Friday, December 03, 2010

Polishing 'Things Unduly Receiving Dominant Support'

I used (and still do, a bit) work in ad/marketing.

And nothing was surer than night followed day than when a new broom swept into a client's marketing department, they'd just have to make their mark.

Sort of a territorial marking thing.

And nothing made us happier at the agency, because a) it was more money, and b) having lived with marketing stuff more intimately, for longer, we were bored with the 'same old, same old', too.

That the consumer was probably fine with it, and would be for years, really didn't come in to it.

So it's kind of interesting that, when opportunity to do so much more knocks, the focus of gazing still seems to be pretty much at the collective navel.

Of course, I now have extra, vested interests in thinking beyond the box, about the box and how the box can be reused...

'In a consumer-centric world governed mostly by a desire to get an end benefit, while a new look may serve those within an organisation more, a desire that actually adds value… to the purchaser… is more likely to drive extra sales.

Boosting recyclability is of course great, but creating reuse keeps the brand in the home, and heart… not out via the bin. Much as that may tick a tonnage box.'

Thursday, December 02, 2010


A great lead kindly provided by Junkeeter Anita of Writing Services:


WHEN: Entry D/L Jan 22 2011
WHAT: From their blurb:

This competition is aimed at creatives and students of all ages who are resident in the UK. Using Priplak polypropylene you are asked to create a product, an innovative packaging solution or a promotional incentive. Part of the brief is to think about re-usability, durability, multi-usage and multi-functional.

The designs may be an innovative solution to an existing product or common everyday item, but will be judged on creativity, originality, and functionality, cost effectiveness and use of the material.


There will be three categories: My Plastic ‘Packaging’ Idea, My Plastic ‘Product’ Idea and My Plastic ‘Incentive/Promotional’ Idea. First prize for each category is £500 cash and the overall winner will receive an additional £500. Shortlisted finalists will get showcased at an exhibition in May in front of potential clients. In addition, the organisers will be scanning all entries looking for potential opportunities for products or incentives to be developed to market on a royalty arrangement basis.

HOW MUCH: My fave... no mention of money!
COMMENTS: Possibly somewhat restricted by having to focus on reuse (and sussing out the plastic specified in the brief), we will for sure be having a go here. But if you do enter via us telling you... and win... make sure to give us a mention at least:)


That's the problem with standards.

Allow more than one, and you often end up with none.

And nothing, but nothing, undercuts the value of good work than having a compromised messenger for critical messages, especially one as grotesque as this:

It's as story from, it's fair to say, a sceptical site, but the ongoing indulgence of representatives such as John Prescott, in his joke role, simply perpetuates the own goals the hypocritical involvement in the name of green this involves.

Telling it like it... well, some want 'it' to be

It's no secret I hold our media estate in low esteem.

Especially on matters of science at the best of times, but even more so when agendas then get bolted on top of near zero appreciation of facts, what is know, or what is not, to support prejudices.

This highlights the point:

Two diametrically opposing news media; two diametrically opposing ways at looking at things.

It looks like a debate is brewing that may be worth the follow.

I have to agree that I'd rely on the Daily Mail for very little, but it does have its uses.

The Guardian is more credible, but can also be prone to seeing things through its own prism.

And the Met Office's record is not one I would hang my hat on to justify a story.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An important day for RE:tie

Karma is a funny thing.

With the 'brimming with vindication' consumer market research burning a hole in my filing cabinet, yesterday was supposed to be the day of a big meeting with a PR whiz to get the media, at least (hopefully followed by consumers, groups and government) to sit up and take note of RE:tie as a green, disability PR, CSR and sales dream come true.

Sadly, snow stopped (well, postponed, possibly until next year) play.

Suitably snookered, I was licking my wounds when I happened across this:

Bearing in mind that equal to RE:tie's 'green' cred is its contribution to enablement, this was not unfortuitous.

Of course I have weighed in:

'Retailers risk repelling some of their wealthiest customers with excessive and poorly-designed packaging which older people find difficult to open or use...


...Nearly half of more than 2,000 people questioned said they are sometimes unable to take lids or caps off products such as plastic milk bottles or jars because of the packaging

As one with more than a passing interest in PR & marketing, what surprises me is how resistant many brands are to initiatives designed not only to boost their CSR, but which may also confer more than a slight USP/sales advantage too, which one has to presume is the holy grail.

With luck it is but a matter of time before design initiatives such as or get noticed, embraced and appreciated as much by those marketing whizzes (and their bosses forever on the TV claiming to be in support of 'innovation') as much as they may be by consumers.

I have also contacted the professional bodies cited, and downloaded a useful research aid:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two heads...

Sort of a meeting of minds.

And when they click, synergy is always good.

Yesterday I was pleased and honoured to play host at Junkk Towers to Anne of like-minded 'doing' site

She had come to 'kick our tyres' so to speak, but in the course of a few very enjoyable hours we also explored some interesting areas of opportunity and mutual benefit.

Just how I like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IDEA - Abandon hope...

... all ye who enter here!

Suitably apocalyptic? Good.

Because, earlier today, I was.

The route from here to my Mum's home (where I visit twice daily) is about 10 mile, each way.

It's almost all a stretch of dual carriageway between Ross on Wye and Monmouth, along the A449/40.

On a good day, 10 mins, door-to-door.

On a bad day.... best to be thinking in terms of nifty beard styles.

No dual carriageway or motorway is any different. Great when they work, but you're stuffed when they don't.

And the worst part is that once you're in, there is no way out.

Which got me to pondering.

With all the technology that exists today, from hardware such as Highway Agency gantries to TrafficMaster, and immediate on-site assessments from the police to drivers with Bluetooth mobiles, surely there has to be a way to identify the problems quickly and accurately, and inform others upstream usefully and reliably.

This stretch is a prime example. There is nearly zero alternative route (trust me, I did a tour of Herefordshire trying), so the most logical thing is, surely, to position just two warning signs, one Southbound at Ross and one Northbound at Monmouth, that basically tells you that section of the route is stuffed (for how long in terms of miles and duration until resolved optional extras). I can't see how this would cost too much, and it would save so much.

OK, there will be the vast stream of traffic pouring in that will divert, or stop, or go back, but surely that is better than creating a several mile backing up car park with motors idling?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Light fantastic

If it's too good to be true... rush in and worry later!

I am sure there is a downside, but just got back from FOCUS DIY with a stash of Edison screw and bayonet low energy bulbs for... 29p/ea. O, and 3 for 2, too.

I presume they will actually work, but really...

Blowing the horn for reuse

I must confess that the Vuvuzela seemed to consume a lot of plastic.

Especially in this country, where most enjoyed a limited lifespan.

Anyway, it is nice that the spirit of reuse has inspired some in the home of the Vuvuzela.

Telegraph - Leftover vuvuzelas to be reinvented as earrings

I have to say that the winning entry selected has confirmed my views on most judges.

At first I thought folk would need pretty tough lobes to swing a couple of these fellas off 'em, but apparently the notion is to saw slices along the length. Hmn.

All for thinking laterally, and no problem with a bit of extra DIY, but... really?

Purely subjective, but I would have given more credit to some of the other, and often simpler ideas.

But at least those imaginations are out there, and working furiously, worldwide.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

If you do one thing today...

Brilliant concept, totally appropriate for an outstanding cause.

While the marketing sense of using 'celebs' is clear, I would have preferred more of the faces to be featured to be those more relevant and in need of further exposure to those they have served.

Still worth 'buying' over and over to succeed.

I was going to apologise for this being a bit 'off eco' but, on reflection, other than server consequences, etc, maybe it's even 'greener' than more 'showy' methods.

Of course, get that poppy too, but only to wear at the right time for the right reasons.

Dad, what you and others did and still do for me and our future will never be forgotten.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

REPAIR - A problem halved..

I wanna tell you a story...

A few years back, we had a shower unit installed in the master bedroom.

Recently, we had rain in the lounge below.

As luck would have it, we had taken out one of those British Gas insurances on all sorts, including, we thought, plumbing.

As it turns out, luck was against us... the wrong kind of plumbing.

A man came, saw, and went away. We'd run the shower, he looked, nothing happened, and away he went.

Thing is, it started raining again.

This time, I went into full Sherlock mode and, armed with a camera, 'observed' the missus at her toilette. Racy. But, more critically, the blooming waste pipe was dripping a storm! That... was covered. How had they missed it before?

So I got them back.

Blow me down... nothing again.

Then I had a brainwave.

I recalled a story about a lady who said her telephone didn't work when it rained. Several engineer visits later, no sign of any problem.

Then, as luck would have it, one call-out day, the engineer meets her in the driveway on a rainy day. Shaking out her brolly, as they enter the hall she hangs it up to dry... on the telecom wire, just enough to pull the connection apart.

So I thought laterally, and donned a pair of Speedos and climbed in to shower while the engineer surveyed beneath. Sure enough... a leak.

What was happening was the weight of the person on the shower tray was dropping it enough to create a gap the older sealant couldn't accommodate.

Sorted, but sad part is... that aspect is not covered by the insurance.

Plus seeing off a young man in my bathrobe has done my reputation locally no good at all.

Monday, November 01, 2010

PROF'S POSER - Tow or trail?

Here's a fun one.

On my daily jaunt to visit my Mum, I see quite a few tourist RV's plying the highways.

Some often have a little shuttle bug (usually a Smart) hanging off the back.

Very sensible to simply nose around the latest venue without a monster truck.

T'oher day I overtook two such behemoths, only one was connected to its baby by a tow bar, and the other had it on a trailer which was in turn hooked up to the Mother ship.

Which set me to pondering which would be better.

The latter obviously reduces wear and tear on the towee, especially tyres, but will impose a load on the tower rear.

The former might add more friction (4 wheels vs. 2) but maybe less load (weight of trailer + any down forces).

Not a clue. But keen to find out.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

PROF'S POSER - Tap or...?

Nope, not about bottled water.

The other day I was cooking lunch for the boys and needed to clean the pan, which was coated in fat from the last fry-up.

Invested one kitchen towel in scooping the solids out and to the pin.

Then I needed to address the remains. A dob of Fairy Liquid and then I reached for the hot tap.

Now, hold on.

To get the water I needed, I say a minimum 'run' of about 1min. That's a lot of water down the drain anyway. And then the amount of hot water now left to cool in the pipes between boiler and tap.

Vs.... popping 1/2 a litre in the kettle. 250ml to cleana dn the rest to rinse.

I opted for the kettle. But I wonder is the 'leccy vs. gas source makes a difference.

CYCLING - Uni-lateral dismemberment?

Just had to share this.

In Hereford the other day.

That now lonely wheel was fully padlocked.

Ironically, to the bike rack of the local council offices... under the security camera.

Friday, October 29, 2010

COMPETITION - Sustainability Now Social Media Awards


WHEN: Deadline Friday 5th November
WHAT: Sustainability Now Social Media Awards
WHAT... MORE?: Their blurb:

The Sustainability Now Social Media Awards will highlight the very best social media focusing on the creation and sustainability of a green built environment. We’re looking to highlight the most engaging, informative, innovative or simply entertaining sustainability based social media, wherever it may be found.

The theme of the awards is sustainability, but this doesn’t mean it has to be the main focus of these social media efforts; it could be a recurring element among many different discussion areas, or a single tweet, an individual blog post, or the primary subject matter.

The categories:

We have seven categories available for the awards this year. These are open to individuals as well as branded company accounts. Entries and nominations for the Awards close on Friday 5th November.

Nominate yourself or your company in 350 words or less for any of the following categories

Best social media community group
Best Tweeter
Best Blogger
Best brand social media use
Best social media individual

HOW MUCH: Don't see a fee, so 'Weeeeeee!'
COMMENTS: Now, who do we know worthy...:)

Ok, so your arteries are still clogged...

And the salt is seizing up your heart.

But this works (a bit better) environmentally:

Have to love that first word!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Actually, it's a competition to intro a new website.

And it's one in our 'hood - Herefordshire & surrounds.

Not sure how well populated it is, as a lot of folk (including are not included who could/should be), so it's also an opportunity to bring 'em up to speed.

Tell 'em sent you. Maybe they'll realise we're here... and have been for a while.

And here to help:)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Number Crunching

Sometimes things make you think.

And sometimes folk make you think you need to think more.

A few weeks ago, in my local paper, I saw the headline 'Well done for recycling 25 jumbo jets off waste', and was frankly, impressed.

It was a letter to the county's public by the Environment Cabinet member, celebrating the 5,000th tonne of waste collected for the EnviroSort facility.

Certainly, other than that sidelined here for reuse, our household has 'done it's bit' with the new wheelies.

But then I read a follow-up letter the next week, pointing out that it worked out at 0.6kg per week per person in the county.

Further, the free paper this message was in, is a weekly 0.15kg. Made me think twice before getting too impressed too quickly. Better than nothing, but perhaps a ways to go?

But just in case, I'll also await next week to see if there is more to the way the numbers get crunched than meets the eye.

PR COVERAGE - Little acorns

Did a little series of talks t'other week for local Cub & Scout groups.

Nice to be appreciated.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Sometimes you have to make a stand

Hated to have to do it, but just had to write to the 10:10 campaign.

Dear Sirs,

Just seen the new 'awareness' promo.*

We used to support your mission, but as now revealed as another over-funded activist group who seems to confuse awareness with persuasion, this is now withdrawn. This had to have been approved at the top, so the rot is too high to expect any change of attitude, much less grasp of media message reality.

And we will be advising our audience of this fact.

Unlike some, we leave what they do, or not, up to them. No pressure. No judgement.

This has set the cause of sensible dialogue back a long way, just so some more bandwagon-jumping luvvies can have another 15 minutes in the limelight at the expense of hard slog, pragmatism and a belief that the public can be persuaded as to the value of effective and efficient lifestyle choices without nanny, threat, guilt or mockery.

Especially from a 'we know what's best for you' 'elite'.

Yours faithfully,

I can only hope it was meant as satire or irony, but sadly if that was the intent it was way wide of the mark. The sorriest example of messed up messaging from self-elected, pedestal claiming dumb messengers yet. It's complex issue, guys, and fine lines need to be walked. Patronising is bad enough, but failing to connect with the audience is plain unprofessional.

*Also had to chip in, a bit less formally, here:

Curtis made dive-bombers didn't they?

Certainly made a mess, but were at least designed to hit the right target.

Philip & Tracey seem more collateral damage in a totally misplaced campaign designed to make smug gits called... ahem... Jemima (really? was the Notting Hill author just going for maximum irony?) feel secure in the knowledge that their sweet teacher is actually a lying psycho who will brook nothing but fealty... or else. Even without the Scanners homage, any educator creating a 'us' vs. 'you' scenario in this manner should be transferred to the canteen to make Turkey Twizzlers.

No pressure... or we'll kill you. Sweet. Plus I love the new voting idea. Who needs a secret ballot when we can simply see who believes what... and kill you. At least the movie seems to feel that's OK so long as it is a majority view. Is that borne out, Mr. Curtis? Maybe we could ask the Science Museum? I recall they delivered a less than satisfactory result to Mr. Ed 'settled science, blank slate' Miliband in return for his multi-million £ efforts. Money perhaos better directed to, I don't know, DOING tangible stuff as opposed to getting a pat on the back in a SoHo bar.

Sadly, this latest bit of celeb indulgence will simply further set back sensible environmental dialogue, so some luvvies can all have a back-slap at an obscure awards show in Colorado that, just this once, their entourage will have to attend.

Dire, daft and damaging. Nice one. Ta very much.

I am now a lot more worried about assaults on freedom of thought and speech by unelected 'we know what's good for you' groups with waaay too much control over the media than I am by any positive messages of sensible mitigation.

The only hope is that it was a misplaced attempt at a caution on the damaging effects of dogma, but as noted, that's a target missed by a mile. 0/10. #fail


Had a few folk ''explain" to me that this is, as I alluded above, a bunch of lite greens telling dark greens to chill.

If so, I support the strategy, but still can't get behind the creative concept, which seems way too concerned with the shock value of 'awareness', which is dead fun & sexy 'n all, but sadly rarely as effective as patient, hard, slog.

Also not sure it getting yanked quite so soon seems part of the plan, unless it went a bit more viral than intended.

Addendum 2

It would appear that it was not, as I was told by ardent supporters, a complex spoof, and has, for now, been taken down. A bit late. With poor grace. Few were concerned 'it was not funny'. Most were concerned it suggested mindset that was hardly helpful to proactive persuasion.

Interestingly, if with irony, and little surprise, discussion of this seems to have either been allowed for those who toe the line per the compliant Jemima, or simply closed down. In some places (see thread end). Animal Farm advances, as certain ex-employees of certain media organisations foretold.

Addendum 3

Much of what concerns was summarised to me by a late, brief comment on the Graun article (which I did take to task):

You lot need to lighten up

(I think there was something further irony free about 'we British', rather ignoring near all appalled commenters, by a factor of about 100:1, were indeed from our fair isles)

In that short sentence, this person set up a superior, false majority tribal grouping (in their own minds at least), with a god-given right to instruct others how to think and behave.

As I replied, in context of this story... 'Or... what?'

Now wishing I'd added the sweet further invitation ' pressure' to that.

I see this term becoming rather potent in this regard, if used effectively.

As an ex-Civ Eng/ad man, I am now a passionate, if pragmatic enviro-campaigner, concerned more with proactive DOING and reward-based, end-benefit-driven inspiration by high enviROI example over £/$-squandering, predominantly negative guilt, shame, threat, fear, nag or nanny 'talk' (from endless worldwide events to vast 'awareness' campaigns) and initiatives that simply don't add up unless you are a lobby-pleasing, subsidy-addicted, box-ticking pol, quangocrat and their high paid mates in the often well-funded NGO/charity/activism sector. That these guys get bonusses based on using public money to run ads designed to drive up hits that drive up their bonusses offends me as clear examples of conflict of interest if not fraud.

But I do dip in to the odd chat to try and haul focus back to all the good that is DONE, and can be achieved by DOING, so long as it is well-assessed and targetted. For ages I have been dismayed that near all in green has been hijacked by usually self-elected, single issue messengers clearly utterly incapable of appreciating the complexities in doing the overall message (and hence topic) justice.

And they seem to be spiraling out of control, rationalising their abject professional failures to communicate and/or persuade as a) the failure of the public to grasp their 'wisdom' and, worse, b) trying to blame them for it. I know how that would have gone done in the commercial world with client and audience alike.

So as much as I am concerned about our environmental futures, I am now as concerned with the mindsets being embraced by some, with clear abuses of free speech and democracy in pursuit of narrow, dogmatic agendas that brook no counters.

And so, when next any from this extreme element get on high horses and presume to lecture broadcast only or dictate, I will be simply saying, in future... 'Or else what?... No pressure'.

Addendum 4

My 'Junkk' activity is, of necessity, a little light at present, as I visit my Mother in her home. She has enjoyed a long, good life, but we fear it is coming to a conclusion. At least the earthly chapter. A small family unit, we are determined to stay by her side as often as possible.

Hence a PC, dongle and good WiFi connection is a boon.

Just to nudge this story along, I need not share the reams of links this story has generated. Google is your friend.

But I will share an unexpectedly quick and contrite reply to my email above. Plus what I wrote back.

From 10:10:

Please accept our apologies. You are right. We made a major misjudgement with the film. Our UK director has made an official statement on the issue, which you can see at

We will be instigating a thorough review of our processes and procedures to identify how this mistake was allowed to happen.

Once again, I offer our sincere apologies. We thank you for the support that you have given to the campaign, and hope that you can accept that we recognise our mistake, and are taking steps to respond in an appropriate manner.

From me:

Dear 10:10 team,

Thank you for a prompt reply in the circumstances, and one that I appreciate that was no fun to have to make.

After the now accepted poor decisions that went into the conception, execution and initially awful 'defences' of the 'No Pressure' piece, this more savvy, considered response is welcome, if necessarily form, and we are tempted to reconsider.

However, with regret, we will need to 'mull' a while. Something perhaps too few do. Evidently.

Yes, it was 'a' mistake, and one that should not adversely impact the many other aspects 10:10 that we endorse(d) and/or support(ed).

However, we remain concerned at the mindset at 'the top', at least as highlighted in the spotlight brought by this unfortunate controversy. This, whilst clearly at last aware of what was precipitated, does rather reveal a history of dogmatic imposition at odds with the belief in actual 'no pressure' accurate, balanced information, fun education and incentive-based, end-benefit driven culture we prefer here.

Hence, whilst pleased to accept what we presume to be a sincere apology from the author below at least, overall blanket forgiveness will take some more time and assessment. Sorry.

There are too many sucking up public (and other) funds in various names, often over-duplicating, and too often with self-indulgent 'awareness' exercises over worthy doing (our interpretation of 'action' is somewhat different) projects, and it may be that this point needs to be made still. Where it will make an impact. Not just with 10:10's leadership, but also as a message to others frustrated maybe, but so self-absorbed as to feel justified in going beyond the high profile pale, and hence making the job of others, working slowly, openly and diligently, all the more difficult.

But good luck with the aspects of you initiative that are positive in enviROI terms.

I feel for those at the helm, but they are cleary not right for the task.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The long and long of it

(that seems to be Blogger's image limit, so a 48 sheet long copy poster was going to struggle. Sorry. Will try to figure a way to post it elsewhere to be viewed bigger)

Just finished, I hope successfully, a bit of 'can't hurt' fun roaming my ad territory, but neatly, and coincidentally, also possibly with a nice rub-off for
is how I like my competitions (actually most things): fun & free.

I was invited to take part a while ago, and determined this time not to leave it to the last minute.

Fate somewhat intervened, in that I have only just got back after a wee spell enjoying the hospitality of the NHS. All well now, but a large hole in the month's traffic management plans.

I had the idea, and I had the copy, and I had a rough layout. What I didn't have at 24hrs notice was an AD/designer.

Fortunately, I have made some new chums. Taylor & Taylor (with pix on homepage of my fave ever bridge) just happen to be affiliated to the IP guys handling RE:tie's marketing, and what with one thing and another, the deed got done. Ta, guys.

I actually have high hopes. Fingers crossed. Wish us luck. Especially all you Junkketeers in London:)


Didn't even make the shortlist:( Some nice ideas there, but frankly I think ours could have shared such good company too. Will never understand how judging works.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NEWS/Commercial PR - Liftshare Week, 4-8 Oct

I do so love it when they write themselves.

Especially in a good cause.

I like to think off myelf not so much as lazy, but more into not wasting perfectly good resources. From the sharing horsepower's mouth:

Just as Junkk is all about match-making - and sharing to avoid waste - so is So we want to tell you about an event they’ve got coming up which can help you to slash your CO2 emissions, save a load of money and make some new buddies into the bargain...

It’s the first ever liftshare Week from 4-8 October, and the aim is to help as many people as possible discover the benefits of car-sharing. The typical commuter who car-shares every day saves around £800 a year and a tonne of CO2, not to mention reducing their stress levels and having more fun.

To take part in liftshare Week, just sign up to the free website and search for someone else going your way so that you can share the journey. You only have to do it on the days that suit you, and you can either take turns driving or - if one of you doesn’t have their own car - the passenger(s) can contribute to the driver’s petrol costs. Everyone wins.

(Oh, and if you’re allowed to spread the word at work by sticking some posters up at your office, you can download them from!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

PR COVERAGE - And idea gaining traction?

Actually, this is more IP coverage.

But as it is a pretty nice article about what we're up to, I think it's worth sharing.

WIPO is not an insignificant force in global IP, so to be noticed and so covered is a very nice thing to enjoy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Palming On

Funny old world.

A week ago I noticed the local Morrison's was again running the 'Let's Grow' promo, and pondered if we might again unleash the Voucher Palm again (click the links below for archive backstory)

Well, a bit like careless kings and troublesome priests, no sooner muttered than rushed out... without telling me! Nice 'n all, but I might have helped with the proof-reading too.

Plus actually delivering as promised.

Hence a bit of flashing around this weekend to get the new one up.

All's well that ends well....


Don't Be Shy, Schools and Shoppers - Choose Your Coconut Today!

Voucher Palm Ready To Do The Business Again in 2010

Another Autumn, another Morrison's 'Let's Grow' Promo.

And, of course, in Ross-on-Wye at least, the Voucher Palm blossoms in complement again, made from all-reused materials by local eco-ideas website, to help shoppers around town 'post' their vouchers to donate to local schools.

Two have so far have asked to have their own coconut on the palm, but there is space for plenty more. Plus plenty of room inside each to donate vouchers to the school of your choice.

So when around town, if you have some vouchers in your wallet in danger of being lost in the back of the kitchen drawer, pop by the EnviroAbility Book Swap Shop, Cantilupe Rd to ensure they get to... and help make even nicer... some very good local home schools... and gardens.

Caption - Eleanor Bennett of the EnviroAbility Book Swap Shop, Cantilupe Rd, Ross-on-Wye, graciously demonstrates Voucher Palm 3.0

Friday, September 10, 2010

PR COVERAGE - Mate's Rates

As some may know, enjoys a healthy relationship with Poundland.

You know, the retail phenomenon that seems to be almost unique in going from strength to strength, somewhat against the trend?

The one that does seem to have pegged what consumers want these days?

But for all their commitment to value and savings on the pocket, they do ponder deep and long about ways to help make the planet a tad nicer place to be, too.

Which is why, a fair while ago, having seen a stand plugging RE:tie at a show, they liked what they saw enough to want to help in our mission to encourage reuse.

So they popped our URL on their packaging. And from this end, we can testify to just how that has caught on with their customer base. Folk like the notion... A LOT.

Well, just as we had a cheery call that made our Friday a while back, we've just had another.

Look who has pride (well, bottom left, but it's right next to the sign-up) of place on their website homepage:)

Nice to be loved. And to be rated so highly via such an endorsement, compliment and complement from such a successful business.

Maybe we are doing something right, as well as good, after all.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

PR COVERAGE - Fast, moving, consumer-related.. and good

Always nice to be noticed.

Even better to be appreciated.

Top cherry to be thought amongst the best. has been featured in this month's FMCG magazine 'Website spotlight'.

Which is nice.

Not too sure on the value as, so far, the phone has not be ringing off the hook. Early days?

Folk in this industry are pretty time poor, and I've only just found it after it hit the in-tray a few days ago.

Plus I can't help but notice on behalf of RE:tie a tamper evident packaging outfit just down the road. Reaches next for phone...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sons, sun & sand (lots of sand). Plus wife.

We're back (and have been a few weeks - only now with kids off to school can I get back to the 'other' day job)

Full disclosure: we flew for 6hrs, budget class, to Egypt, for a Nile cruise.

And enjoyed every minute of it. No regrets (the T-shirt is not mine, but raised a wry-smile come 'so, what do you do' at evening cocktails intro-time)

However, learning from many who ponder and post in the world of environess, I will attempt to justify a smidge of what we got up to by writing about it, especially a few eco-aspects of it all... good... but mainly not as good as one may have hoped.

OK, we were in a sunny place. Make that sunny to the tune of 45 degrees some days, pretty much dawn to dusk. That... is a lot of energy falling on every sqm of a vast expanse, day-in, day-out. Trust me. As the only family not out the first day for a tanning session, we observed the results on the others.

Yet... I could see no great evidence of any solar collection, domestic, commercial or national, either photovoltaics or even hot water. Bizarre.

What I did note was the gentle chug of diesels, 24/7, which sadly results in a pervasive fug hanging over the Nile and its banks. Makes for nice sunsets, but not much else.

And I can't understand the need. Where the grid doesn't run, like a boat, so many thing surely could be solar powered to avoid using up GHG-emitting fuel in this way? If it's possible in the UK (see link below, but caution on the numbers, and deal!) with our weather...

Now, a lot of this may be down to cheap 'leccy thanks to the Aswan dam. A rather uninspiring structure, TBH, but quite a feat. Actually, I was a bit more impressed with the one the British built several decades before. It also had the benefits of a lock system to allow navigation, something the Russians 'forgot' to add. Apparently. I suspect this may have led to, and still inspires some... frustration, downstream.

Which brings me to the other eco-aspect from this trip: the importance of water. Look at that shot out the plane window: no water, no nothing. More than that, no irrigation; no growth more than a few yards in. The country is a high % of sun-blasted sand and little else.

Man has a great capacity to harness nature for good, but also a great responsibility to ensure it is done properly.

Sadly, as I write this I add below a URL that poses some of the dilemmas facing our own mega-water-harnessing scheme.

The Ecologist -

Finally, I leave pondering a matter of historical interest, namely was the climate back in Ramases' time as oppressive as now?

Telegraph - Biblical plagues really happened say scientists

Friday, August 20, 2010

Keeping In Good Company

Caption: Nothing whatsoever to do with Poundland, but we appreciate the irony inherent in this image of one of their competitors, along with the rather cute weasel as regards their business model on the shop sign.

For while we have enjoyed the support of Poundland.

They have seen fit to add the URL to their packaging, and were first in line to help with some recent research for RE:tie, about which more to soon be shared.

And it seems they are doing rather well.
The Grocer



Just sayin', that's all.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

R & R Time!

Junkk is taking a wee break and will be back soon.

One of our other areas of interest is the wonderful world of music, and we'll be supporting First Lady Phoenix J (creator of our jingle) with her band Greenhaus on their UK tour, followed by something not quite as much of a a busman's holiday!

Of course, the Junkk flightcases are well stocked with kit to find and create all sorts of reuses as circumstances dictate:)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Product RE:view - Sainsbury's Milk Pouch

Disclosure: This little effort is going to compete pretty much with my RE:tie idea. Not directly, but with the caps used on many milk bottles. So it is hard to be totally objective in seeking its success. Looking on the bright side, it may make the cap & bottle guys find some merit in a device that not only promotes reuse, but gives their products an edge, too. Just sayin'

Update - a few very interesting comments has made it worth reposting since the 24/05/10 first publication.


As part of a greening initiative, supermarket Sainsbury's have put on a push to promote the use of these milk pouches in the JUGit

They have seen some success. Interestingly another retailer, Waitrose, has not. An odd difference in light of their demographics, which I would have pegged as pretty similar.


Buying is no problem, though there is a trust factor in carrying it in your basket and or bag home. They claim it can be dropped and not burst, but I was more concerned with being pierced. As were a few others. Hence, ironically, all of us asked for a plastic bag to put it in in case it leaked onto our eco-reuse bags.

Oh, and you'd better like semi-skimmed, at least for now. At least it is..'green'

Once home, set up was a breeze. Simple, neat design.

However, it is not so neat in terms of fridge footprint. Where the bottles stand high and fit neatly. the jug sucks up space.


It's about waste, right?

Well, I am biased. I don't throw milk jugs away. I reuse them. And if they do end up in the bin, in this neighbourhood they get recycled. But I do concede that, where this does not happen, a bag is a lot less plastic than a bottle.

Thing is there are also the contents. Now here I can put hand on heart and say I am not convinced. With my lovely 13-year old assistant to set up as I shot the pix, the initial spout pierce sent a gollup up into the pouring ring. This was impossible to rescue easily and ended up missing the cup. The rest of the bag drained fine, but there was some left over due to the spout pierce design. Now, you can get at this, but it is fiddly. With a bottle you get it all... easily.

Also not too impressed by the different but near identical instruction sheets supplied; one from maker and one from retailer. I'd say a single combo might have been more 'on message'.

So... not too convinced, TBH, on almost all counts bar the raw materials one.

So it will be interesting to see how it gets received elsewhere.

At least I now have a nice new jug. That is pretty much useless for any other function.


Seduced by the offer (frankly, I think they might need to offer more savings for longer, as the deal is not too great), I have just made a complete horlicks of the next one, thanks to not having my spex on.

I put the bag in upside down. Not sure this made much difference to the now familiar fountain that went everywhere on piercing, but it certainly doesn't work on the pouring. Most ended up in the jug and coming out the edge rather than the spout. Now all, ironically, decanted into a more traditional milk bottle I had handy (well, about 1,000 odd)

Addendum 2 - Tescos trying too now, ironically, the day I get a very sensible comment from a reader. Why have the jug, at least in this form, at all?

Addendum 3 - Have revisited the trade mag piece above, and only now via comments got reminded of ASDA Green Bottle, or Greenbottle (Google, amusingly, tries to correct one to the other, though it seems wrong). Couple of issues here. First up, I'd forgotten all about it. Now, we shop at ASDA rarely (though pop in, like we do with the protagonists Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Tescos already cited), and I don't recall ever seeing it. So, as with all things, how these options are presented are crucial in the whole consumer acceptance mix.

For all the preference expressed for these by the posters, I'd have to say that my feelings on this option are equally mixed. Seems like a more familiar, possibly convenient design, but there are a new set of eco-compromises. In this case, it's less a matter of reduction but almost purely recyclability. And that, again, depends on the facilities provided from retailer to local authority. You pays yer money and take yer chances... even with what's best for the planet.

Addendum 4 - The product manager for JUGIT has taken the trouble to write, and is well worth checking out for his views.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The curse of 'ahead of your time'

Always hated that phrase.

Mainly as it is usually meant well, but can make for uncomfortable memories subsequently.

Almost 10 years ago was created, with some fanfare, and a fair bit of support (though little actual dosh after the creation phase) or 'interest' from such as BusinessLink, Chambers of Commerce and various quangos and NGOs, such as WRAP, NISP, BERR, DTi, DEFRA, DirectGov, etc.

And our messages have been, from the off, variations of 'turn re:fuse into re:source'.

All featured, often to great media acclaim, around the world.

So this little sequence piqued (gotta love twitter) interest, for all sorts of reasons:

FabianPattberg Good post: Researchers study how to reuse waste in creative, local ways

Sustainability Forum - Good post: Researchers study how to reuse waste in creative, local ways

Greenbang - Researchers study how to reuse waste in creative, local ways

Teeside Uni - One man’s waste is another man’s resource

Now, not being one to miss a chance at promo, I have been on the case. Ride the wave 'n all.

But it was hard to resist pondering what we, and others, might have done over the last decade with the £1.76M earmarked to study this issue further.

Especially as they seem not to be too up on the various efforts already out there in this regard. Or didn't feel like asking before getting this awesome award. I say this guessing is not one of the beneficiaries of : 'It will help provide assistance to 40 enterprises each year, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

But I might ponder who they might be. Never hurts to ask.

For now... I'm smarting a tad.

Maybe a bit of time to simmer down... and then try and figure out how to capitalise on this.

Because if the powers that be have that kind of money to blow on reuse now...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

If you go down to the stores in the next few days...

...You might be in for a big surprise!

Well, that is, if you are in or near Poundland Worcester over the next week or so.

Because, after many stops and starts, our grant supported proof-of-concept consumer research for RE:tie has at last been signed off, and the team from the University of Worcester Business School Research Department is today being briefed ready to head off and tackle the public for their views.

It's a big deal for, as RE:tie is our best shot at some actual decent commercial revenue, not to mention being a potentially awesome poster child for the potential of designed-in reuse.

It's also a time of great anticipation, if tinged with nerves. This is totally independent research. I have even been banned from attending, as it seems I am a potential contaminant of the methodology and results. It will be based on store-exit surveys using our Video Pitch and a brief questionnaire regarding green shopping habits, plus of course the disability assist feature.

Anyway, once the results are in I'll of course share them, and am keeping all digits crossed that it will be a) good, and b) at last enough to help get onside the hard-nosed number crunchers in brands and retailers who have been saying up to now: 'How can we be sure the public will see this as a worthwhile benefit?'

Meanwhile, many thanks to all involved, and especially Poundland for being so supportive in helping with this research by providing the venue. It is especially appropriate that they be involved, as of course the URL is featured as a source of eco-info on their products' packaging, and in the period since they kindly added this, thousands of their customers have as a consequence signed up to the site.

There will be more on this, and I will be PR'ing it up the whazzoo, especially as a great example of public/private collaboration, with a regional flavour which will hopefully pique the interest of the media around here.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Resting Place, Finally

Remember our reuse competition, and its top prize bench?

And that the winners, some local kids, had kindly donated it to Ross on Wye?

Well, after a wee bit of a saga it must be said, it is now in pride of place at a major junction at the top of the town, offering a welcome rest stop to young and old alike from various schools, nearby care homes and sports facilities.

Nice to see it at last doing what it was meant to, and in a way to make the community proud.

Watch this space as there may be a tad more PR yet to squeeze from this heart-warming epic, as local handy-whizzes 'The Can-do Crew!' (name and logo created chez Junkk:) kindly installed it securely, and there was a camera on hand to send to the local media, who have been very supportive of this whole story.

Monday, June 28, 2010

So good he posted it twice

The RE:tie is a pet project.

It has its own little blog, but I don't update it often (though I should... need to) and (maybe as a consequence) few I suspect read it.

However, this is worth a quick sidebar, especially as I try and figure what gets updated automatically, or not, via the various social networking outlets and systems interlinked around here.

For a start, i gets this story pride of place on the new homepage as I rush around like a headless chicken on a few other things, like the latest newsletter.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strategic Thinking

As I write ( I may post later to let the last entry have an 'outing'), twitter is 'down'*.

Actually, it's down, out for the count and the towel is on the ring floor.

It is busted. An ex-medium. You get the picture.

I am sure it will be back, of course, but my trust factor in its reliability is further dented.

No biggie in the great scheme of things, and churlish to get too snitty about a free service, but it has set me to thinking.

Quite a lot of creative content eggs in a few baskets that I don't own, and have no control over. Not just when it comes to accidental issues, but also more direct policy ones: if the guys who own the pitch take exception, you lose not only the future, but also a ton of blood, sweat and words & images from the past.

And while twitter has inspired this introspection, I am well aware that what I am writing this via is pretty much in the same boat. And at 4,000 odd pages of thoughts and wisdom over several years, that is sobering.

Now I know that there are back-up options out there, and I really should start trying to figure out the best and engage asap, but my ITiocy does intrude.

Plus that gosh-darned laziness thing. Because, in addition, I am thinking that all source material should start at the website and radiate out (preferably automatically) from that. At least I own i, and can blame no one but myself if things get lost on its watch.

*Mashable Explains


Interesting ad(s - there was a 1/4p and a full page version in the same paper... an odd media buy, though the former did help my scanning:) in the local news.

And, possibly, another feather in the RE:tie pitching cap?

Seems that recycling is pretty flavour of the month, but certain aspects are not, namely caps.

Now reuse is a much more embracing concept than recycling anyway, and of of course here at Junkk Towers we have several thousands of caps we have not added to the waste stream as reuses are being sought.

But in terms of getting the public mindset on board, surely a re-design that actually encourages retention and reuse of things the authorities seek to avoid in the bin/landfill... to be encouraged?

Just sayin'

Friday, June 11, 2010


Notice anything different about

We have not been idle these last several weeks, and have had a bit of a tweak with the home/splash/landing pages to, we hope, improve and add a lot more content, explanation & ease of navigation in future.

Here's a quick summary:


As mentioned, we have amalgamated a few pages in one now.

Originally, new users would 'land' at a fairly simple, 'homage' to Google's home page that aimed to seduce one and all into the many wonders of via a more extensive, subsequent 'home' page with site navigation bars, buttons, etc.

Now these are all in one. Still similar to the previous in almost every way. Just... it's a bit longer with more 'up front' now - needing scrolling to view all on offer - but, we trust, more than familiar to many other sites you use, every bit as familiar, and easily intuitive.

So, what is there...? Starting from the top:

Top Nav Bar

Pretty much the same, but as the most popular and unique feature, we've highlighted the link to ''Ideas" up there to get straight to it (do note that any as yet unregistered users will need to either accept the t&cs each time or register to view in future without reminder hassles).

All the rest of the main sections are still there in the grey bar, and hyperlinked to their pages.

Left Nav Bar

Getting all 'Web 2 and a quarter' (or .25 to our metric cousins) we have added some nice, big icons to invite staying in touch via most of the popular avenues there are these days:

email - A Feedburner invite to get email notifications of blog posts like this.

twitter - A link to the JunkkMale tweets. These mainly cover eco stuff but can wander into ads, design, music and even politics. Maybe be time for him/me to split these others off now to avoid confusion. In theory, posts here in Blogger should get auto-tweeted, but if they do I seldom see 'em, at least UK time. Maybe that's a good thing to reach audiences in other time zones.

- A link to the Facebook page 'Here's One I RE:made Earlier', which was originally created for a competition but can now serve as the FB base. With luck we can get it more active from now on. Sussing out all the FB opitions being kinda a priority, then, I guess, for me. But boy is it complex!

LinkedIn - More 'business-orientated', but still a great networking link, especially for any keen to hook up with more commercially.

YouTube - We have a few videos up already (some for Junk, others for related aspects), with more planned, so this is where they will be archived.

Plus there's a spiffy extra social networking set that seems to cover 'all the rest'. No clue yet ourselves what half of 'em do.

Next there is the familiar 'My Junkk' that remains unchanged, to handle your account, ideas, posts, etc on once registered.

RHS Nav Bar

This remains unchanged, and is for our use.

It was/is actually intended for button ads, along with banners top and bottom and a skyscraper at extreme right. We just haven't got our media sales/admin sorted out yet, and at the moment there's just some Google Adsense placements operating.

Currently there is a link to the blog (here) and to the new RE:tie (our actual patented, multi-international award-winning) second use design re:evolution.

Centre Section

All change here too, but with a few old friends returning, and with luck now glitch free.

At top is a quick summary of the site, along with a video visualisation which hopefully explains it all in a nutshell.

Next we have the welcome return of the two 'latest' update columns, whereby if a new idea or blog post is added, these become the landing page 'top news'. All of which should make for a fresh & constantly refreshing home page on a regular basis.

Then we have added a 'free text' section for us as the site editors, to offer up news that we think is worthy of front page treatment. Comprising a picture section at left, and headline/text/links to its right, this will be for such as the reuse competition we carried not so long ago.

There are, of course, opportunities for 3rd parties to ask us for a shot at this slot, which we are happy to consider... if the story, or cause is good. Or, better yet... for money:) Rent to pay, family to feed, etc. As the 1st stop on for new and existing users, it is quite valuable media real estate.

Hyperlinked Main Section " 'Bin There, Going Here" icons

A reprise of all the main sections you may wish to scoot to.

Bottom Nav Bar

A collection of all the previous, useful, links you may need.

All bouquets welcome. Brickbats... well... happy to hear any constructive critiques to improve next time. But as many favours called in and budgets we don't have blown to get to this far... it may be a while:)

So, please... enjoy the new, we hope even more improved...!

Addendum: Kid... candy store. It might not progress, if not end well. I have just discovered Blogger has a new design (well, templates) feature. It may take a while to 'settle'.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Gravel/Argon Battery?

One of the holy grails of renewable energy has always been just how to store energy from what are inevitably intermittent, and variable, sources of power; from the likes of wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays etc.

This sounds rather far fetched, and my initial reaction was - it will never work - but reading through the article from the Guardian in detail had me thinking ....... well, they might just be onto something here.

Worth a perusal.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AWARD - Greenbang Sustainability Awards - @greenbang



WHEN: Not to sure... I think... now! Certainly before July.
WHAT: Greenbang sustainability awards
WHAT... MORE?: From their blurb:

Calling all you green business gurus out there: we’re getting ready to launch Greenbang’s first-ever awards for sustainability. Think your technology or strategy can make the cut? Let us know!

Set to be presented during our third birthday celebration this July, our awards are aimed at recognising the gamut of sustainable technologies and initiatives, including:

Best IT technology
Best data centre innovation
Most promising water technology
Most promising carbon capture and storage innovation
Best public-sector green initiative
Best development in sustainable food production
Top smart-grid technology
Best cleantech investor
Best corporate responsibility project
Best low-energy building innovation
Most innovative green PR campaign
Best advance for carbon-free transport
Green leader 2010
Green villain 2010

HOW MUCH: Guessing... free?
COMMENTS: As always, as there might be one worthy of having a crack out ourselves, if you found out from here and edge us out... a big up at the ceremony...OK?

EVENT - 'Be Part of the Solution' - OX


WHEN: Deadline/April 6, Oxford, UK
WHAT: UnLtd 'Be Part of the Solution'
WHAT... MORE?: From the blurb:

UnLtd and UnLtdWorld are teaming up to offer a new kind of support to the UK's environment entrepreneurs - we're going to 'crowd-source' answers to challenges you may be facing.

HOW MUCH: Free, I am guessing, if you 'win'
COMMENTS: More blurb:

If you're one of the 3 selected, we'll ask participants at the OxfordJam event on 15 April and members of online communities, such as UnLtdWorld, Twitter and more to Be Part of the Solution

Having a punt myself, so we'll see:)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

COMPETITION - Virgin - - @richardbranson



WHEN: Ongoing
WHAT: Virgin
COMMENTS: Again, more of an opportunity to gain PR/interest/investment. But... why not? It isn't like many airborne captains of industry are flying BA at the moment

COMPETITION - Sustainable Brands innovation Open


WHEN: Deadline May 1
WHAT: Sustainable Brands innovation Open
WHAT... MORE?: From their blurb:

Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SB Innovation Open) is not another Clean Tech event. This new venture showcase is focused on identifying and promoting innovative new consumer brands, AND ventures that support existing corporations in achieving their sustainable brand innovation goals.

Submissions will be considered in two categories: Idea Stage – must have a complete business plan and no more than $100k in invested friends and family money, or Early Venture Stage – must have no more than $1M in external capital invested.

COMMENTS: Might be US-only. More an investment doo-dad. Might pass here, but still in the pile.

AWARD - The Earth Awards 2010


WHEN: Deadline May 10
WHAT: The Earth Awards 2010
WHAT... MORE?: From their blurb:




COMMENTS: Not an insignificant prize

COMPETITION - Barclays - 'Take one smal step'


WHEN: Deadline 16 May
WHAT: Barclays Take One Small Step
WHAT... MORE?: From their blurb:

The aim of the Barclays Business Take One Small Step Competition is to find people with ambition, passion and, most importantly, a great business idea.

The brief is open — it could be a lifelong ambition or a recent brainwave. It could be a personal experience or a distant dream. Even a revolutionary concept that changes the world. It’s an open invitation and anyone with a great business idea and the drive to make it happen could win.

Got a great business idea? From start-ups to existing businesses, anyone can pitch for the chance to turn a great idea into an even better reality.
Want to show your support? Do your bit for businesses. Get behind the competition and prepare to vote for your favourite idea.

£50k in the pot. That hires a lot of folk to help me upload such as this in future:) Leaving me free to go off and crank eyebrows, test enviROIs and invent odd stuff.

HOW MUCH: Free!!!!!
COMMENTS: See you at the awards:) And if you are not entering... vote for us!

COMPETITION - M&S - 'Your Green Idea' - @marksandspencer


Sorry about sticking that @ thing in the Title and first line, but I am testing a plan to see if I can make this also of more use once the blog post gets rewteeted on twitter. Not sure how it pops up.

Anyway, without further ado (bar acknowledging that, like the No 38 bus, you get nothing for ages then a ton at once), here we go...


WHEN: Deadline May 16
WHAT: Your Green Idea
WHAT... MORE?: from their blurb:

Think green, and think big. Is it something that could change the way our customers shop with us for the better?

If your brainwave is picked as the ultimate green idea it could be seen by 21 million people, every week at over 700 M&S stores. And, what's more, you could win £100,000 for your favourite organisation to spend on its green initiative. It could be for a school, local community project, a small business or charity... it's up to you.

HOW MUCH: How we like it: free
COMMENTS: Good luck. But we are pitching here too, so may the best reuse website, second use product design, And if we don't, and you found out about it here, mention us at the awards ceremony!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's bin real, and it's bin fun...

Well, there she is. Our new wheelie.

And surrounding her is the last 6 months' worth of recycling accumulated while we waited or her.

Why? Well, in one picture you may notice the blue RE:boxes (making not to try and find and update a very out of date page), now late and very lamented.

I had been waiting as, without the wheelie, the bags provided were not going to accept glass, which provides the majority of out non-reused waste, after paper and a horrible amount of plastic film.

So I also segregated away, just to be helpful. Sadly, all for naught. As I had this note:

I have just had a look through the previous correspondence you have had with us and would advise against separating your recyclables into separate bags. It is great to see people doing all they can to improve the recycling process, but as the bags are emptied at our recycling plant, all contents end up being mixed before the automated sorting process begins. The different sorting processes and stages are very effective.

If you're interested, have a look at the following website which explains things further (and a lot clearer than I can).

Oh well.