Published on: 21 Feb 2018
It will hardly come as a surprise to you but people aren’t sending as many postcards from holidays as they used to.
Back in 1997 about 70% of people in the UK who went on holiday sent a postcard home to family or friends. That figure has now fallen to 28%.
There are two main reasons for the reduction.
The first is the impact of the selfie generation and the increase in social media. People are posting pictures of themselves on sites such as Facebook or Instagram instead of sending a postcard. After all, why send a postcard of a generic view of the place you’re visiting when you can post a nice selfie of you on holiday on social media.
The second reason for the reduction is the change in the holiday habits of a lot of people. The rise of low cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryan Air has meant that people are taking more shorter breaks rather than an annual 2-week holiday.
If you’re on a short break of a few days why bother sending a postcard from a short break as you’ll be home before the post card arrives.
Unsurprisingly there have been some corporate casualties as a result.
J Salmon is Britain’s oldest publisher of postcards.
Actually, I should rephrase that and say that J Salmon was Britain’s oldest publisher of postcards as it recently stopped producing postcards.
The company has been run by the same family since 1800 but recently stopped producing postcards due to lack of demand.
At the moment the company is still trading and is selling diaries and calendars.
I wish them well but when you think about it, people stopped sending postcards because they could take photos on their phone and post them on social media.
The question is how many people keep their diaries and calendars on their phone?
Will diaries and calendars go the same way as postcards?
Published on: 09 Feb 2018
Businesses can pay significant amounts of money for celebrities to endorse their products.
For example, the American singer and actress Selena Gomez is reportedly paid USD 550,000 per post that she promotes to her 133 million Instagram followers. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese footballer on the other hand “only” receives USD 400,000 per promoted post to his 120 million followers.
But not everyone is happy for famous people to be associated with a product.
Charles de Cazanove is a Champagne house that was founded by Charles de Bigault de Cazanove way back in 1811.
The Cazanove brand is now owned by the GH Martel Group and they have launched their latest Champagne vintage in a promotion with Clara Morgane. The champagne is imaginatively called “Le Champagne by Clara Morgane” and sells for €50 a bottle.
So, do you know who Clara Morgan is?
If you don’t and you’re a lady then ask your husband or boyfriend if he knows who Clara Morgan is.
If he does know who she is then there is probably another question you should ask him as Ms Morgan is famous as an adult movie actress.
Although Ms Morgan now performs with her clothes on (she’s a singer), it’s not good enough for a descendant of the founder of the Cazanove brand.
Count Loic Chiroussot de Bigault de Cazanove, who apart from needing a very long business card, isn’t happy that his family’s name is being associated with an adult movie star.
He reportedly said that “I am truly shocked. It’s simply scandalous. How could anyone associate the name of my illustrious family to that of Clara Morgane? It’s inconceivable.”
Although the family sold the brand back in 1958, the Count has been reportedly getting lawyers to try to remove his family’s name from the Clara Morgane vintage.
Either way, with all this publicity I’m sure the GH Martel Group are drinking to the success…
Published on: 02 Feb 2018
That’s an interesting question and I’m sure that along with most other professions there are people you can trust and people you can’t trust.
If I asked the question about trusting accountants to the rock band Deep Purple though I’m pretty sure what answer I’d get.
Dipak Shanker Rao looked after the accounts of Deep Purple for more than 20 years.
In fact, to be fair when I said that he “looked after” the accounts maybe I should have said that he siphoned off more than £2 million of the band’s money without their permission.
Mr Rao has admitted “borrowing” at least £2.27 million from two of the companies within the Deep Purple empire. HEC Enterprises and Deep Purple (Overseas) owned the copyright to a lot of the band’s songs but the companies went into receivership in 2016.
Out of the £2.27 million borrowed by Rao, only £477,000 has been recovered. Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover (members of the band) are suing Mr Rao for up to £4 million.
In the meantime, Mr Rao has been struck off as an accountant and banned from managing or controlling a company until 2028.
One of Deep Purple’s most famous songs is called “Mistreated” and I’m sure that they feel that way at the moment…
Published on: 28 Jan 2018
KPMG UK released their results last month for their most recent accounting period and they showed a fall of 10% in pay for the KPMG partners when compared to the previous year.
Although the firm’s revenue rose by 5% to £2.2 billion, it’s profit fell to £301 million.
The firm wrote off a number of technology investments.
KPMG, like the rest of the Big 4, have invested heavily in technology companies in an attempt to stay at the forefront of technology.
Unfortunately for KPMG, not all of their investments were successful. Bill Michael, the Chairman of KPMG, highlighted one investment that hadn’t done so well – KPMG had committed £3 million to Flexeye, a tech company that analyses large amounts of data and it hadn’t proved to be the wisest investment.
Whilst profits fell, it hasn’t all been bad news for KPMG as their audit practice grew by 10%.
Back to the average pay of the KPMG partners though and although their average pay fell by 10% I’m sure that the partners will still be able to afford to buy a sandwich for lunch.
The average pay for the KPMG partners was £519,000 each.
That’s not too bad is it?
But how does it compare with the average pay from the partners of the remaining Big 4.
The most recent reported results show the following average pay per partner:
Deloitte – £865,000
EY – £677,000
pwc – £652,000
It looks like Deloitte partners will be having the more expensive sandwiches for lunch.
Published on: 19 Jan 2018
The Swedish furniture giant IKEA has started the year with a splash by running a magazine advert that offers a discount on a baby’s crib to pregnant mothers.
Now, whilst in itself there’s nothing unusual about offering promotions to certain segments of the market, what is unusual is how the promotion is claimed.
The magazine advert ran in an issue of the Swedish lifestyle magazine Amelia, and the full-page advert read: “Peeing on this ad might change your life.”
Yes, there was a patch on the magazine which was an actual pregnancy test. If you peed on it and were pregnant then a discount code would be revealed which would provide you with a discount on the IKEA crib.
A couple of points spring to mind.
Making sure you’ve finished reading the magazine before trying to reveal the discount code is one of them and also an online order would probably be better than taking in the “code voucher” to your nearest IKEA store is the second.
Having said that you have to admire the ad agency behind the novel idea.
Akestam Holst were the ad agency that came up with the idea and they told adweek that “In order to make the interactive functions of this ad work in reality, we had to make several technical advancements. The pregnancy test strip was used as a starting point, which relies on antibodies that bind to the pregnancy hormone hCG, resulting in a color change. For scaling up of this technique and adopting it to the physical format of a printed ad, Mercene Labs has used their experience in development of surface active materials for microfluidics and medical diagnostics. Careful selection of materials, together with a controlled capillary flow have been crucial for the success of this project. Technical advancements made during the work with this campaign have the potential to improve medical diagnostics.”
So all in all, a very unusual advert and whilst some people thought it was a hoax, it is true and the pregnancy test (and discount code) both work.
In summary, it is true and it is not taking the ….
(Let’s just say it’s not taking the mick).
Published on: 14 Jan 2018
It’s always best to keep on top of your tax affairs. Submit your returns on time and make sure they are completed accurately to the best of your knowledge is the best approach.
Not everyone agrees with this approach though and millionaire businessman Peter Duffield from the UK took a different approach.
As a result, he’s currently serving a 4-year jail sentence after failing to pay £1.3 million in taxes but it looks as though things may be getting worse for him.
The background to the case is that he failed to submit a single tax return for 7 years. He told investigators from the tax authorities that he wasn’t a “paperwork person”. To be honest, that isn’t a great excuse.
He was jailed for 4 years but further investigation by the tax authorities has found that he failed to declare profits on the sale of 3 properties and as a result underpaid tax.
This was a pretty significant amount of tax that was underpaid and a confiscation hearing at Central Criminal Court ordered him to pay £1,232,189 within 3 months.
The unfortunate thing for Mr Duffield is that if he doesn’t pay the additional money within 3 months then he will have to serve an extra 8 years in jail.
The even more unfortunate thing for Mr Duffield is that if he doesn’t pay the additional money within 3 months he will be jailed for 8 years and then after the additional 8 years he will still owe the money to the tax authorities.
In conclusion, it’s always best to stay on top of your tax affairs…
Published on: 05 Jan 2018
January is one of the most popular months for people looking to lose weight. New Year resolutions often revolve around getting fit or dropping a kilogram or 2.
Losing weight can be big business for companies.
Weight Watchers is one of the largest and most successful companies involved in the business of losing weight. They were founded more than 50 years ago in the living room of entrepreneur Jean Nidetch in Queens, New York and since then have grown to a huge company.
They now have over 1 million active members who attend approximately 32,000 Weight Watchers meetings around the world.
That’s a big organisation and they have just signed up a big star to help with their promotions.
The American music producer DJ Khalad is big in a number of ways.
Firstly, he is one of the largest stars on social media (he has nearly 4 million Twitter followers).
Secondly, he is large in terms that he is overweight.
DJ Khaled isn’t alone in trying to lose weight in 2018 but what makes him different is that Weight Watchers have signed him up as a social media ambassador. He will be paid an undisclosed sum to follow the new Weight Watchers Freestyle programme and will document his progress on his social media accounts.
This is obviously good news for Weight Watchers because it will be great publicity if he loses weight (we’ll ignore for now what happens if he doesn’t lose weight…).
The market also thought it was good news as the shares in Weight Watchers shot up 8% on the New York stock exchange the day his appointment was announced.
Maybe it’s best not to go out for a big meal to celebrate though…
Published on: 14 Dec 2017
There’s an interesting movement in the types of planes which the large airlines are demanding.
10 years ago, the Airbus A380 or the “Super Jumbo” as it’s known, was launched with the aim to transform the airline industry by enabling up to 868 people to fly in one plane.
But things are changing and the anticipated demand for the superjumbos hasn’t materialised. Airlines are instead preferring smaller but more efficient twin-engine planes.
The most number of A380s that Airbus produced in a year was 30 but the order book has collapsed. Last week it was reported in Euronews that Airbus are exploring plans to cut A380 production to 6 aircraft per year.
Another company that has been affected by the drop in demand for A380s is the leasing company Amedeo.
Amedeo’s business model involves them buying aircraft from the likes of Airbus and Boeing and then leasing those aircraft to airlines.
Amedeo for example has purchased four A380s from Airbus and leased them on to Emirates.
The challenge for Amedeo though is that they have eight A380s in their portfolio and have another twenty on order from Airbus. Given that the demand for A380s from airlines has dried up, that’s not particularly good news for them.
However, they have come out fighting and announced that they will be launching their own airline.
Instead of simply leasing the plane out, the new business model will involve them running things as an airline. They will offer seats to existing carriers who will provide the ticketing service but Amedeo will operate the flight using their own cabin crew.
As well as offering the flights to existing airlines, Mark Lapidus the chief executive of Amedeo raised the prospect of providing flights for potential partners such as Airbnb.
Time will tell how successful this will be but it certainly is a novel approach to trying to find a solution to what to do to address the fall in demand.
Published on: 27 Nov 2017
It may be stating the obvious but if you’re a retailer in a shopping centre you’ve more chance of making a sale if people are in the shop.
Retailers in shopping centres face a number of threats. Some of these are a more recent phenomenon (e.g. the rise of internet shopping) whilst others have been around for a number of years.
One of these threats which has been around for a while is something which I’m sure a number of our male readers can sympathise with.
Let me ask the male readers out there who are married a question – have you ever gone shopping with your wife and at the start of the shopping trip things were going well but it soon descended into a long and windy journey through shops which to the male eye looked very similar but to the female eye were all different and offered new and exciting opportunities to try new items of clothes?
With the wife enjoying every moment but the husband getting more and more frustrated it is only a matter of time until stress levels rise, an argument ensues and the shopping trip is cut short.
A number of shops have chairs for the men to sit on and magazines to read but over in China, Shanghai’s largest shopping centre has come up with a novel way of keeping men occupied so that the wives are free to shop without the husbands getting bored.
Global Harbour shopping centre has introduced “Video Caves”. These are glass booths with a comfortable chair, a games console and a large screen. Men can be left to play computer games free of charge whilst their partners can shop to their heart’s content. The booths are soundproof so the computer games won’t disturb the other shoppers.
All in all, a great idea to keep the both the “lady shopper” and the “dragged behind man” happy but is there a potential problem?
After all, if you ask a lady how easy it is to get her other half off of a computer game when he’s nearly reached his top score, will we start to see women looking bored whilst waiting for the husband to finish his video game…
Published on: 20 Nov 2017
Language schools are big business. Research from the British Council predicts that more than 1.9 billion people will be actively learning English around the world by 2020. That’s a lot of people but will a recent bit of technology result in a change in the number of people learning another language?
A small US start-up company has recently launched a translation earphone.
Waverly Labs has introduced technology that may be the first step in making the need to learn another language redundant in years to come.
They have launched a translation device which is similar to a wireless earpiece. The earpiece is linked to an app on a mobile phone and when one person speaks in for example French the words are processed by software so that the words are played back in the earpiece in another language such as English. The impressive thing is that the translation is in real time with only a few seconds lag.
The first batch of headsets will support English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish languages.
More languages are expected to be rolled out soon.
Whilst there are already translation devices on mobile phones such as Google Translate, the Waverly Labs product is the first that offers a discreet earpiece to translate so that a face to face conversation can be held without having to look at your mobile phone to understand what is being said.
The earpieces can be pre-ordered for $249 and could well be the first step in terms of making face to face communication between different languages a lot easier.
All in all, very nice.
Or should I say, très agréable, sehr schön, molto bella, muito agradável, muy agradable.