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TV Advert…Black Friday in the UK ??? Say it isn’t so Asda

27 Nov

If you have ever been to America around this time of the year you are guaranteed two things, lots and lots of Turkey and Black Friday. Yes, it is the Thanksgiving weekend in America, when our cousins across the ocean celebrate the arrival of the pilgrim fathers in the new world.

Traditionally the celebration falls on the fourth Thursday of November and across the USA millions of Turkeys are grilled, roasted and fried in celebration. In recent years the holiday weekend has taken a more commercial significance. Specifically the Friday after Thanksgiving has become the biggest shopping day in the American retail calendar. The local news there is regularly full of frenzied shoppers massing to snap up heavily discounted bargains.

All well and good for good people of America, but what does it have to do with us? And that’s a question for you ASDA! Most people know ASDA is a subsidiary of the American retail giant Walmart, but that’s no excuse for bringing this obscure, and I would argue unwanted tradition, from across the Atlantic.



This week they have been running a series of adverts promoting their Black Friday deals, adding further to the Americanisation of the UK and bringing forward the start of the peak of wallet-sapping Christmas shopping season to mid-November.

That’s a no from me.

Be Your Own Boss – BBC3..Cycles, Chairs and Cardboard

10 Oct

Another week and another edition of Be Your Own Boss

I like Be Your Own Boss it has a touch of realism that is absent from the Apprentice, and makes far tougher decisions than you see on Dragons Den.

This week there were no surprise Billionaire appearances, but lots of pitches by budding Entrepreneurs  As is the format Richard Reed had to choose 3 entrepreneurs to work with with and from the three he will end up investing in one.

For the shortlist, we have a young and very creative dude, who was looking to build a business making cardboard dinosaurs and dinosaur themed greeting cards. There were the hip young twenty-somethings looking to build a social online community around their love of cycling. Last but not least there was an old school inventor, who was looking to to build and sell a car seat, that could turn into a suitcase you can wheel around…Inspector Gadget eat your heart out.

It was tough this week as none of them looked like a real winner. The young dude was creative but seemed to be put off by the nuts and bolts of running a business, the marketing, the sales calls etc. Plus he didn’t really want the cash just guidance.

The social networking guys had really not got anything to show, plus it didn’t help that one of the guys was stuck in America during the evaluation period. They were keen, but the idea seemed more community focused and as Richard probably wanted to say but was too polite…Show me the money!!

The last guy had what on the surface was a cool looking idea child car seat to suitcase. Sounds good but when he said he needed £300,000, I think he left Richard in a state of shock.

Well he had to go with one…Tough call, but he eventually opted for the inventor of the convertible car seat, investing £25k. Cue tears of joy from the inventor, who had already offered to leave his day job if Richard invested.

Smooth as you like…”Be Your Own Boss” – BBC3

3 Oct

I have seen his products all other the place, Innocent Smoothies, Innocent Juice, etc. It seems squeezing the odd fruit into a plastic bottle and flogging it can make you seriously rich and it has for Richard Reed, the smooth looking boss of Innocent Drinks.

He has kindly decided not keep all that juicy cash just to himself and on BBC3′s ‘Be Your Own Boss’ he is out looking for investment opportunities.

This programme starts off frantically like Dragon’s Den on LSD, morphs into the The Apprentice and ends with X-Factor style rejections.

The would be entrepreneurs are first corralled into some sort of exhibition hall where Richard blitzes his way through tens of pitches. He is assisted by a couple of helpers including Tim Campbell, the first winner of the Apprentice (I wondered where he got to).

After the pitches he chooses three entrepreneurs with a view to investing in one. The three chosen were a swimwear company, a “potted beef” company  at least that’s what I think they were selling (potted beef ? sounds yummy, not!), and finally Ash selling some sort of clever device for keeping baby milk warm.

All three were called in for follow on interviews. If a millionaire wasn’t enough, the programme upped the ante with a billionaire as Richard Branson made a guest appearance for no discernible reason other than it seems to reduce Ash to a quivering nervous wreck when he came in for his follow up conversation.

Well at least on the positive side Ash got his first customer as Mr Branson promised to by six for his Grandchildren to be (no pressure on Holly then).

Few months later they all came back and after reviews of progress made so far, Richard (Reed that is not Branson) decided the best place to splash his cash was with Ash and he got a 65,000 to develop his idea.
An honorable shout out to the ladies who pitched the wonderfully named Man Meat Spices….apparently it is barbecue sauce.