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.”



On saying NO to paperless banking, don’t fall in the guilt trap

As a principle, I refuse to change to paper-free statements, not only because the banks themselves don’t accept online statement print-outs as proof of address (ironic!) but because again, I don’t get anything out of it other than feeling less guilty for saving a piece of a tree. But let’s remember, it is the banks who want me to feel guilty about not saving paper and then they turn and mail me unsolicited advertising printed in non-recyclable paper.

I never felt guilty for getting paper statements, as a matter of fact, since I am a geek and keep my accounts to the minute using MS Money software, I never even looked at them. But then, I started having problem after problem after problem with banks and it became clear that keeping the paper statements was a sensible thing to do.

A good old marketer trick, is to create a need that didn’t exist before, and then harvest the profits. The immorality of using fear, guilt or customer stupidity as a means to higher corporate profit lead me to get my BA in Market Research and move out of the industry (not without the knowledge learnt and a permanent interest in the matter though).

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On how China tries to curb increasing inflation with a dose of painful realism

We have been told that China Co. has been exporting deflation in consumer goods for years. However, as resources got scarcer and more and more expensive in dollar terms, inflation –the devil of the year- started kicking in and reaching unsustainable levels.

At the same time, countries with oil cap prices were killing their smaller and making survival extremely difficult to their major players.

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On European fuel prices and the lessons that OPEC countries can learn from Norway (II)

Am I missing something ? Hugo uses his petro dollars to fuel his socialist Bolivarian agenda.

I felt that Alfie’s comment demanded further discussion.

True, Chaves fuels Bolivarian agendas -whatever that may mean- like Arab Sheiks use their petro dollars to increase their camel collection, and UAE pays for expensive medical health abroad for its citizens instead of nurturing local education and medicine.

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On European fuel prices and the lessons that OPEC countries can learn from Norway

Let’s be the devil’s advocate for a minute. I was perusing the other side of the coin, and I found this interesting marketing act put together last year by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

As unlikely as it may sound, if transport and fishing workers united their arguments with OPEC’s against the European governments, not only they would raise their case more strongly, but it would remind us of USA supporting Sadam or financing and training Osama and friends in Afghanistan. Continue reading

On the future doom and gloom of the oil snatchers, we haven’t seen anything yet

Hobbes, the crude oil spot price for a Brent barrel of crude closed last Friday (last Monday was bank holiday in the UK) at $132.73. And yesterday London got gridlocked courtesy of hundreds of lorry (truck) drivers. Toyota would make a fortune out of a successful hybrid truck. So far FedEx has the largest fleet of hybrids in the world with a “massive” 95 vehicles at present. I make it that traditional British hauliers are not interested in paying the premium price.

Pundits have started talking about oil as the new bubble in financial markets. The Daily Telegraph reports that even George Soros thinks that:

Speculators are largely responsible for driving crude prices to their peaks in recent weeks and the record oil price now looks like a bubble […].

Well, coming from the king of speculators, we will be very careful to panic as of yet. Especially when he expects oil prices to collapse when the US and UK fall into recession.

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On oil price at $200 and business as usual

The guys at Goldman Sachs have done it again. They raised the benchmark for the oil barrel to $200. GS’s boys believe that due to inadequate supply growth oil prices are increasingly likely to hit between $150 and $200 a barrel over the next six to 24 months.

Last year the markets thought they were crrrrazy when forecasting $100 a barrel. And now we are playing around $122.

Crazy Hillary and McCain’s gas tax holidays aside, the slowing of the US machine is not enough to balance the raising oil needs of energy inefficient and hungry China and India. Continue reading