Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Best in class, in a class of its own.

Someone really should be proof-reading their press releases - found in the title no less:

Zebra Technologies New ZXP Series 8™ retransfer card printer’s photo-quality images and best in class print speed puts it in a class of its own

Now that really doesn't say very much about their product does it now?

Sunday, 28 March 2010

...except possibly at Alnwick.

Holiday time. Just been in York, England for a long weekend and found a couple of things, that while not strictly advertising, are certainly bollocks.

First up, Marygate

Above may be seen a facsimile of the type of shutter which was used in medieval times to guard the bowman against a return flight o farrows. The abbey wall which is 13th and 14th century is unique in that its battlements retain the grooves fror these shutters which swing on trunnions the wooden guard after the bowman had fired his arrows in quick succession was swung own to protect him.
The grooves do not exist anywhere else on the City walls and it is doubtful if there are any others in England except possibly at Alnwick.
Weasel words if ever I saw them. Sounds like someone's not doing their research. Or at least not sufficiently.

For the interested, two shots showing what it's talking about, and a Google Street-view for those who may want to wander:

View Larger Map

Next up, not too much further away (and excuse the quality - shot taken at night on a Nokia 3310) in High Petergate:

SIR THOMAS HERBERT 1606-1982 lived hereabouts. A Parliamentarian, he later became a Groom of the Bedchamber and a close friend of King Charles I. He stayed with him on the night before his execution and attended him on the scaffold.

All of the other plaques of this type I saw in York said "XXX was born here" or "XXX lived here" etc This one just seems a bit too woolly, and again, showing an apparent lack of research.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dettol Complete Clean - kills the bacteria that live in lava?


Cleaner than Lava
(Links go to visit4info.com.)
Fact: Some bacteria are almost(1) indestructible. They can even survive in lava(2).
So think how easily the bacteria in your kitchen can survive(3).
Most spray cleaners only do half the job because they can leave bacteria behind.(4)
New Dettol Complete Clean cuts through tough grease better than the leading cleaners(5), and kills 99.9% of bacteria.(6)
Giving your surfaces a complete clean every time. For the dirt you can see and the germs you can't use Dettol Complete Clean.
(1) Weasel word alert. All bacteria can be killed, one way or another. Radiation and extreme heat/pressure for example.

(2) Absolute bollocks (unless the lava has cooled to such an extent that it's no longer in the state any reasonable person would call lava - i.e. glowing red hot and possibly flowing, as 'indicated' in the advert.) Hyperthermophile's (currently the bacteria generally agreed to be the most viable at high temperatures) can live at temperatures of up to 122°C, but beyond that, while they may survive they aren't actually going to be doing very much. One that was heated to over 130°C only started becoming functional again once the temperature was lowered. Lower it to room/body temperature and it's going to become inactive again. Think about what happens to regular bacteria once you stick them in the freezer.

Take the temperature above 150°C and the cohesion of DNA (and other stuff the bacteria is made of) starts to fall apart.

Lava (molten rock) is generally around 700°C-1,200°C

(3) Are we still on Lava bacteria? If so they're not going to be doing very much on your room temperature surfaces, or in your body temperature gut. And ignoring the temperature problem, how viable/'compatible' is such bacteria that would not have interacted with a human being in millennia be with such a human.

If, on the other hand, we've moved back to the more mundane bacteria you're far more likely to find in your kitchen, why bother with the lava references?

(4) Weasel words. "Most spray cleaners?" Which ones would they be? Some of Dettol's previous products perhaps? Which (other) ones are better than Dettol's?

Anyway, unless you're steam cleaning your kitchen and turning it into a clean room, you're not going to be getting rid of even most of the bacteria, no matter how fancy the spray, or the solution inside.

(5) Weasel words again. Better than the leading cleaners? What about some of the other cleaners that aren't so leading. Leading how, by the way? Unit sales? Volume of product? Sale by value? Over what geographical area....

(6) So what about the remaining 0.1% that could bench-press a truck? Why isn't it killing that last 0.1%? Should we be worried about it? Incidentally since there are numerous other products that claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria, Dettol's product wouldn't appear to be that much better than the competition.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Walker's Sensations - made with real ingredients

Oh really?:

Sensations crisps are made with real ingredients and no artificial colours, sweeteners, flavour enhancers or MSG so go ahead and indulge yourself.

Now, I wonder what sort of other ingredients Walker's use in their non-'Sensations' crisps. Could they possibly be using non-real ingredients?

Incidentally, the Vintage Cheddar & Onion Chutney packet pictured above isn't free of E numbers, as "real ingredients" would like to suggest. If I'm reading that link correctly, it contains: E330, E160c, and E322.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

National Savings & Investments - an offer you can refuse

Another email - this time from that bastion of government run savings in the UK:

With our new Direct Saver, you’ll earn an attractive rate of interest and will have easy access to your money. And, like all accounts and investments from  NS&I  , your money will be 100% secure, backed by HM Treasury.

    * Save from £1 to £2 million per person
    * Current rate 2.0% gross/ AER (variable)
    * Apply, deposit and withdraw online or by phone 

Find out more about the NS&I Direct Saver and apply now    
Yours sincerely
Tim Mack

Tim Mack
Head of Marketing and Communications

Gross is the taxable rate of interest without the deduction of UK Income Tax.

AER (Annual Equivalent Rate) is a notional rate that illustrates what the annual rate of interest would be if the interest was compounded each time it was paid. Where interest is paid annually, the quoted rate and the AER are the same
Where to start really.

1) An attractive rate of interest at 2.0%. Gross.

Downright lie. 2.0% (gross) interest for your common bod on the street is 1.6% after (20%) tax.

CPI (consumer price inflation) was 3.5% in January and it looked to be heading upwards. RPI (retail price inflation) was 3.7%.

What this means is that while your £100 will be £101.60 in a year (but see below), you'd need £103.50 to buy what £100 buys now. Your money is actually worth  £1.90 less than it was this time last year - you're losing money with this account!

Not so attractive now, is it?

But wait!! There's MORE!!

2) The fact that they're quoting gross/AER to make that rate seem higher than it actually should be for most people (though to be fair to NS&I, this is a requirement for all advertising in the UK that includes interest rates. Doesn't make it any more clearer to the general public.) I've indicated that the real rate for most people is 1.6%, but there's a higher rate band of 40%, so those people will only be getting 1.2%. And due to fiscal drag, the number of people paying this rate is increasing year on year due to our wonderful government's chancellor's of the exchequer failing to raise the lower limit for that 40% rate in line with inflation and/or level of pay rises.

3) That parenthetical variable, innocently hiding at the end of the line with the 'massive' 2.0% in it.

Yup - that 2.0% isn't guaranteed to stay at 2.0% It might go up!

Or down. I know which I think is more likely. From their Terms and Conditions:
Both the rates, and the balances required to earn them, if applicable, may be changed from time to time. 
No guarantees there whatsoever. In fact they could put them down to 0.1% as most other banks and building societies have done with their old savings accounts.