August 2014

Have a break. Have a fish and chip flavoured chocolate bar…

Published on: 25 Aug 2014

Nestlé’s Kit Kat is one of the world’s best selling chocolate bars.

It is estimated that over 400 Kit Kat fingers are consumed every second worldwide and every 5 minutes enough Kit Kat fingers are produced to out stack the Eiffel Tower.

Whilst most people associate Kit Kat with its red wrapper alongside the classic wafer and chocolate taste, Nestlé actually segment the market rather nicely in a number of countries. They produce a range of flavours which are only available in certain countries according to local tastes. In simple terms they are dividing the market (segmenting) and then adjusting the marketing mix accordingly.

In Japan for example, Nestlé recently launched 19 new flavours. These flavours reflect the food specialities of certain districts and are only sold in these specific districts.

For example, you can buy a yubari melon flavour Kit Kat in the Hokkaido district, a strawberry cheesecake flavour in the Yokohama district and a cherry flavour one in the Yamagata district.

Different flavours are available in other countries (segments). For example, peanut butter flavour can be bought in Canada.

Now, originating from Scotland where my favourite dish was crispy cod and chips my obvious question to Nestlé is:

“When will a fish and chip flavoured Kit Kat be released in Scotland?”

I feel it’s only a matter of time so if any marketing executives from Nestlé are reading this then over to you…

Would you accept this money?

Published on: 20 Aug 2014

Now this is an unusual one. It involves an accountant that wouldn’t accept money…

Baverstocks Accountants is a small firm of accountants in the UK that recently fell out with one of their clients.

Their client, a Mr Fitzpatrick, got into a dispute with the accountants and withdrew his business from them with an outstanding debt of £804.

The (ex) client apparently wasn’t overly happy with things and decided to settle his debt by payment in cash. Now this wasn’t 80 crisp £10 notes together with four pound coins. No, he decided to pay his £804 by dropping off five big boxes full of 1p and 2p coins.

I don’t know the exact split of coins but if we assume that the £804 was settled by way of 2p coins this meant that there were over 40,000 coins in the five crates!

Now whilst the disgruntled client was no doubt feeling very pleased with himself that he had settled the debt and left a mess of thousands of coins at the accountants, the accountants decided not to take this sitting down.

As a result, they took Mr Fitzpatrick to court and sued him, arguing that it was illegal to pay off debts higher than £10 with coins.

The accountants were successful and the judge ruled in their favour.

Apparently, under the Coinage Act 1971 (no, I didn’t realise that existed either), copper coins (1p and 2p coins) are only legal tender up to the value of 20 pence, coins worth up to 10p can only be used for payments up to £5 and coins worth more than 10p can only be used payments up to £10.

The end result is that whilst the unhappy client probably felt quite pleased with himself when he dropped off the thousands of coins, he has now been told by a judge that he has to settle the debt correctly (and collected the coins…)

Mobile phone plus food equals…

Published on: 15 Aug 2014

Mobile phones have revolutionized the world. It’s not just communication where they have changed things dramatically but if you think about it then a Smartphone is in effect a computer in your pocket.

Today’s Smartphones are more powerful than some of the computers we saw only a few years ago and are capable of doing lots of things.

So, they have lots of benefits but there’s one particular business that is trying to improve their results by encouraging their customers not to use their phones.

Over in America, a Los Angeles restaurant is offering diners a 5% discount on their meals if they don’t use their phones in the restaurant.

Now, in my mind this is a pretty good idea. I’ve been to some restaurants where it felt that I was the only person that was not speaking or texting on the phone (admittedly that was because my phone battery was dead but even so…).

Eva Restaurant in LA will offer a 5% discount if you hand over your phone for safe keeping as you enter the restaurant.

According to KPCC, owner Mark Gold said “For us, it’s really not about people disrupting other guests. Eva is home, and we want to create that environment of home, and we want people to connect again,” he explained. “It’s about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we’re trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company.”

I think this is a great idea and although I haven’t seen the small print of the terms and conditions of the offer then surely if I could get together 20 mobile phones to check in at the restaurant then 20 x 5% discount = 100% discount = equals free meals?

This EY partner has been a bit naughty.

Published on: 05 Aug 2014

Well it seems like an EY partner was working late with a client and it was more than the audit files that they were reviewing.

office relationsNew York stock exchange quoted Ventas Inc has announced that it has removed EY as their auditor due to an “inappropriate personal relationship” between a (now former) EY partner and Ventas’s (now former) Chief Accounting Officer and Controller, Robert Brehl.

It looks like discussing the audit files wasn’t exciting enough for both of them and one thing led to another and before you could say “prudence concept” they were ripping each other’s clothes off having inappropriate personal relationships.

Now, as any self-respecting finance professional will know, a core characteristic of auditing should be “independence”.

[Words deleted so as not to upset people of a sensitive nature] with the Chief Accounting Officer when you’re an audit partner is clearly not a characteristic of independence.

KPMG have now replaced EY as the auditors of Ventas and my guess is that both the ex-EY partner and Mr Brehl will soon get a reminder of what independence means as if they are married their husband/wife will soon be independent of them.

This is how not to do first aid in the office.

Published on: 02 Aug 2014

Having people trained in the office to undertake first aid is an important health and safety feature.

first aidOrganisations can send people to health and safety training or like the organisation in the video below, can get health and safety professionals to provide on site demonstrations.

Now, whilst most demos will be educational and very professional, as the video below shows, this particular demonstration was more like a slapstick comedy film.

A volunteer was asked to pretend that he was injured but unfortunately when the health and safety “professional” came into the demonstration he accidentally knocked over a shelf which then fell onto the “pretend victim” who suddenly became the “real victim”.

Luckily for all concerned nobody was seriously injured and if you want to see a fine slapstick comedy moment demonstration of health and safety then enjoy the video below.

The ExP Group