D4D

Writing for the Slash and Burn crowd

Archive for the category “Advertising”

Oscar-sight

One of the stories of the weekend was the cockup at the Oscars on Sunday night, with La La Land initally being declared as “Best Film”, when it was actually Moonlight.

Ooooops

(Supposedly, the auditors/organisers had “mistakenly given the wrong category envelope to the presenters”)

What I loved though, was the speed that companies like Specsavers got in on the act…

10,000

Over the last couple of days, there’s been some coverage about an American scientist (which seems to be a pretty endangered species in the Age Of Trump) claiming that fitness trackers and pedometers are pretty arbitrary, and not necessarily the best way to go.

Which, I think it’s fair to say, we can file under “Sherlock, Shit, No”.

Of course that 10,000 steps a day advice is arbitrary. Even the figure tells you it’s arbitrary – those nice round numbers for ‘ideals’ simply don’t occur that often in reality.

Hager claimed the 10,000 steps target dated back to a 1960s Japanese study that showed there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise – roughly equivalent to 10,000 steps each day. An early pedometer was known as the manpo-kei, which means “10,000-step meter” in Japanese.

Really, if anyone is taking anything from these devices as gospel truth, they’re a fucking moron. At best, these devices are indicators.

The heartrate monitor is well known to not be accurate – but so long as it’s fairly consistent per user/wearer, it’s a decent-enough indicator of where you stand.  And if it suddenly dropped to reporting 10bpm (or 200bpm) then anyone vaguely sensible would take themselves to a GP for a proper check.

The same’s true for the sleep monitor (which I do use).  It’s not gospel truth. But it’s a decent-enough indicator of awake vs. disturbed ‘sleep vs. actual REM sleep. Do I believe it innately? Hell no. But does it consistently show me my bad nights vs. less-bad ones? (I’m yet to have a good night’s sleep) Yes.

And if you can’t rely on those indicators, why would you rely on the step monitor? Simple, you wouldn’t. Can you game it and mess figures simply by swinging your arms more? Yep. But what’s the point of doing that, unless all you’re interested in is attaining that arbitrary [x],000 steps in a day?  The only benefit in that is you, and you’re just cheating yourself.

However, it does make for a useful indicator, and a reminder to actually move more. I can understand (kinda) why people make these things into targets, but really all that’s important is being more active. And that’s what counts.

First Impressions

It’s funny, sometimes, how a first impression – and sometimes even just a single word – can colour one’s judgement and feelings about something.

While geeking about yesterday, I did a google search for ‘Zucchini’ – a programme on TV was showing zucchini (courgettes) that were very different to the ones I recognise as courgettes, so I had a look.

And there on that results page, the second result was for Zucchini Restaurant in Batley, Yorkshire. It looks like this…

Yep – the first word of text on the site contains a spelling mistake. On an Italian word. For an Italian restaurant.

And just like that, I know I don’t want to go. If that’s their attention to detail, I’m out. Simple as that.

It’s Begun

ScroogeSo here we are. Not even ten days into November, and the run-up to the Festering Season is fully underway.

The Christmas adverts have kicked in- and the ‘event’ ones like John Lewis etc. will be launching over the next few days.

The supermarkets have got all their tat out already, the cards, mince pies, chocolates etc., and even the fucking Christmas trees in the entrances, for shit’s sake.

Of course, the TV schedules are filling up with the standard reality TV run-ups, the BBC’s “Strictly” and ITV’s “X-Factor”.

Seven weeks or so to go, and it’ll be over for another nine months or so. In the meantime, D4D will be brought to you courtesy of the words “For”, “Fuck’s” and “Sake”. As usual.

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)

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