Archive for July 2011
Royal Mail wants permission for its postmen and women to be able to leave some post with a neighbour if the addressee is not at home.
It wishes to trial the idea for mail that is too large to post through a letter-box, and for some post that requires a signature.
Special delivery mail will not be included in the planned pilot scheme.
The Royal Mail also wishes to reduce the time in which consumers and firms can make a compensation claim.
Watchdog Consumer Focus said that while some consumers would welcome the idea of being able to have mail left with a neighbour, “worryingly there is no opt-out option”.
“For many people having their mail left with a neighbour they do not know, or might not trust, could open the door to problems,” said its director of post, Robert Hammond.
You mean they do deliveries as well?
Sleepy English town to be entirely surveilled in case criminals forget and drive through it on their way to crimes – Boing Boing
Royston, a small market town of 15,000 people in Herts, England, is being completely encircled with license-plate cameras that will record the comings and goings of everyone who passes in or out of the town, and store them for up to five years. There’s not really much crime in Royston. But the automatic number plate recognition manager for the region says that he will catch lots of criminals and terrorists because they might forget that this one town is totally surveilled and drive through it on their way to and from crimes and atrocities in other towns.
Daniel Hamilton, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It is such an arbitrary and intrusive method. To do this in what is essentially a sleepy market town is ridiculous.
“Logging the movements of tens of thousands of innocent people living in the area is grossly disproportionate to the crime fighting abilities of the system and an abhorrent invasion of people’s privacy.”
Inspector Andy Piper, Hertfordshire Police’s ANPR manager, said: “On first sight, the ANPR coverage of such a low crime town as Royston may seem an unusual choice, but ANPR works both as a deterrent and a detection tool.
“When we look at the bigger picture in terms of Hertfordshire, as well as nationally, the position of the cameras makes a lot of sense strategically to target those criminals travelling into the county on the main roads in that area – not to mention counter-terrorism.”
David St. Hubbins, the lead singer of the classic metal band Spinal Tap, may have been famously addled (not to mention fictional), but he once articulated an immortal truth that’s as relevant to business as it is to rockers releasing albums with controversial covers: There’s a fine line between clever and stupid.
And in an era of social media when virtual mobs can form in an afternoon to attack companies that put a single foot wrong, many marketers are discovering that advertising ideas they thought were impressively clever are actually impressively stupid.
The latest public face-plant unfolded on Wednesday, when the feminine hygiene brand Summer’s Eve pulled a trio of ads for its shower wash and cleansing cloths that bloggers and other online critics had accused of racism. (Each spot featured a talking hand stand-in for the, um, lady part in question, and many people felt both the black and Latina versions were stereotypes.) After two weeks of standing firm, the company finally caved to the pressure, telling AdWeek magazine the negative comments were distracting from the “greater mission.”
There are a lot of missions running aground these days. A couple of weeks ago, the California Milk Processor Board unveiled a campaign that suggested milk could help calm the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. The insight was apparently rooted in science, but the message fell flat in part because it centred on a tongue-in-cheek website – EverythingIDoIsWrong.com – designed to help men avoid the thundering disapproval of PMS-affected women. (One image featured an apologetic-looking fellow holding three large milk cartons and the words: “I’m sorry I listened to what you said and not what you meant.”) It was the thundering disapproval of bloggers and others that finally dunked the milk ads, but the agency responsible for the campaign claimed victory in defeat, saying it had kick-started an important discussion.
Which may be part of the problem: Starting conversations is now one of the most popular ways to engage consumers, because companies believe the approach will turn people into evangelists for their brands. But conversations can turn ugly without warning.