Avatar Mistakes in marketing

Let’s say you own a company. Let’s say you’re involved in JCBs and tipper trucks, shifting muck around. Let’s say you get yourself a nice white van for moving kit about and you get your company’s name written on the back, and maybe a nice photo of some JCBs and tipper trucks in action so everyone can tell what line of work you’re in.

For now we will overlook the fact that you name your company something daft like ”Kellands” when, if sense prevailed, you would clearly have called it something like ”John’s Diggers”.

You have space on the van for a slogan. Something positive and dynamic that tells everyone what your company is about and how great you are.

What slogan will you choose? Think carefully.

Avatar Inventing the Future

I, like you, have a pair of feet (that is unless you’re Chris and you have three legs, or maybe four, I forget about that conversation in and around his shoe poem) and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to protect my feet.

Someone invented shoes and the world rejoiced. From then there was some protection from the tiny little stones on that the ground, the acorns, possibly broken glass and even if someone has been a bit careless with their muesli. Oh, what a happy time it was.

But there was a catch. Each shoe was a one-way street; there was never a chance that the left shoe could be put on the right foot and vice versa. If you lost one of them then you had to find another that would fit. The unique shape on the foot meant that only a lefty would fit the left. People should have the freedom to wear what they wanted and that would never be the case.

Do you remember the old expression, “the shoe is on the other foot”? I see that as the future.

Imagine a shoe that could slip onto either foot. You’re no longer held captive by these prehistoric methods of yore. You’re so engrossed in that three bean salad podcast that you’re not even paying attention to what goes on where and, you know what? It doesn’t matter. My invention, the Neutral Shoe (no trademarks yet, please don’t steal my ideas), is pertinent enough to adapt to its surroundings, namely your foot. I haven’t drawn up the blueprints yet however I imagine the same sleek design from the heel to the long bit in the middle. At the end though, that’s when things get interesting.

It curves around so it’s wide enough to fit either the left or right foot. Your toes are free to wiggle about yet it’s still snug enough to not feel as though you’re walking around in a pair of flipflops (nobody wants that). The Neutral Shoe will be a thing of beauty; not necessarily solving any of life’s major problems but there to offer a helping hand (or foot) when you need it most. Putting on a pair of shoes will be different and new at the same time.

All I need is five hundred thousand pounds and I can get to work. You have my bank details, gentlemen, and I look forward to seeing you all at the champagne launch ceremony in six to nine months time.

Avatar The smart man cometh

Welcome to a story that starts off well, gets a bit bad and then goes all grand mal on your ass before you realise what’s happening.

I’m a nerd. I’m sorry to hit you with that reality but I’m not the cool guy you thought I was. I know that I dazzle you all with my endless tales of motorcycles, bar fights, chicks and umm cool stuff however in reality it is the complete opposite. My nerdity stretches to almost all levels of nerdom (although I’ve yet to play a proper game of D & D and I’m not ready to quite drop my trousers and start collecting Magic: The Gathering cards) although recently, and for the last few years, it has settled in v. game town.

I collect for a huge range of systems. The Sony PSP, the slightly older, less attractive handheld cousin of the PS Vita, has a large library and currently most of the games are dirt cheap. We’re talking cup of coffee and a toffee crisp prices here, people. We’re talking a day ticket on the bus with all the trimmings (you know, some have TVs that don’t work and some have a USB port so you can charge your phone because it’s an electric bus and it’s the FUTURE). There will always be rarer titles as there is for every console and it is here we find me with an idea.

The PSP isn’t region locked meaning you can buy a game from the other side of the world and it will run on your machine. There’s a game I’ve had my eye on that only ever keeps going up in price in the UK so, in a flash of brilliance, I check a used video game website in the US that I’ve used previously. Lo and behold there it is, in stock and about twenty quid cheaper overall. I know there’ll be postage and import tax to pay yet it’s too enticing to ignore. Surely this is a good idea and nothing can go wrong. This is the loophole that will see me through to the good side of the fence. I go to the basket only to be told that the website doesn’t post to the UK anymore.

Sniff sniff, can you smell that? If you can, it’s probably Brexit.

Foiled and a little crestfallen I mull over this for a day or two. Then it hits me, a second brainwave. Twice in one lifetime? When you’re hot, you’re hot! There’s a website where you can order anything from the US and have it sent to a shipping depot in the US, they’ll then reroute it to your address in the UK and sort out the tax and everything else at the same time. This is too good to be true, right? Right?

My fingers are already going, it’s ordered and paid for. I get the notification that my parcel is on its way to the depot. I am the Thriftmaster. Thrifting is my middle name. Bow before me, peasants, for I am both the king of the Co-op and king of the thrift.

I go to create the shipping request. Duties and tax are reasonable, of course there’s VAT and… the shipping method. The cheapest option available is a little over thirty dollars. Taking into account the aforementioned other charges, this will now put the total cost of getting the fucker to my address in the UK ten dollars more than I actually paid for the game.

I wanted to believe that this was a good idea. This will be the last time I try to be clever. For now, I will be sitting in the corner wearing the dunce hat and counting up to ten only missing the seven out every single time I try. I await your lambasting.

Avatar Time to shape up or ship out

Do you have poorly-raised pork? Are you in receipt of rude chops or maladjusted mince? Are you berated by bad bacon and lazy lamb cutlets? What you need is the best in the business to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget.

Manners for Meat will take your ill-educated meat products and transform them into something you can show to mother and father at the next boating ceremony.

Leave your meat with us and we will put them through an intense yet fair training regime to whip them into shape.

No more crossed words. No more mumbling under their breath. No more ill-advised comments during luncheons and dinner parties. No slouching, no passing wind, no loud burps the likes of which could shake the top of Ben Nevis and drip snow on all the surrounding villages.

Manners maketh the man but they also maketh the meat.

Give us two weeks and we will put them through their paces and leave a lasting effect that will be seen for generations to come (or until your next Sunday dinner).

Come for the manners, stay for the meat.

Avatar Serious Ian

Do you have a problem that needs fixing? Are you too silly to get it sorted yourself? Do you have a credit card and a strong desire to get the job done? Then what you need is Serious Ian.

Serious Ian can take all those chores that you can’t be bothered doing and he will get them done in the most serious fashion you’ve ever seen. His seriousness cannot be measured on a regular spectrum and scientists had to invent a new spectrum just to keep up. The only thing that came close to the same level of seriousness was BBC newsreader Huw Edwards or possibly Jeremy Paxman either duffing up politicians on ‘Newsnight’ (before he left) or duffing up students on ‘University Challenge’.

Here’s but a small muster of items that Serious Ian could help you (yes, YOU!) with:

  • Telling your dog or cat that you’re going on holiday and they have to stay with your smelly friend, Derek.
  • Pumping the waste out of your septic tank after years of neglect.
  • Doing the washing up after Sandra tells you she’s taking the job and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • Ironing those shirts that need to look their best for Monday.
  • Driving slowly past your nemesis, with a pair of sunglasses on the tip of his nose, nodding his head sternly before driving off.
  • Informing the man in front of you in the queue that he has eleven items and needs to go to the regular checkout or till.
  • Taking little Billy for his first experience of death (possibly roadkill).
  • Asking Kev why he hides blankets inside pillows and querying when did he become such a sexual deviant.
  • And many more!

It may be a premium rate number but you’ve got to pay the best to get the best.

Serious Ian is also available in a multitude of colours to fit your mood and your situation. When times are hard choose that delicious charcoal Serious Ian to really hammer home the message. If you want something a bit lighter, yet just as serious, perhaps the clementine Serious Ian will be your catch of the day.

Whatever the job, task, role or message, you can guarantee nobody will take it more serious than Serious Ian.

Call now!

Avatar Sheriff Rockingham raises the stakes

I see that Ian is trying to start a new rap battle, maybe to make up for the fact that he lost the last one.

That’s fine. I’ll take him on any time, ready to fire my sick beats and dope rhymes his way. Like Kev, I’m gold on the floor and gold on the mic. But unlike Ian, I have nothing to prove.

In the couple of years that have passed since we last duelled, I haven’t felt the need to go showboating around with my rap skills. In fact Sheriff Rockingham has been putting his time into something far more wholesome.

I decided it’s time rappers did something more to help the environment. To stand up for the little creatures out there who are just hustling for a seed here, a seed there, trying to make it through the winter. That’s why I’ve been investing my rap riches in the bird table biz.

That’s right. It’s easy to assemble. You heard, the wood is from well managed forests. It’s even got a carry handle, fool. The grounds of Rockingham Palace are stuffed with these things and the birds love them. Time to get yourself in on the action before you get left behind.

Peace.

Avatar Newsboost – Margaret Malfunction

Crisis in the world today as the World Margaret Organisation launches counterattack against the virtual virus spreading through the nations.

Through general word of mouth as well as a fitting and rather catchy song, the expression, “Stick it up your Margaret” has swept through the population like Romans at an orgy. We’ve seen everything from Tik Toks to vox pops, viral videos, memes and more tweets than a batch of fresh hens. Most people see it as a fad that will fade into obscurity within a few months however those who have been on the receiving end of it have not been able to take it in quite the same way.

As with most things, certain people have taken it a step too far. Leader of the World Margaret Organisation, Margaret Margarine, explains.

“It started off as something quite tame and within a few weeks has turned into something revolting and puerile. We’ve had reports of other Margarets being harangued in the streets by random passers by, heckling them with threats of sticking things up them. Now I’m not opposed to having someone wear me like a mink glove but only in the right context. The many Margarets in not only this fine nation but also further afield are being bullied and it’s just not on.”

Reports of “Margaret misalignment” as some experts are calling it have increased two thousand per cent since the beginning of January, helped by the popularity of social media platforms and general human silliness.

“Our dedicated helpline,” Margaret continues, “is available 24/7 for those who wish to document these instances to help the police round up those responsible. There haven’t been many arrests so far yet I am confident that as long as us Margarets stick together we will make it through this!”

During the early hours of the morning, the World Margaret Organisation issued a press release which reiterated these comments but also struck back with a sign of retaliation not expected. The WMO have written not one but two of their own jingles, “Slide it back to Colin” and “Bunty’s got your number.” A third effort entitled, “Force it up your Richard” was deemed too racy and dropped at the last minute.

The Dynasty of Colins and the Bunty Bouquet are yet to comment.

Avatar Trips Outside – Jarrow

Out in Covid Town, they still don’t like you moving around too much. If you ever think of crossing county lines or hopping on a plane to go and record an album with Jimmy Buffett, because he wants to write a follow-up to his wonderful ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ song, then eyes are most certainly raised. Thankfully, having recently changed jobs, I now have a brand new section of the North-East to explore on my lunch breaks.

I would like to welcome everyone to the breath of fresh air that is Jarrow.

I have only been within the vicinity for approximately two weeks and yet since then I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that would put some locals to shame. Some may call that pitiful boasting, some may call it an outright lie and to those people I ignore anything they say and hand them a banana in the hope that they drop their line of questioning.

There are lots of things to know but given the time and my limited word count there are only four things you (that’s YOU) need to know about Jarrow in case you ever want to take a trip there:

  • Vikings – when the world was young and wireless abbabs were but the stuff of dreams, a large collective of Norse warriors decided they wanted a piece of Britain, hopped on some boats and decimated the coastline of North England for several years. Their only opposition was effeminate priests using gold crosses for weapons. These murderous heroes have been encapsulated in a statue displayed proudly in the town centre. They also got a shopping centre named after them to commemorate all the blood spilled.
  • Shopping – if you want shops, you’re going to get them. There’s a Viking centre full of them and, boy, are you going to be spoilt for choice. There’s a Wilko, a Morrisons, a B & M, a Home Bargains, Greggs, Boots, charity shops, butchers, more bakers, some kind of cafe I haven’t gone in yet but takes up a lot of space, I think a shop that fixes phones or laptops or maybe both and hiding towards the back a Dominos. They have a lovely PA system that forces you to listen to music as you shop so whether or not you want to listen to ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin is not up for debate, it’s happening baby.
  • Pronunciation – look at the name, it all looks so very simple, doesn’t it? Don’t be wandering into Jarrow thinking that it’s pronounced, “JAR-ROW” though, that’s wrong. Grit your teeth. From the back of your throat, it’s, “JAR-RAH”. If you get it wrong, you’ll be thrown out and never allowed back in. I once worked with a posh lash who said, “PRUD-HOE” instead of, “PRUDDA” and where is she now? I’ve no idea, probably sitting on a throne barking orders at lowly cronies. Or in jail.
  • Walking – there are several monuments around the town explaining about the contribution to the war effort back in 1917. The most famous thing Jarrow is famous for though is when, famously, 200 men marched from Jarrow to London to protest against unemployment and poverty because The Man had closed down the primary place of employment, Palmer’s Shipyard, and things were all bad. This is almost a three hundred mile trek. They would have had to trundle down the A1 which would have been very hazardous given all the long haul lorries driving down to London to drop off soaps or whatever it is people down South eat. There wasn’t even a Little Chef on the way that they could stop in for drinks and snacks. It’s bravery like this that makes me feel inspired.

Even though you may have never, and possibly may never, visit the sacred grounds betwixt the Tyne Tunnel, Hebburn and the tunnel under the Tyne that leads back to Willington Quay where I used to live, I hope this very brief tour is enough to explain and display the majesty of the South Tyneside town.