The chairman explores some new ways of marketing the company
'I've had this splendid idea for a really topical press release,' said the chairman of the insignificantly sized investment company SmallBlue Planet as we drank our pints of Second Attempt at the bar of the Kane Mutiny. Maybe you know it ' it's a small place quite close to UBS.
'Let me guess,' I said.
'It will start 'Soccer fever is sweeping the globe and the world's spotlight is turning east towards Japan and South Korea.' It will then use this as a tenuous link to either SmallBlue Planet's views on the Far East or the prospects for its Japan, South Korea or, come to think of it, football funds. It will ultimately end up filed in my bin.'
'So you've seen this approach already,' said the chairman disappointedly. 'Once or twice,' I replied. 'I think my favourite so far has been 'As the excitement builds around the prospect of England reaching the quarter-finals, so too does the excitement at Marks & Spencer.' Mind you, the one on how Japanese mortgage trends may not be too far from those in the UK came close and I've still to see anything from those bandwagon jumpers we know and love as the endowment marketeers.'
'So if football's a shade overexposed at the moment, what would you suggest?' asked the chairman. 'Oh, I don't know,' I said. 'Although one or two companies do seem to be having a bit of a thing about pigs at the moment.'
'I think I remember seeing one of them,' said the chairman. 'Something to do with a farmer preparing a runway for three of his porkers and them taking off as a way of saying that Zurich is a fine company and pigs might fly. Do you think that was the impression they were going for?'
'Since we're in the world of advertising, I should think there's probably some subconscious level of double meaning,' I said. 'We're probably supposed to take away the idea that while we originally thought pigs would have to fly before we could feel comfortable about any company associated with the former Allied Crowbar, now we've seen some pigs flying, everything will be OK.'
'And that sort of thing works, does it?' said the chairman. 'I believe it can be highly lucrative,' I said. 'But generally only if you're the company making the ad rather than the one paying for it. Come to think of it, you probably don't do too badly out of acting in an ad either ' take that Barclays one for instance.'
'I'm not sure I'm familiar with it,' said the chairman. 'Then you're in luck, ' I replied.
'By a huge coincidence it's just started on the pub television over there.' 'What a huge stroke of good fortune,' said the chairman turning round to watch.
The TV showed a man walking down a road bordered with snow and surrounded on either side by dark woods. 'Piggy went to market,' said Samuel L Jackson (for it was he). 'He had a chipmunk for a hat and Agadou on the brain. Along the way he met seven matadors who may or may not have been going to St Ives.
'Hello, Piggy,' said one of the matadors. 'That's a very nice hat.' 'Hello,' thought piggy. 'We've got a right one here ' a bullfighter who talks to pigs.' Still he didn't want to be rude ' 'Oink,' he said. 'Squeak,' chimed in the hat for good measure. Piggy carried on his way but was soon attacked by a rogue pack of bad metaphors who turned his chipmunk into a glove puppet and his questionable basis for an advertisement into a non sequitur. 'I really need to get a new agent,' thought Piggy.'
As the camera followed Piggy as he trotted on towards his next role ' presumably as a bacon sandwich ' some sort of caption came up on the screen although by this stage the chairman had turned back to face me.
'You know,' he said. 'I would go so far as to venture there is no bigger fan of Samuel L Jackson's work than I and I will argue to anybody that Pulp Fiction is a minor classic. But after witnessing that, if I ever see him walking in the street I am going to give him such a slap.'
SmallBlue Planet ' Fluent in Plain Speaking.
From June 2019
11 years since launch of three Chartered titles
Hired 200 extra operational staff
Slow progress in improving diversity
Share purchase deal with assets of £28m