SLEUTH

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

'not good'.



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

there either.



DRIVING AMBITION



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

November.



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

funeral perchance?



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: bhavna.mistry@haynet.com.



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