I feel compelled to write about my latest experience of being ripped off. I have just bought new ink cartridges for my Lexmark X1190 printer. The Lexmark branded black and colour cartridge pack, purchased at Tesco, just cost me £42.97 and I am feeling positively abused. How can they be so expensive, there’s so little ink in them?
I’ll admit that the cartridges were a distressed purchase – the ink ran out whilst I was preparing some research materials for an upcoming interview. I didn’t have the time to shop around so I just went to my local supermarket for succour (and I usually trust Mr. Tesco not to con me too badly).
I noted that Tesco sells its own variant of the Lexmark cartridges but they were no cheaper – so much for “every little helps”!
Buying cartridges reminds me of buying razor blades. When you buy your Gillette Fusion or Wilkinson Sword Hydro, you usually fail to appreciate just how much it will cost you to replace the blades. I usually end up buying a new razor instead and therein lies a possible solution!
I have recently seen a TV advert, for a Canon printer I think, where the claim is made that the printer has the cheapest ink costs. It could be worth investigating buying a whole new printer. With my environmental hat on, I usually object to discarding fully functioning equipment in order to buy new but on this occasion I might just have to take that hat off.
I have made myself a promise though – I am going to shop around for a better and cheaper solution and the internet is going to help. If, treasured reader, you have a sensible and polite solution to offer I’d be pleased to hear from you.
I was reading the Guardian at the weekend (regular readers will now know that this is my preferred paper) and was particularly interested in a well written article by Al Murray (p42) about the ongoing Twitter joke trial (as it has been dubbed).
A chap called Paul Chambers had been convicted and was appealing the conviction for “sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an independent, obscene or menacing character contrary to the Communications Act 2003”. Chambers joked about blowing up an airport!
Al Murray thinks that the whole trial is nonsense and rightly points out that the law isn’t set up to handle humour at all. I reflected on this for while and then thought about the challenges that humour can pose for marketing let alone the law.
The challenge with humour is that it relies on the receiver being able to appreciate that something is meant to be funny. The difficulty comes when that appreciation is affected by age, culture, country, social status, gender, religion etc. In reality it helps if the receiver is on the same wavelength as the comedian. So much about successful humour comes down to context and body language – that’s easy in a theatre or on the television but how does that work in print or on Twitter?
When writing marketing material, one has to be worried about using humour just in case it is misinterpreted. If you can’t be sure that it will be received in the way you intend, it is perhaps not worth using it as a communication tool. It is easy to offend someone especially if your message is being widely broadcast. And, these days negative feedback will be quickly apparent given the widespread use of social media.
I went to Jongleurs in Covent Garden in September 2011 and watched some comedians including a performer called Paul Choudhry. Now this Paul used a lot of material about the war on terrorism and talked about his Muslim brothers. His material could easily be perceived as offensive when out of context. As an Asian comedian in a comedy club, he was entitled to work with some emotional subjects and was funny (and certainly not dangerous). Nobody could sensibly claim he was a terrorist!
Now terrorism is obviously the #clear and present danger (the # by the way apparently indicates a joke) but the shame is that humour can get clamped down upon when the subject matter is far less inflammatory. Here’s an example:
Yoplait used to advertise Frubes with the tag line “rip their heads off and suck their guts out”; it was good creative, my kids laughed at it and I liked it too. Complaints received have resulted in the tag line being replaced with “rip their tops off and eat them all up” That’s a shame in my opinion; the creative has been watered down and simply has less impact. My kids currently 8 & 4 have even noticed and complained about the change. But hey, it’s a children’s product and you can understand why Yoplait was concerned about offence caused and acted upon the feedback it received.
So the moral of the story is that humour is to be handled with care!
Here’s a joke, please let me know if it offends you! What do you call a bloke without an ankle……………………Tony!
THIS IS A JOKE AND IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND ANYONE WITH SPECIFIC BIOMECHANICAL CHALLENGES.
Over and out!