On working for the NIGAZ. Another marketing blunder

nigaz I know I might wake up a bit late, but after thinking that Microsoft Poland’s advertising savvy was one of the worse ever, I just heard of Russia’s Gazprom and Nigeria’s NNPC joint venture. The baby’s name? NIGAZ.

Unbelievable, you may say, but thinking heads of two continents couldn’t even get this straight.

I just finished James Dyson’s great autobiography (Against the Odds), and he moans and bitches about the advertising, PR and marketing community all along. He may have a point… I remember choosing marketing as major out of not knowing what to do with my life. I even got a Masters degree in market research and despised the idea of “creating needs to the customers” (what translated to me as selling people things that they don’t need by making them think that they do.)

It was interesting to learn how they trick us, but the NIGAZ thing is at least, hilarious. Did anyone get paid to come up with the name? I bet so. I have no doubt that Russia’s far right would have loved to do the prank, but I don’t think of them as a cheeky comedians who kill journalist for a laugh.

In any case, Nigger is nothing but a derivation of the Latin word niger, meaning colour black. Instead of finding the term offensive, black people could call us Albus, the Latin word for white. Both true and ingenious, but I am pretty sure that some Caucasians would be offended by that too.

After all, “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”

.calvin

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On Barclays scavenging Lehman’s corpse and tasty entrails

Hobbes, Bob Diamond did it again. Buy on dips, sell on rallies, they recommend you, and it seems that we are enjoying the mother of all deeps. AIG, Lehman Bros, HBOS, you name it, the castle of cards is being blown away by the winds of change. Well maybe the lack of spare change.

Why get the sinking ship if she can be bought empty of wet furniture and expensive staff? For a reported $1.75bn, Bob’s Barclays has pocketed Lehman’s North American investment banking and trading unit, its New York headquarters and two data centres. And still aiming at other profitable Lehman’s pick’n’mix assets. Continue reading

On the Eurovision contest and insecurity and identity issues in the former soviet republics

I remember when I was a kid in school. In some countries, children are meant to wear school uniforms until their late teens. But in Spain, we were lucky enough to see off what we considered an infantile obligation by the end of primary school. I don’t really know what the custom is now, and with the raise of the market economy and affluent societies, probably the tradition has faded away with the raise and raise of the Homo Economicus.

We were told by our parents that it was better to keep our clothing “safe” of pens, mud, and playground rips. We learnt with time that the reason behind was to avoid comparing our outfits with more fortunate classmates and feel inferior or plain poor, raising questions that no parent wanted to face.

Continue reading