Sunday, 22 April 2007

The Wasted Money of Marketing

When I was a young cub reporter in Stockport, I remember the day my editor at that time, Wally Green, took me aside to discuss a recent report I'd written on a house fire. "Blunt!" he said, "Your writing is like advertising. And you know what they say about advertising?"
As a young, wet-behind the ears journalist, I didn't - but I was keen to learn.
"They say that 50% of the money spent on advertising is wasted. But no-one's sure which 50% it is."

I took it as the kind of mercurial compliment a person of Wally's brusque nature might hand to an up-and-coming writer of the new generation.
It was while I was reflecting on the new campaign by the Tripe Marketing Board that Wally's wise words came to mind. On paper, it looks like a sound strategy: tripe sales have been in steady decline in the UK since 1953. Year on year slippage has reached such a level that there is hardly a butcher left in Oldham now who stocks the stuff.
It's a tough one to crack. I discussed the dilemma with my son, Jasper, over a pint or two of Black Sheep Ale at a hostelry not far from Saddleworth the other day.
"Pa," he said, "it won't work. I'm from the generation that thinks the Welfare State was invented expressly so I would never have to eat tripe."
He may well have a point. Still, as someone who has fond memories of early married life with Mrs Blunt, and our Saturday afternoons boiling up the unguous mass of white blubber in a foul-smelling kitchen, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic for the passing of tripe.

Let's hope that the billboard campaign cooked up by the boys at the TMB works then!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reason for the drop in tripe sales in the UK stems from an story I wrote when 16 at Blackpool Grammar School. It was about an imaginary firm called United Oceangoing Tramways and Tripe Tanneries. My whimsy was that this was the first of the great international trading conglomerates which had become big on the heels of a discovery of a method of tanning tripe so that it could be used as a miracle fabric, Tripon, which was taken up by fashionable ladies. Tripon could be spun so finely that it could be used to make unladderable stockings. I was very interested in ladies stockings [preferably with legs in them] when 16.
Please do not say this must have been an offal story.