Archive | October, 2010

United with Man United Boss

27 Oct

Alex FergusonWhile we usually find ourselves differing in opinion, Sir Alex Ferguson and I technically agree about something! With World Cup star Wayne Rooney publicly announcing his decision to leave Manchester United, but then reversing his decision after concluding that 180,000 pounds a week solves his moral problems with the club, Sir Alex said the following:

‘I think he [Rooney] has realised the enormity of Manchester United.’

Man U is a big club to be sure, but enormity technically means:

  • noun: an act of extreme wickedness
  • noun: the quality of extreme wickedness
  • noun: vastness of size or extent (“In careful usage the noun enormity is not used to express the idea of great size”)
  • noun: the quality of being outrageous (Source:

Alex probably meant to perpetuate the popular confusion of ‘enormity’ and ‘enormousness’, but he’s technically right too. Enormity is certainly how I would describe the aptly named ‘Red Devils’.


Does Medical Aid Cover That?

27 Oct

Medical Aid adAdvertising is largely pictorial these days — because who has the time to read? — and so it stands to reason that an ad stands or falls on the quality of its images.

Some medical aid admin service invaded my internets with this banner ad today, and I was led to wonder what they were thinking?

They’ve ticked the pretty-girl and fashionable-gadget blocks, but this is related to needing medical aid how? Is she supposed to have some kind of neurological disorder that makes her arms stand up and her face do a Joker impression? That certainly is going to be an impediment to browsing through medical aid quotes.

Ungenius in History 2: The Least Successful Saving

22 Oct

LampIn view of our modern preoccupation with all things environmentally friendly, we might side with the Bramber Council who opted to turn off the lights for three days. Unfortunately their motivation was cost-saving, and that was where their complete stupidity got Stephen Pile’s attention:

In 1974 Bramber Parish Council decided to go without street lighting for three days as a saving. Afterwards the parish treasurer was pleased to announce that, as a result, electricity to the value of £11.59 had been saved. He added, however, that there was an £18.48 bill for switching the electricity off and another of £12.00 for switching it on again. It had cost the council £18.89 to spend three days in darkness.

How not to sell stuff

1 Oct

I’ve been shopping the classifieds lately, and as an ex-designer, I’d like to think that I know a bit about presentation. A good photograph, for example, can make all the difference. I find it hard to understand the thinking behind a photo like this:

Golf Ad

Now the thing that’s for sale here is not the meth lab, it’s the golf clubs. They’re just behind the fishing rod, and next to the pile of industrial waste.  They’re mostly cut off at the top there – it’s intentional, I’m sure. Of course, you can’t see what clubs you’re buying, what’s in the set, what condition they’re in… You pretty much can’t see anything that has anything to do with anything that you’re supposed to be paying for.

A good selling policy: if you’re not showing the product, you should be selling the lifestyle. Which is this one again?


Exciting Update!

(Note: Not really an update)

In shopping for a bike to replace my monster BMW (which sadly is not suited for the occasional ride to the shops that will be my lot from now on), I came across this ad, which utterly boggles the mind:

Worst Photo Ever TM

Worst Photo Ever TM

I have not — I repeat not — done anything to this photo. This was entirely the work of the advertiser. I was not aware that anyone made cameras so incapable of recording images. I’ve hand-made more successful pin-hole cameras than this. In an age when nearly everyone’s phone, music-playing device and microwave oven all sport better cameras than this — even ignoring the fact that many people also have cameras — this is inexcusable.

Ungenius in History 1: Worst Bus Service

1 Oct

The Book of Heroic FailiuresThe Book of Heroic Failures by Stephen Pile (1979) is one of my favourites. Subtitled ‘The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain’, it catalogues a magnificent collection of the world’s least successful endeavours. Here’s a peach entitled, ‘The Worst Bus Service’:


Can any bus service rival the fine Hanley to Bagnall route in Staffordshire? In 1976 it was reported that the buses no longer stopped for passengers. This came to light when one of them, Mr Bill Hancock, complained that buses on the outward journey regularly sailed past queues of up to thirty people. Councillor Arthur Cholerton then made transport history by stating that if these buses stopped to pick up passengers, they would disrupt the time-table.