Treo and Error have a posting recommending Chattermail as a push IMAP client, providing Treo users with a Blackberry-type experience without the embarrassment of looking like a complete hardware gimp. Courtesy of Ian

Banking on blogs and other musings

Boutique bankers Think Equity Partners LLC now have their own blog, not as interesting or articulate as the likes of Andy Kessler it looks like a reasonably well concealed attempt to talk up the market. I am sure the content will improve as time moves on. Thanks to Ian Wood for putting me on to Lifehacker, a light but interesting read and open about its relationship with Sony.According to the US Army, it is convinced that its free to download game America’s Army is a more effective way of delivering its messages to potential recruits than advertising. Where it really gets interesting is in the math, America’s Army costs about six million USD a year, in contrast its advertising budget runs into hundreds of millions. That’s an ROI that PR couldn’t match. More from the New York Times Circuits section.

Finally, Microsoft is having to recall the power cables on over 14 million Xbox consoles due to the real risk of a fire. Seven people have received burns, 30 customers have reported fire damage and 23 have reported smoke damage or localised damage to flooring or entertainment systems. The recall affects over 70 per cent of Xbox consoles in the wild. More details from



Dream Marketing Role on JOTW email list

Unfortunately I can’t speak a word of Dutch.

Marketing Manager, Levi’s Netherlands, Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • To develop and implement a consumer and a trade marketing plan for the Levi’s(R) brand in The Netherlands.
  • To implement programs that support key retailers, in order to achieve country Annual Operating Plan financial and equity targets.

Critical Results

  • Implement the Levi’sR brand ATL pan-European promotional efforts in the Netherlands.
  • Define and implement BTL programs to support country goals:
  • Develop cooperative marketing activities with key accounts to drive equity and sell through.
  • Develop and implement local PR/Sponsorship and presence marketing plan.
  • Manage local agency relationships and monitor their performance.
  • Review impact of consumer facing activities in local market and ROI.
  • Provide youth market insights to influence European Brand Strategy.
  • Ensure sales team is fully aware and equipped to leverage marketing activities into sell-in arguments.
  • Partner with central Trade Marketing team to deliver optimal sell-in tools.
  • Optimize retail marketing resources through the successful implementation of provided retail and visual merchandising materials, through effective partnerships with Sales Team.

Required skills and competencies which could be an asset:

  • Bachelor or Master’s degree in business management, marketing or similar.
  • 5 years experience in FMCG, preferably within an international environment.
  • Below-the-line agency experience a plus.
  • Clear understanding of brand strategy essentials, brand equity concepts and tools of the marketing mix.
  • Appreciation of the role of market research and analysis.
  • Strong affinity with Denim/Jeanswear and fashion.
  • Personal/Professional interest in youth products, and lifestyle.
  • Creative flair and technical skills to carry out local visual production tasks.
  • Analytical skills, both verbal and numerical.
  • Business planning experience.
  • Clear and persuasive communication skills
  • MS Office and internet proficiency
  • Fluency in written and spoken English and Dutch.
  • Working knowledge of French an advantage.


Please send CVs to Chris Brewer,, and cc.

Viral Craic-ers

One of my friends Jonathan sent over a viral link used to promote an independent property advice site, have a look here.

Fellow St Helens Saints fan and well known comedian Johnny Vegas does his sales pitch for their new home strip and makes some pretty outrageous claims in the process, have a look here. (Quicktime recommended)

Cool satire site

Thanks to Dave Farber’s Interesting People email list for this cool site link. Students For Orwell is a satirical site (I hope) that can be found here.

News in brief

Larry Ellison is cutting Peoplesoft jobs like Toshiro Mifune welding a katana in The Seven Samurai. A CBS Marketwatch bulletin just in put the number of employees picking up their P45s at 5,000, though the cuts will leave development and support staff largely unscathed.

The Harvard Crimson has an interview with Nick DePlume aka Nicholas Ciarelli, founder and writer of the ThinkSecret website. According to the article the core of Apple’s legal beef with Ciarelli is that they complain Think Secret is illegally soliciting Apple employees to violate confidentiality agreements and disclosing that information online without Apple’s permission.


Offering tipsters anonymity, the website contact page urges visitors to submit insider gossip. Like most companies I’ve worked at, Apple uses confidentiality agreements to stop the disclosure of confidential information to anyone outside of the company. Apple claims that this has caused the company irreparable harm. Hmmm, what about the countless column inches, speculation, news analysis and debate that a technology company Apple’s size would not usually merit? Secondly, these Apple employees if they are breaking the law, broke it of their own will.


You can read the article online here.


Quicktime Short

Not as one would expect, Rebecca Loos pleasuring farm animals, Farm Sluts takes its name from the vilest of spam emails that often end up in your work email account. Here is a great 17-minute comedy short from American TV channel Fox Searchlight. Quicktime is required for viewing (at 49MB its not dial-up friendly, you’ve been warned).

Season’s greetings from renaissance chambara

Season's greetings from renaissance chambara

Have a happy and peaceful holiday season and start to the new year

Christmas speech by President Mary McAleese

Thanks to the Irish Emmigrant for the Christmas message from President Mary McAleese in both Gaelic and English.


Beannachtai na Nollag on Uachtaran Maire Mhic Ghiolla Iosa

Guim Nollaig mhor mhaith agus athbhliain faoi mhaise ar gach duine.

Agus me ag tosu amach ar threimhse ur mar Uachtaran is mor an phibhleid dom beannachtai na Nollag agus na bliana nua a ghui ar theaghlach na nGael agus ar chairde na hEireann sa bhaile agus thar saile.

Bliain ar leith i saol na hEireann a bhi ann anuraidh, nuair a bhi se d’onoir againn failte a fhearadh roimh deich ballstat ura in Aontas meadaithe na hEorpa. Anois ta cuig stat is fiche againn ag taisteal le cheile ar bhealach na siochana agus an ratha. Le blianta beaga anuas ta cur amach nios mo ag muintir na hEireann ar shiochain agus ar rath na mar a bhi riamh roimhe seo. Naisiun faoi mhaise agus faoi bhlath ata againn, idir eacnamaiocht agus chultur; naisiun og ata ag forbairt go trean, il-chulturtha agus lan dochais. Is e an bhunchloch a bhfuil ar sochai chasmhar togtha air na na grupai pobail deonacha ata fuinniuil agus briomhar ar fud na tire. Is daoine muid a bhfuil an comhbha agus an tuiscint doibh siud ar an ghannchuid go smior ionainn.

Ag an am seo den bhliain, agus cuid mhor againn ag baint tairbhe as an rath agus an raidhse, cuimhnimid orthu siud a bhfuil an lamh chuidithe de dhith orthu le dul i ngleic leis an saol mar is ceart, agus tugaimid an cuidiu agus an cairdeas sin doibh.

Ta muid go mor faoi chomaoin acu siud ata ag obair ar son na siochana ar an oilean seo, agus a bhfuil moran bainte amach acu cheana fein. Siochain agus dea-thoil ata i dteachtaireacht na Nollag le dha mhile bliain. Is e mo ghui go ndeanfar beart de reir an bhriathair sin, go hairithe ag an staid chruogach seo de Phroiseas na Siochana. Go raibh se d’achmhainn againn teacht ar an mhuinin agus ar an chreideamh ata riachtanach chun an cneasu agus an athmhuintearas a thabhairt i gcrich.

Guim dea-chroi ar gach aon duine agaibh agus gra le tabhairt agus le glacadh. Oraibhse ata thios ag am seo na Nollag guim sos on bhroid, misneach agus tacaiocht cairde. Ta me cinnte go mbeidh Santa Claus fial flaithiuil lenar gcuid daoine oga, agus go mbeidh siad sin fial flaithiuil lena cheile chomh maith. Nach e sin croilar na Feile seo, go simpli – a bheith go maith da cheile agus an mor-chroi a chur in ait na feinspeise. Bhi clu agus cail riamh ar mhuintir na hEireann as croi na feile. Coinnimid an traidisiun sin beo um Nollaig, agus cuirimid siochain bhuan agus dea-thoil i reim – lochrann geal dochais i lar an leatroim.

Maire Mhic Ghiolla Iosa

Uachtaran na hEireann


Christmas Greetings from President Mary McAleese

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

As I begin a new term of office, it is my special privilege to extend heartfelt Christmas and New Year greetings to the great Irish family at home and abroad and to all Ireland’s friends.

The past year was an exceptional one in Ireland when history placed us at the centre of the enlargement of the European Union, as hosts of that wonderful Day of Welcomes for the ten new member states. Now the citizens of the twenty-five partner states set out on a shared journey to a peaceful and prosperous future. And we in Ireland know more about peace and prosperity today than at any time in our past. This is a successful and achieving nation with a thriving economy and a vibrant culture. It is a growing nation, young, multicultural, a place of opportunity and real hope. The backbone of our strong civic society is and has always been a unique tradition of robust, energetic, caring communities built and sustained by voluntary effort. We are a people whose innate decency has inspired us always to look out for one another and to work to make sure no-one is left out or left behind.

This Christmas as many of us enjoy the benefits of our remarkable progress let us renew our commitment to one another and especially to those who are still struggling and for whom a helping hand could make the difference between enduring life and enjoying life in all its fullness. We owe a lot to those who continue to build peace on this island and whose efforts have transformed hearts and minds. The central message of Christmas has for two thousand years been a message of peace and goodwill to all humankind and so it is my fervent prayer that reflecting deeply on that message at this crucial time in the Peace Process, we may find the trust and the faith to complete this journey of healing and reconciliation.

I wish for each one of you a season of hospitality and of love both given and received. For those carrying burdens that threaten to overwhelm the joy of this season I hope that with courage and the support of friends you will find a space to let happiness in. I have no doubt that Santa Claus will be good to our marvellous children and that they in turn will be good to each other. And isn’t that the simple essence of this great Feast, the exhortation to be good to one another, to fill the world with generosity instead of greed. The Irish have a legendary capacity for generosity – may each of us wherever we are honour that tradition this Christmastide and make it a time of lasting peace and goodwill, a beacon of hope in a very unequal world.

Mary McAleese

President of Ireland

Site Recommendation

Jonathan who works with me obviously has too little to do because he came up with this interactive gem courtesy of online lads fanzine beer dotcom. (Tip: ask her to kiss her friend) That’s enough of that young man.

World AIDS Day

One of my ex-colleagues Jacqui forwarded to me links to work they had been doing online for World AIDS Day. AIDS as an issue has decreased in importance from the mid to late 1980s when hysteria gripped the western world and ad agencies got fat off contracts for public information films. Hard as it is to believe now, the red top media in the UK openly discussed concentration camps for the infected; don’t you miss Thatcher’s Britain? The Cubans facing an AIDS epidemic with hundreds of infected returning servicemen from the Angolan war actually went ahead with it.

AIDS deaths have declined in the UK due to treatment and the increase in medical knowledge but the number of instances of infection have increased. It is estimated that 50,000 people are infected in the UK.

Worldwide there about 38 million people infected. Anyway, Jacqui wants as many people to see her work as possible and is looking to have people put a button on their emails or websites to encourage visitors (I also expect that it will help crank up the Google page rank, but then I’m cynical).

Thanksgiving: party on and Have an most excellent time

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readership

What the hell is Thanksgiving anyway?

Thanksgiving is an extended weekend festival that was originally celebrated by the white puritans who first colonised America. It is now celebrated on the third Thursday of November. It is a family orientated festival that has its own food including turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. It is a family orientated holiday so people often travel huge distances to be with their family. Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday: the second biggest day for US retail sales in the year, heralding the start of the Christmas shopping season. A number of major Ameican football games are played over the weekend taking centre stage in the TV schedule.

The festival is celebrated in major cities with a parade. More information on Wikipedia

The renaissance chambara guide to dealing with Americans during Thanksgiving

Generally business runs out of steam from lunch time on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday. The Thursday and Friday are public holidays. It often takes until the following Tuesday for them to start getting back into the swing of things. Assume that they are unavailable and plan accordingly. Under no circumstances call them at home, your call will be about as welcome as a surprise tax audit by the IRS.

A couple of articles in the FT

Marketing in crisis: Creative Business has a great leading article based on research conducted by The Marketing Society by McKinsey.

Key highlights include:

  • Marketers are seen as creative but undsciplined
  • In marketing led businesses such as FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), marketing is too important to be left to the marketers
  • Marketing attracts the wrong kind of people
  • Marketers are undisciplined
  • Marketers are not interested in the P&L

So that explains many of the client horror stories that I hear from agency veterans in PR, advertising, design and branding.


The Buy Buy Generation


Young Japanese women are consumers with a high disposable income, publishers target them with ‘product porn’ style magazines focusing on luxury handbags, shoes and clothing. UK publishers are now looking to copy this format. What surprised me about this article is that it did not draw comparisions with the product porn gadget magazines targeted at young men in the UK like Stuff and T3.

Anybody walking the streets of London will have realised young Japanese are the most stylish people on the planet and avid collectors of the latest thing. On a related note Japanese boutique Oki Ni have teamed up with the Adidas vintage connection to do two cool exclusive versions of Adidas’ ‘Torsion Special lo’ trainers here and here. These were the ultimate ravers trainer when they originally came out in the early 1990’s, they fit like a glove, are light, good cushioning, came in a multitude of colours (my originals were predominantly purple) and have a sole that will grip to any warehouse floor.







Back in the day when I started to play out as a DJ many records relied on the brass stab intro to Brass Construction’s Movin’ and it became as sampled as James Brown or George Clinton.

On Friday I did a different kind of move: moving house. The process has been a trial (and if anybody knows where I can get cheap Dexion(TM) racking in the UK email me: renaissancechambara at macdotcom.

A couple of tips:

  • Big Yellow Storage sell box packages that are ideal. Invest in a proper packaging tape gun, I got mine from Rymans
  • Plot your route with The AA Route Planner and do a dry run in a car before the move, I still can’t believe this service is free
  • Rent a large Luton Box van or equivalent, I found Thrifty van hire really good, however their coverage in the UK is not universal

Carroll’s Laws of Moving

  • There is no such thing as too many boxes
  • If at half way through packing you think you will have plenty of space in the van, in reality you will just scrape by
  • Make sure that you bring more cleaning stuffs than you could possibly use, because you will still use them
  • As above for bin bags