Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quote of the day - it doesn't always need to look black

If from an ironic source (the person, not the piece), all things considered, currently:

“Don't find fault, find a remedy. Anybody can complain.”

Henry Ford

News from the retail front

I have had of late to get a bit closer to the innermost workings of the retail world than is healthy.

And a few things have become clear: the shenanigans of their marketing would do Machiavelli proud, and the corporate structures are so rigid, and the level of fear of making a mistake so palpable so as to make the Russian military look like an anarchists' brainstorming session.

A few months ago we approached the manager of our local supermarket with a proposal to hold a little research on shoppers attitudes to packaging by using the RE:tie as the focus. It would help us get data, him get PR, and the store some 'we care about the future' kudos. Win-win-win.

He was well up for it. But... he needed to run it by head office. To OK a stand in the local carpark.

Several months and countless cross shuntings and requests for more and more info (Ans: 'Er, we'd have a table, and we'd ask if folk would see merit in second use ideas being put in pack designs. Maybe like the way Innocent did it, with a 'Yes/no' bin you pop bottles in. Bit of fun, really. Bound to get the local press covering it') from a bevvy of backside-concerned minions later, we got our answer.. from board level: No, best not.


So I wonder how many person hours in meetings this bit of genius required:

The Grocer - Tesco Extra takes bags under the counter

'Don't ask..don't tell'. Hey, it works in the military!

Talking Retail - Tesco Extra pushes plastic bags under the counter

MRW - Tesco introduces 'bag on demand' initiative

PRW - NEW - Tesco points scheme cuts bag use - This, however, adds up

Plugging away*

Clean technology 100

Don't know if it counts, but...'...don't try, don't get...' - finding uses for rubbish

Leading to:

A bit like another cable tie idea in the news today, but sadly not yet as Dragon Den-friendly. Though we'd like to think it also offers business, consumers... and planet certain benefits.

*Sorry, had to go first.

And why not..?

A wee bittie too much doom and gloom around. Time for a wee boost of +vity:)

Meet the CarrotMob

Forget negative campaigning, why not reward green businesses instead - Yay!

...with a group spending spree? - Oh, that's us out then:(

PLAYING THE PERSON - how not to serve the future

On a more than slightly Climate Optimistic blog (all sides need to be understood) I frequent this review was posted:

When I Am King

Which garnered this by way of slick rebuttal. By, no surprise, 'Anon':

'And Delingpole's qualification's for commenting on scientific matters are? He even decribes the programme presenter as a 'Doctor of Geology'. Thee is no such thing.'
I fear a green mist descended:

As it is so critical to some... er... one: Iain_Stewart

Holy heatwaves! He is not a Doctor of Geology, he is.. a Senior Lecturer instead.

This obviously undermines any credibility a subjective (if one-sided, sort of by definition) humourous critique might have on the value of this person's programme and how it may play with a non-scientific audience.

Sod the arguments pro and con... the critic got the main protagonist's title wrong!!!

I am a committed environmental campaigner, and subscribe to the notion of 'Probably Man-worsened negative climate change, so it's possibly best to find out what we can and then do what's practical and possible to deal with the potential consequences before it's too late.'

OK, it's not as snappy as 'Global warming' but seems to me a bit more accurate scientifically and may even serve to act as a better basis for helping the vast majority of the public to understand the issues, make their own minds up and, if so motivated, DO what they can to help self, others and future.

So I also passionately believe in the power of persuasion as a tool, through education, fact, logic, debate, sharing, understanding and empathy.

I DO NOT see any merit to the cause of encouraging environmentally positive behaviours though the mindset of 'I'm/we're right. If you disagree you're wrong. And it's our ball, pitch and everything in it, so nar-nee-na-na until we bludgeon you into seeing things our... 'correct' way'.

And this is typified by any, and I mean any eyebrow crank on dogma, and/or its various publicists' methods, getting slapped back with totally facile counter-argument. Pretty much top of this list - which never works and simply serves to undermine credibility still further - is to play the person rather than the ball in an irrelevant manner.

Dr. Stewart - scientist, and climate change programme maker: qualified, eligible and well capable of dishing out and taking science-related bouquets and brickbats

Mr. Delingpole - humourist writer and commentator on TV and how it relates to the public: eligible and well capable of dishing out and taking media writing-related bouquets and brickbats

Such as Roger Harrabin, the face of climate change to 60M UK citizens via our objective national news reporting broadcast medium - arts graduate yet (I may have his title a bit wrong, so sue me) environment analyst: questionably qualified, not really eligible and well capable of dishing out if not taking science-related bouquets and brickbats.

At least he is now joined by Dr. Stewart, but some might argue this hardly adds to the heft of the BBC's output on this critical issue, nor indeed the level of balance.

In their little airmiles-cranking bubble ('But... I flew to the Artic to do this piece to camera to raise awareness'!) it might all seem tickedy boo, but whatever a late-night BBC2 or Guardian piece might do for the already converted (though the level of slap being laid on in these major-lite media almost makes even me want to buy a Humvee) hardly serves when hung out to dry in media that do reach a slightly broader audience.

I know that the green-elite ('you don't get backstage at the concert like we do') 'Coven of Climate Concern' wishes the likes of the Daily Mail, Sun/Clarkson or Ch4 'Axis of Denial' did not exist, but they do. Live with it.

Then work around that fact... and their much bigger, more influential (I know they are deemed unworthy of votes in some quarters by never coming up with the 'right' result, but it's still a democracy... just) audiences.

People join you if they like the invitation; not if you threaten them if they don't.

Me, I'm now off to do my thing, make a few more fun things, and share what I'm up to to try make a bit of dough, feed the family and with luck make the future for them a bit better by being a good provider, slightly less selfish world citizen (I hope) and example (I need the audience ratings). - Sept 18 4:

Caan Do

Just watching James Caan, Dragon's Den entrepreneur, on the BBC News.

I do note that he has a book to sell, but he comes across as a rather charming bloke.

However, I do note major reference to a product he backed, called the 'Rapstrap', by another nice, lucky chap, Andrew Harsley. It is a cable tie variant. Using existing polyprop grade plastic and part-selling on eco-savings.

I think I need look into this. It's not like there is not a precedent.