gawthorp, MIM UK;
Bal Chauhan, Carat.
October's winners: Richard Nee, Raw Marketing; Helen Crome, DS Print and
Redesign; Suzette Williams, Bridgend CBC; MJ Powell, Hays DX; Zahid
Malik, Imperial College
AND FINALLY ...
One marketer certainly lived up to his company's name at a recent
conference in London. Peter Scott, director of Brave, Billington
Cartmell's digital division, came technologically unstuck. Not only did
he have the wrong presentation on his laptop, but pressing manfully on,
he treated the 250-strong audience what they thought was a preview of
the new Hula Hoops packaging, as to Scott's horror, the famous red bags
turned blue on the screen. Our source says Scott turned a vivid shade of
crimson and left quickly to 'attend a black tie function' - his own
Have you any interesting images or scurrilous stories that you think
Sleuth would like to share with fellow promotional marketers? If so,
send them to Promotions & Incentives, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6
7JP, or e-mail: email@example.com.