Today I am enjoying this email that I got from Ocado.
The picture's nice, the gag is sort of OK, but the thing I like about Ocado is that they do small stuff well. Their site works really well as a shopping site, and they keep tweaking all of the tiny details to make it better and more intuitive.
As for this email, it's just them telling me something small and new. It won't rock my world but it makes me feel another degree of warmth for them. And the idea that you can ask their drivers to cover up their dirty boots is excellent. It helps do all of those things that brands are supposed to do these days - be human, act responsibly and help keep my new carpet spotless.
I was wandering around Soho at half seven this morning when I saw this van. I didn't realise it immediately, but then saw that it was a howies van. I think it's painted with blackboard paint, so you can give your opinion. Very clever. And it was good to see that nobody had yet fallen victim to the temptation to write 'Colin 4 Jackie' or 'LUFC' on the side of it. Well, at least not last night.
Then I remembered that howies are opening a shop on Carnaby Street, so I walked over there. Today turned out to be opening day, so Ade and company were putting the final touches to it. It looks smart - lots of nice art on the walls. I would have taken loads of pictures but they were busy, so here's Ade looking quite calm on the inside. Of the shop.
Come on Sony. Don't make it easy for me to think that you're getting slack and flabby. Seems like it's easy to have a pop at you these days.
But here's what happened - I needed to buy a dictaphone, so did my research and found a smart Sony model. Got excited (as I do before any new gadget is about to arrive) and then marvelled at how small it was when it arrived (it's the thing that's sitting on top of the box).
However, the thing I'll remember about my most recent Sony experience is the amount of paper that came in the box. Instructions for the device in pretty much every language you care to mention, plus instructions for the cruddy proprietary software, in all of those same goddamn languages. So much paper - in fact, the only reason for the size of the box was so it could carry all of that paper. Stoopid.
So I was thinking, why don't they just give you a little bit of (paper-based) info upon receiving the gizmo - the basic start-up guide. Then, if you need more info, you could maybe read it on a Sony website, and print it out (in one language) if you really needed it. You'd save money on paper and packaging, perhaps retain those customers who are beginning to think you're being a bit stupid, and not look like you're slaughtering the planet just because you can't be arsed to think of something smarter.
Some people from Terra Plana sent me over some shoes a few weeks ago. Read more about them on their site - they're made out of all sorts of recycled materials and look smart to boot.
Like a girl, I already have too many pairs of shoes, so I thought I'd give these ones away. They've never been worn, are a UK size 12 (Euro 46) and ready to cause a fashion sensation on your street. Oh yes.
I'll send them to the person who gives me the best reason for needing/wanting them.
Sorry. Was looking for a positive, as I really want the 2012 Olympics to be a success. But this dog's breakfast of a logo isn't going to help. I don't want to get into the semantics of it (from the street, appeals to yoof, can be customised (wow)).
It just offends the eye, plain and simple.
There is a petition where you can protest against its selection. Just in case you want to vote.
If I was a bit smarter, I would think of a clever way to talk about the Dunlop branding on the travelators at Heathrow airport.
But it's late and I can't think of anything smart, except for the fact that I associate them with the feeling of glad-to-be-home, and a certain mild and pleasant Britishness.
This is a different feeling to the one that arises from seeing all of those HSBC ads (also at Heathrow). They're inescapable, even down to the fact that they've branded the outside of those walkway connector tunnel things (do they have a proper name?) that take you from the gate to the plane.
The feeling that they induce is called oh-no-i'm-in-a-frickin-airport. And definitely not oh-boy-i-need-to-switch-banks.