It's better to stay quiet and be thought an idiot than to speak up and leave no doubt

Archive for the category “Advertising”

Advertising Standards – Feedback

A while back, I wrote about OpenTable and the dodgy wording of their Dining Points loyalty scheme. At the time, it had just been referred to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), who were investigating further.

Last week, they came back to me – and while it’s still informal, OpenTable are supposedly changing the wording on the screens, to make things clearer about how the Dining Points scheme works.

It’s still not a situation I’m entirely happy with, because it can still be easily misinterpreted, and there’s a lot of inherent dodginess in the entire thing.  But at least it’s progress.

It’s still with the ASA, following on from my own responses, but it’ll be interesting to see whether anything else comes of it.

Advertising Standards

With the whole “Solo Dining” project I’ve been doing this year, one of my bugbears has become OpenTable (who provide a lot of the table-reservation services for restaurants) and – more particularly – their “Dining Points” loyalty plan.

As it says on that page about Dining Points,

OpenTable UK members can earn OpenTable Dining Points when they make and honor reservations made through opentable.com, or our related mobile sites and apps.

They say the same thing on another modal window to explain Dining Points.

opentable_points_explanation1“Earn points every time you dine”

Except that’s not true – not true at all.  I queried why I’d received zero points for several reservations over the last year, and they then started to say (and this is a direct quote from one of the responses)

points are only given to diners who start their search on our website and not the restaurants website as you know. This is because as you came from the restaurant website, you are considered a customer of the restaurant and they use our services  on the back end to take your reservation for them. If we started awarding points to the customers of our clients they would feel that we are trying to steal you as a customer.

So OpenTable are, frankly, liars.  They say clearly throughout the site “make a booking through OpenTable, and get points“, with no provisos, asterisks, or get-out clauses.  This isn’t even me being pedantic about something – they’ve said something (repeatedly, in black-and-white!) that’s simply not true.

This would’ve been an easy fix for OpenTable, if they’d had any sense at all. If they’d said “Oh, sod, sorry, here, have the points, and we’ll make that text clearer“, we’d be done.   But no, they started backtracking, patronising, and explaining why I was so wrong to believe their “Get points every time you book” spiel.  No apology, no “thanks for letting us know“, nothing.  All the customer-service skills of a concrete monolith.

Having hit that concrete monolith with no joy, I decided to take it further.  Having checked their criteria, I raised it with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and I’ve now had a confirmation from them that, having done an initial review, they’re going to investigate it further.

So, that’s going to be entertaining.  I’m assuming that getting an ASA investigation done isn’t a trivial step, nor one that the ASA do for the fun of it.  I’m also assuming that, because they’re investigating, the complaint has at least some merit.

As and when I hear back, I’ll write more here…

Eating Well For Less

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the BBC’s “Eat Well For Less” series.  It’s an interesting concept, helping people with their eating habits (and more accurately, their spending on food) by removing all the labelling and branding from food in people’s houses, removing all the prejudices etc. around their food spending.  They replace expensive branded stuff with ‘own-brand’ or cheaper alternatives (and in some cases with more expensive, but better/healthier options) and also leaving some things alone.  Additionally, they help people with recipes for their favourite meals, rather than buying pre-packaged and so on.

A lot of it is insanely annoying, but the core information is (in my opinion) worth it, for both the families on the programme, and people watching it.

But oh Dear God, those families are fucking pathetic. There’s lots of preconceptions about brands being preferred “because they wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t the best” and so on, which drives me crackers.

The most recent one tonight, though, drove me crackers. One family member had been diagnosed as coeliac, and had spent six years eating salads he hated. Six. Fucking. Years.  How does anyone end up eating stuff they don’t like for six bloody years? There’s no logic in it that I can see – unless they haven’t done any enquiries or research about what’s got gluten in and so on?

In this case they were buying loads of pre-packaged food – and I get that more, because they were so worried about cross-contaminating from their foods to his, and making him ill – but with no thoughts or understanding. I think the peak point for me was buying pre-packaged “gluten-free” rice, not understanding that all rice is gluten-free, in the name of Jesus H Pant-shitting Christ.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting series, but Holy DogEggs, some people are fucking lazy/stupid/pathetic*.

(* Delete as applicable)


This time of year, the run-up to Father’s Day, is an odd one for me. (The same applies for Mother’s Day, but in different ways)

Basically, every time it comes around, I find myself looking for a card or a gift, and realising that my family don’t fall into any of the standard stereotypes that manufacturers and retails think they should.

It’s odd – although I don’t mind it in general – and it explains a lot about my mindset in general, but it’s just interesting to see how little any of my family fit into these themes and typical behaviours.

Badly Worded

Just now, my local authority (Central Bedfordshire council) tweeted this, which is hilariously badly-worded…


I replied, asking them if they meant that it was an event for underage drinking/drinkers, or if they meant it to be an event informing about (and/or preventing/reducing) underage drinking – as it certainly looked like the former.

In fairness, they then responded, and removed the original tweet.

But still, it made me laugh, picky and pedantic bastard that I am.



They then replaced that tweet with this one…


It really isn’t a good day for Central Beds’ social-media team. But it’s a very funny one for me…



Another ‘Daft Product‘…

I love the idea of a set of dessert mousses, and have a company called Hipper to produce them.

And then, you can have the advertising slogan “Have a Pot o’ Hipper Mousse”.

Yes, I really do need to get out more…

Motoring Music

Another for the ‘Daft Products’ thread

How come Audi have never come up with the brand “O” for their car stereos?

It seems like a no-brainer to me, to be able to say “Car music provided by AudiO”, and the “AudiO Speakers” etc. etc.

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