authoritative, wise, and highly influential pronouncements

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Emotionally charged Britain ‘just wants recession to come back’

In Business on January 28, 2010 at 09:15

A nostalgic and visibly emotional Great Britain was last night coming to terms with the sudden and devastating departure of long time partner, the recession.

Friends and relatives spent the night comforting the British Isles as she wept openly into a collection of snotty hankies, stuffed her face with chocolates and watched Bridget Jones’s Diary on DVD.

"Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

“I just miss him so goddamn much,” said a tearful Great Britain last night, sitting on the sofa with a duvet and a huge box of tissues.

“The recession just left without much of an explanation. Said something about ‘growth’, then just walked out. Well if he wants me to grow as a person – even by as little as 0.1% – I can do that…I just want him to come back.”

“It’s dreadful news,” said close friend the United States of America. “Britain and the recession used to be inseparable. I mean, sure, we all knew that he was bad for her, but you know how it is…none of us really wanted to be the one to say.”

During the course of their stormy two-year relationship, it is reported that the recession stole considerable amounts of money from Great Britain, and even contributed to her losing her job.

“We never seemed to have any money,” Great Britain sobbed, “but what we did have we got by on. My fondest memory is of sitting in the dark and cold with the recession with a tin of cold spaghetti hoops. I really miss those days.”

“What a bastard,” said Spain.

France added: “Look, I don’t even particularly like Britain – I just live next door. But when I heard that the recession had packed his bags, I had to come over and take a look. Britain’s face is a picture!”

Clock change sparks most unproductive week of the…oh, what’s the point?

In Business, News on October 27, 2009 at 08:31

According to new research, this will be the most unproductive week of the year, as putting the clocks back makes everybody slump into the…..oh what’s the point? You know as well as us that this is a terrible article, badly researched and poorly written and we might as well just give up now.

Sigh. Okay then. we’ll keep going. But we know that nobody will read it.

SAD

We would have found a better picture, but to be honest, we couldn't be bothered.

Anyway, it says here that researchers have found that productivity will drop by 50% this week as staff struggle to come to terms with the dark nights closing in.

Oh, great, THANKS A LOT for that ‘researchers’. Not only do we feel as if we want to stick our heads in a gas oven as it is, apparently because we’re not man enough to handle the clocks going back, but now you’re also strongly implying that there’s a distinct possibility that we might lose our jobs because of it as well? That’s just fantastic.

Ahem. Moving on, apparently more than one in ten admitted that last year’s slump had been so bad that they were spoken to by their boss about it. And one in twelve said their seasonal blues had been so severe in previous years that they had called in sick.

True, true. What’s the point of it all? Everything just seems so meaningless, so dark, so very, very empty. You know that feeling when you wake up in the dark and get home in the dark?  It’s SO depressing.  You never get to see daylight except for a 15 minute window at lunchtime when you nip out to get a sandwich, or at weekends when it rains. In the end you just find yourself clawing at the window and shielding yourself from the light.

According to leading expert in the field, Dr. Theodore Hendon: “Sufferers of this condition should take comfort from the fact that they are not alone. Seasonal Disaffective Disorder (SAD) is extremely common and is a recognised medical condition. The most important thing for sufferers is that they should not hibernate, and that they should always dedicate some time each day to going outside into the sunlight.”

Wait…what’s that he said? Hibernate? Why didn’t we think of that sooner? We make it 6 months until Spring – see you suckers in April, we’re off to build a little fort in our bedroom.

Junk mail industry grinds to a halt as Royal Mail strike

In Business, News on October 22, 2009 at 14:33
Junk mail: the lifeblood of British society

Junk mail: the lifeblood of British society

The first postal strike in two years has threatened to deal a crippling blow to distributors of flyers, leaflets, fast-food menus and other junk mail you would normally expect to find clogging up your mail box, according to industry experts.  The strike began last night at 4am, and is expected to hit the junk mail industry with such ferocity that nearly 1,000 junk mailers will be forced out of work by the month’s end, with the prospect of further strike action to come next week.

The stike action, undertaken by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in reaction to the lack of implementation of the final phase of the 2007 Pay and Modernisation Agreement, and sees two 24-hour strikes as the first act of defiance on the part of workers who feel that they have been harshly treated.

Some, however, have argued that the consequences of the strike are much more far-reaching.  Luigi Amore, owner and proprietor of ‘Luigi’s Pizza Emporium,’ East Chiswick, explains: “Last week I printed out a load of direct mail leaflets to advertise our special two-for-one offer this Thursday and Friday, ending today.  This is bloody typical – it’s just a waste of money.  Nobody ever thinks of the little guy, trying to spam disinterested customers with low-value, high-carb, plastic-tasting fast food alternatives.”

“This is the second strike in two years,” sad shadow business secretary Kenneth Clarke.  “It’s driving all the business away against a background where they were losing business already.  Plus, I’ve got literally no idea how much it would cost me to upgrade to Virgin Media, where I can get a kebab tonight, or for that matter, how much money I owe to British Gas.  I miss the post SO much.”

Not everyone, it appears, shares Mr. Clarke’s enthusiasm for Royal Mail, however.  Having asked a random sample of businesses if they felt the Royal Mail strike was harmful for their business, responses included: “There’s been a mail strike?”, “What’s a letter?” and “I don’t even know what Royal Mail is.  Is it a bit like Google Wave?”

Colin Henderson, Managing Director of a big, important company in the City, said: “To be honest, most people here just use e-mail.  E-mail or carrier pigeons.  Either that, or they rub their temples really hard and try to use telepathy.  Anything, in fact to try and avoid using Royal Mail which is, let’s face it, pretty dire.”

450 year-old painting is world’s first ever advert for Tag Heuer

In Business, Culture on October 20, 2009 at 08:24
branding at its most subtle

Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence: the master of subtle branding

Advertising and marketing experts are today celebrating finding what they think to be the world’s oldest Tag Heuer advert after uncovering a 450 year-old painting of a man sporting what appears to be a very early incarnation of one of the brand’s watches.

The painting has been in the Science Museum’s collection for 33 years after being acquired from a private donor, and has only just seen light of day. Art experts advised after a thorough examination that the painting depicts Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, holding a golden timepiece, bearing a discreet Tag Heuer logo.

Marketing experts believe the picture, painted by renaissance master Maso da San Friano around, might be one of the very first examples of third party endorsement on record.  Professor Paul McNichols, a noted academic in the field of advertising and marketing said: “I believe this represents a significant breakthrough in terms of the history of advertising. Look at the Duke’s stance in the picture – it’s laid back, relaxed, carefree, and yet somehow all the while drawing attention to the product,” enthused McNichols.

“These are text book traits of an expert model even on modern day advertising photoshoots. It’s just a pity that he was wearing a woman’s blouse, which, to be fair, ruins the whole effect completely.”  McNichols went on to explain that the advert would most likely have been hung in prominent places in villages, the Royal Court or huts that passed as primitive motorway service stations, where passers by would stop in their horse and cart for a bowl of gruel and a mug of ale.

“The branding in the painting is extremely subtle – you may not even be able to notice it unless  you really squint, but real conieusseurs of the time would be able to instantly tell that the watch was a Tag Heuer.  Also, it probably helped that it was probably only one of three watches in existence, so you really have to question why they bothered advertising it at all, but that’s a different matter.”

A spokesperson for Tag Heuer said the company was delighted with the find. “Cosimo was a great patron of science and technology, or so we understand and so we are pleased that he was chosen to pioneer our very first marketing campaign. I suppose it would have been nice if they could have got the strapline in the painting somewhere, but then I suppose you can’t have everything.”

Marks & Spencer announces ‘It’s a Knockout’ style competition to decide new chief executive

In Business on October 13, 2009 at 15:30

The ongoing succession saga at Marks & Spencer took another twist today with the news that the high street retail chain has announced a day of It’s a Knockout style endurance contests to decide the identity of Sir Stuart Rose’s successor.

Although insiders had initially confidently predicted that the matter would be resolved by high-level executive presentations from leading candidates, in a manner dubbed ‘M&S has got talent’ it is thought that Sir Stuart reconsidered his stance after watching old episodes of the wacky sports-based contest on YouTube, and decided to widen the net once more.

Finance director Ian Dyson, and head of food John Dixon battle it out for the M&S top job

Finance director Ian Dyson, and head of food John Dixon battle it out for the M&S top job

Rose’s spell as executive chairman of Marks & Spencer is expected to end next year, leaving the chain on the look-out for a new chairman and chief executive.  Although investors were said to favour an external, experienced appointment Rose feels that the It’s a Knockout style will lend itself ideally to finding the perfect candidate.

“We obviously want to find somebody who has a certain basic level of intelligence, but let’s be honest, that could be anybody, and interviewing them is just BORING.  No, what we need is something much more lively, that the whole family can enjoy.”

During the search for Sir Stuart’s successor, candidates will be asked to undergo a series of challenges, including carrying buckets of water over greasy poles and rolling large logs to fill up a receptacle, while wearing a variety of outlandish costumes.

Over the course of the competition, which will be refereed by former football referee Keith Hackett, and commentated on by Stuart Hall, interviewees will be permitted to squirt other candidates with a water cannon and throw custard pies to impede their progress.  Candidates will receive points according to their progress within the competition, with the overall winner receiving an It’s a Knockout trophy, and a job to replace Sir Stuart.

If successful, the new format could prove the basis for a new means of selection for future captains of industry, with even Gordon Brown showing an interest in the random hiring technique.  “Let’s face it,” said the Prime Minister, “after I get turfed out, then the only realistic way of getting anyone to take over the Labour leadership will be some sort of raffle, so this seems like as good a way as any.”