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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 5/11/2004We' ve had some daft things through the post here. A couple of years ago around this time, we got a set of loose fireworks as part of a PR campaign.

Friday 5/11/2004
We' ve had some daft things through the post here. A couple of years ago around this time, we got a set of loose fireworks as part of a PR campaign. We're not sure how legal that is -- oh, who are we kidding, we know exactly how illegal that is. But the office is festooned with cuddly chameleons, stuffed penguins, comedy hats, half-empty bottles (they don't stay that way for long), novelty mouse mats, novelty mice, half-full USB key drives (this year's toy of choice) and many other PR gizmos ranging from useful to tasteless.

T-shirts are a perennial favourite. The best ones are big, black and have discrete logos -- which is why most of them are small, white, festooned with ugly designs and useful only as underwear. However, I have in front of me what must be the least good idea in promotional T-shirts. Ever.

It comes from -- no, I'm not going to say who, because then they would have won. A company who has been 'Chosen as Strategic WLAN Partner for by O2", whose investment "Further Validates XXX's Business Model". There's a load of guff about it being a 'leading network operator', 'meeting evolving needs of customers', 'delivering fully integrated solutions' and so on.

What's that you say, Skippy? Sounds like a classic press release, indistinguishable from thousands of others issued by leading companies meeting the evolving needs of their customers by delivering fully integrated solutions? Why, so it is. But what makes this press release different is that it doesn't come with the promotional T-shirt -- it comes on the promotional T-shirt. Printed on.

Imagine the joy of waking up in the morning to find your partner snoozing away besides you, clad in the words of Fred Bloggs, CEO, saying "We have met O2's demanding requirements and delivered on time and on budget a key component of…" and so on, and so forth. Worse what if you were knocked over by a bus? It's one thing to have dirty grundies -- the doctors will have seen far worse -- but what will the poor nurse do when exposed to support for multiple and innovative authentication options? You'll be back on the street in seconds to gasp your last breaths away in the gutter.

So, thanks but no thanks, Mystery Company. Perhaps we'll clean the windows with it, or soak up the cat's mistakes. Next time, something snappy by John Wilmot would go down far better.