Spinach, start-ups, and bloated tech companies

Dear Tesco, what is the point of this?
I’m referring to the pic of two baby spinach leaves with a speech bubble asking “what am I like?”
 At first glance, and maybe because I lived in Manchester for a time, when I see “what am I like” in my head I hear an annoying voice going “what am I like, eh? I’m just dead mad I am.
But no, the baby spinach is asking a straight question which is subsequently answered. For this is an attempt to tell anyone who has never tried baby spinach what it’s like.
“Young and tender dark green leaves…” is the first thing we are told. It’s also the first thing I have issue with.
“No shit,” one of the unfiltered voices in my head cries out. Baby anything tends to be young and tender.  And I can see there are dark green leaves, because much of the bag is transparent.
Next we are told the leaves come “.. with a distinctive flavour.”
I see.
A distinctive flavour.
Dog shit has a distinctive flavour (sorry, same unfiltered voice as above). So does toothpaste. Everything that isn’t a compound of other flavours has, by definition, a distinctive flavour.
Describing the flavour as distinctive doesn’t tell me anything useful.
So, what’s the point?
I’m not on some there’s-too-much-informationcrusade. I see this as yet another symptom of marketing departments populated by people with no real clue how to communicate with other people – well, with real people; they probably manage just fine talking utter garbage to other dullard marketing managers.
Anyone in PR will at some point have had to work with one of those people at a client. A mid-to-senior level marketing manager who is only in a position of responsibility because everyone better than them was either made redundant in the post-2008 downturn, or left to do something more rewarding.
These people don’t understand concepts like communicating effectively. They talk almost exclusively in jargon. Can’t cope with being challenged and have no frame of reference outside the impossibly narrow confines of their pointless job and equally uninspiring dimwit colleagues.
They add no value and, by and large, the only skills they have acquired are sufficient political nous to dodge the redundancy bullet and a few knife-wielding chops, but only when people’s backs are turned.
While so much of the tech sector is currently experiencing paroxysms of joy over the incredible talent of our burgeoning start-up communities, the heavier weight tech companies remain bloated by people who were hired during periods of rapid growth and who ought to have been jettisoned long ago.
In case you were wondering, yes I do feel better now thanks.

Ho ho no


What does Christmas mean to you?

Family? Turkey (no not the country)? Time off work? Mince pies? Mistletoe? Booze?

The list goes on.

How about… 25 September? No…? Really? Of all the things that Christmas means to you, 25 September isn’t one of them?

Me neither.

Or at least that was the case until recently – 25 September to be precise – when I was in Tesco.

There I was gamely pushing my trolley round the store, the epitome of the happy shopper, when I encountered not one but two whole aisles of Christmassy-looking stuff.

I did a double-take and inwardly corrected myself for having wrongly identified some predominantly red, green and white boxes and vaguely bauble-shaped banners as something to do with Christmas. An easy mistake to make, I told myself. But a mistake nonetheless.

However, the closer I got the more bauble-like the banner advertising seemed and there, on the seemingly generic red, green and white packaging there appeared to be a jolly-looking fat bloke with a white beard, accompanied by the occasional sprig of holly.

What the fa-la-la-la-laa, I asked myself, and went to inspect.

Yes… Christmas has come early. Three months ahead of schedule, to be exact. Making Halloween and Guy Fawkes look like the laggardly slackers of the calendar they clearly are. I mean, where are they? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where.

Now I’m sure a lot of you will instinctively reach for the “Christmas has been ruined by over-commercialisation” line. And while I’m broadly in agreement with you, I am starting to think there may be more to this than meets the eye, some of which could actually be advantageous.

The silver-lining in all of this for me, from a purely selfish perspective, is that it can only mean I’ll be getting my birthday presents around the end of October instead of waiting until the end January as I’ve always had to do in the past. Assuming, as I am, that the supermarket behemoth has finally grown tired of dominating the retail skyline and has decided to rewrite the calendar.

Easter will, I imagine, quite possibly arrive in February, meaning the Easter Bunny may be in peril of incurring a frost-bitten tail. And other annual events will have to be rearranged too, no doubt.

Mothers Day, Fathers Day – who knows where they might end up. Your wedding anniversary – anyone’s guess.

I know where I hope they stick Valentine’s Day, but I doubt they will – apart from anything else, where I’ve got in mind for it actually has nothing to do with the calendar at all.