02 June 2011

...post it note

If you were to stick a stamp on a five pound note and drop it in the post box addressed to somebody, what would happen?

Curiosity, if it hasn't already killed the cat, also enjoys walking the dog somewhere new and exciting. The threat of feline death often nips creativity in the bud, but not on this occasion. After passing a post box on a journey into town, my mum Pixie popped a cap in conventional proverbs and let her imagination run away with her. The only way to find out the answer to the 'fiver-in-the-post' question was to do it.

A straw poll of family and friends had the outcome divided, with honesty prevailing on one side, and the worst of human nature five pounds better off on the other. Pixie's creative process involved a small revision of the existing plan. Instead of 'vandalising' a Bank of England note with address and sticky stamp, she would place the fiver inside a transparent envelope. Money in plain sight.

First class and dropped straight in the box, she sent three in total: one to my nephew Jack in Norwich; one to my niece Chloe in London; and one to me in Eastbourne. A handful of people thought she'd lost the plot, others thought it was pretty cool, whilst I sat in wait, maybe a little bit TOO excited by the experiment.

Do you like a gamble? I know I do. We know Pixie certainly does (in fact, my mum asked that if the money turns up, I should buy a scratchcard with it). But would you place £15 on seeing the best in human nature, like my mum has? Or would you bet a person wouldn't steal it from fear of being caught? It's a curious proposition. Even if the package turns up safe and sound, we'll never know what drove the cash along or whose hands moved it through the Royal Mail delivery network. Maybe a similar sense of fun and curiosity could help it on its journey...

Then guess what?

It arrived. They all arrived. In Norwich, London and Eastbourne. All intact and un-tampered with. Except mine. Royal Mail had placed the envelope in one of their own transparent bags, made for when post has been damaged and they want to keep the contents safe.

 It's a little clue as to how staff considered this strange delivery, by acknowledging the best and the worst in people. Basically, We know what's going on here. We'll do our BEST to prevent the WORST. So with the package dropping on the doormat, the worst was indeed prevented, and hopefully, my mum's curiosity satiated, before she starts distributing fifties to every member of an alarmingly big family.

Fun whilst it lasted, now I can go off and get that scratchcard. I bet £5 I don't win.

...eating for two

01 June 2011

...the power of copy

Check out the back of this cereal box. I was enjoying a bowl of Weetabix as the day began and, reading its packaging, was reminded how a little bit of copywriting can go a long way in helping people understand what a product is doing without actually telling you what a product is doing.

What Weetabix want to tell me this morning is they're supporting local farmers. The trouble is, anyone in the UK could be reading the box right now, and locality is a relevant thing. So instead of putting themselves in a tight spot, some marvellously marvelistical words are crafted into positively positive, rustic sentences, to make us feel like we're helping our beleaguered farming brothers just down the road, over there, by the oast house. This Weetabix tastes nice and God, I feel really good about myself.

Just a few questions and I'll be on my way.

Where are the farmers local to?
Where is Weetabix country?
Where is the heart of England?
Would I feel as empowered as a citizen that 'thinks global, acts local' if I thought the cereal I eat was 'British' rather than 'local'?