When I received an e-mail with the title ‘Nothing Says “‘I Love You” Like A Pink Drill’ I thought it was a stray mail that should have gone in the spam folder with the blue pill offers and the mails that promise to stretch parts of the male anatomy. Either that or it was an interesting reference to obscure sexual practices.
But no — it was a genuine marketing attempt from Screwfix. You have to admire their chutzpah in trying to get mail order DIY muscling in on the Valentines market but I’m quite dumbfounded by who they think might be the recipient of the drill. And, yes, it is bright pink. It can be seen online here along with their other Valentine’s offers.
I’m not sure that any sort of handyman, however in touch with his feminine side, is really ever going to want a pink drill so I’m inclined to think this advert is aimed at men buying Valentine’s presents for women. Apart from the fact that a drill is an ultimate utility purchase that has little romantic interest as far as I can see, this sort of present suggests that the recipient is expected to make good use of it. Rather than put up a few shelves or picture frames on Valentine’s day I can imagine most female recipients wanting to use the present to inflict violence on whoever bought it for them. Maybe I’m being old-fashioned and sexist but I’m not going to try it.
I went to the impressive new Sainsbury’s in High Wycombe and ended up, surprisingly, in the beer department at the weekend. They had a special 3 for £10 deal on bottled Meantime beers. This wasn’t bad value as the beers are normally sold at over £4 each. The bottles are 750ml which makes one wonder if they are trying too hard to compete with wine. I bought two IPAs and one London Porter (the only two available).
Meantime seem to be darlings of the beer writing establishment. However, I found the beers to be quite pleasant but not justifying the hype of some journalists. The IPA was enjoyable but had nothing like the complexity of the cask conditioned Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, for example. The London Porter seemed a little underpowered to me and nothing comparable with something live like the Chiltern Brewery Lord Lieutenant’s Porter.
When it came to bagging up the empty bottles to go to the recycling bin I realised that Meantime must be a marketing-driven operation as they’d pulled the a wine marketing trick. This was something I read about a famous wine warehouse chain who had advised their producers that a good way of upping the price consumers will pay for a wine is to put it in a heavier bottle. Apparently we, as consumers, equate bottle weight with quality and it’s possible that (before duty) more money will be spent on a bottle than on the liquid inside. Meantime’s bottles are almost as heavy as champagne bottles (and they have no reason to be as there is nowhere near the internal pressure in the bottle that champagne has). The bottles are stoppered like sparkling wine too. Apart from trying to con the customer these bottles are very eco-unfriendly.
Overall, they were nice beers but not the classics that the extremely expensive packaging suggested. Maybe Meantime should pay slightly more attention to their beer than their marketing — but I guess that this sort of sublimal marketing is part of their business plan. Often marketing considerations can degrade a beer’s quality as breweries, like a famous one in Kent, bottle their beers in clear bottles despite the adverse effect light can have on a beer’s flavour — at least Meantime’s bottles were the right colour. Even so, it’s funny how some of Meantime’s biggest fans in the press used to criticise lager lover for just drinking the marketing.
Went drinking in Flackwell Heath for the first time ever tonight. Not many people probably go there but many pass close by as it’s very close to the M40 — just behind the woods on the big hill as the road climbs out of the Wye valley at Loudwater (junction 3). The Stag was a decent enough pub and the Crooked Billet down a side road towards Little Marlow was a lovely old-fashioned country pub with an astonishingly well-tended garden — enough bedding plants, even at the start of October, to put a municipal park to shame.
In the pub it was mentioned that White Horse Brewery have a special beer called ‘Giant’. It might not be a surprise to discover that, as the brewery has the ancient Uffington White Horse as its logo, the giant in question is the famously endowed chap at Cerne Abbas. In these days where it is not allowed even to hint to under 25s that alcohol may equate to enhanced sexual success, we wondered whether the brewery would be allowed to use an image of the prehistoric figure on the brewery pump clips. Or would the nation’s twenty-something males be corrupted into thinking that drinking this real ale might have such a startling effect on a part of their anatomy. (It would be interesting to see if their partners might be tempted into buying them a pint to test the drink’s efficacy.) I’d guess that the existing guidelines might prompt the brewers into modifying their pump clip design. I suggested inverting the said organ in Photoshop but another suggestion was to put him in a pair of Y-fronts to be on the safe side. No doubt, if it’s not against the law and the brewery go ahead and display the giant and his colossal manhood then we’ll see Harriet Harman rushing the necessary legislation through the House of Commons as soon as parliament returns.
Of course, if the BMA get their way then all alcohol marketing and advertising would be banned so there would be definitely no pump clip, no matter how graphic.