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.