Author Archive for: Roger Peacock

Where’s Santa?!

19 Dec
19 december, 2011

There’s no sign of Santa crisscrossing the sky
No sleigh with his reindeer zooming up high
No tracks in the snow
No loud ho, ho, ho!
The world is puzzled and shouting out WHY?

The shops are so worried, their profits plunge down
Children weep sadly, their parents all frown
No fat guy to hug
No white hair to tug
Where’s that loveable clown in his red dressing gown?

The truth is so sad and real hard to mention
But it’s got to be told to release all the tension
After breaking his back
Lifting sack after sack
Old Santa is finally drawing his pension!!

And so is Roger the Dodger.
That’s all folks!

Santa takes lessons from Wall Street

08 Dec
8 december, 2009

With his dwarves on the street and his reindeer all eaten
Santa’s on welfare and is totally beaten
But what can he do?
Then out of the blue
Came a scheme that made his broken life sweeten

 He started a bank to make himself rich
At first things ran smoothly without any hitch
But then it went bust
And crashed in the dust
Which made poor old Santa develop a twitch

 But shortly thereafter cash started to flow
As the large central bank pumped in so much dough
He thinks it so funny
That with taxpayers’ money
Just like fat Wall Street he shouts: ho, ho, ho!!

Merry Christmas!

A moth was the original computer bug!

21 Sep
21 september, 2009

Over the years, the word ”bug” has laid claim to many meanings. Among them are: an order of insects, any small arthropod (cockroach, louse, etc.), a bacteria or virus, a tiny microphone, an enthusiast or devotee, and to annoy someone.

But the meaning of a fault in a machine or software program is most interesting because of its literal derivation. The finding of the first “computer bug” was exactly that. When the Department of the US Navy’s Mark II Aiken Relay was being tested at Harvard University on 9 September, 1945, test personnel found a moth trapped between points at Relay #70, Panel F.

This event was duly entered into the computer log as “First actual case of a bug being found”, and the moth was taped to the log page. Personnel then later described the task of removing the moth as “debugging a computer program.”

An account of this can be found here along with a photograph of the log page complete with the offending moth.

Of course, you can take it for granted that when Pyramid Communication releases its websites, e-shopping, e-training and other internet programs created for its customers, you won’t find a single bug trapped between the bits and bytes!

A sign of the tasteless times!

06 Mar
6 mars, 2009

How often do we hear complaints that fruit and vegetables are so tasteless today? For some, it seems that this lack of the expected offers a great marketing opportunity! Just look at this slogan I spotted on a carton of Canary Islands tomatoes.

Tomatoes with flavour
What next? New car – with engine!! Mountain bike – with wheels!! Blue jeans – with pockets!! Et cetera …

Roger Peacock – with brain (certainly not expected).

Who or whom?

18 Dec
18 december, 2008

Who or whom?

A colleague asked me (an English copywriter) recently about the correct use of ”who” or ”whom” in a sentence. How do you know which one to write?

Basically there are two rules you can apply to help you make the right decision.

1. Find out which is the subject (who) or object (whom) in text by replacing them with “he” or “she” (subject) or “him” or “her” (object) to check for correct usage:

a) Thomas knew who/whom caused the problem.

Replace who with he:

Thomas knew he caused the problem. “Who” is correct

Replace who with him:

Thomas knew him caused the problem. “Whom” is incorrect

b) Who/whom can I contact?

Ask the questions:

Can I contact he/she? “Who” is incorrect.

Can I contact him/her? “Whom” is correct

2. Realize that each verb (with a tense) in a sentence must have a subject.

I will give the book to whoever/whomever wants it.

Break the sentence into two verb parts:

I will give the book … to he/she who wants it.

“whoever” is correct

I will give the book … to him/her who wants it.

“whomever” in incorrect

Santa is broke but eating well!!

18 Dec
18 december, 2008

As a result of the stock market crash
Poor old Santa has lost all his cash
So this year My Dears
Will end in sad tears
Because all he is left with is trash

All his dwarfs he threw out on the street
Where they beg to get something to eat
His reindeers he shot
To cook in his pot
Or make into nice hamburger meat

Dancer stew proved merely nutritious
Prancer soup smelled really suspicious
But some Indian spice
Mixed with basmati rice
Made Rudolf taste simply delicious!

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

28 Nov
28 november, 2008

KISS is good advice for all copywriters, irrespective of whether they are writing for an international or local audience. But a copywriter for global marketing needs to be kissed even more because of the need to use straightforward English and simple sentence construction for those who do not have English as their mother tongue. Therefore, the use of puns and other plays on words is strictly a no-no as they may confuse rather than clarify. Recently I was asked to replace “mitigate” (lessen) and “obscure” (unclear) with simpler words because it was thought that the target group may not understand these words.

About ten years ago the marketing world seemed to change into what I call the Walt Disney society – clients wanted big colorful pictures but little text. My first natural instinct was to react against this, but over time I realized the benefits. For example, short text forces you to concentrate wonderfully on the essence of what you want to say, particularly when it comes to USPs – Unique Selling Points/Propositions. Nevertheless, writing shorter text is more demanding than writing longer text where you can just empty your brain on a subject. Short text takes longer to write and requires greater mental discipline. As Mark Twain said, “If I had more time, I would have written less.”

The reward of concentrating on just one USP was forcefully demonstrated recently by Barack Obama, the next President of the USA. Throughout his campaign he repeated over and over again in speeches his USP: the need for “Change.” This word was also highlighted on banners, posters, and other signage to ram home his message. And it worked!

As target audiences for marketing material are bombarded daily by an overwhelming flood of information via the media, being short and concise in text is vital to grab a reader’s attention. A poet friend of mine once defined poetry as “saying as much as possible in as few words as possible.”

If that’s the case, then copywriters are becoming poets!!