Monthly Archives: October 2012

On Making Marketing Noble

I believe that marketing doesn’t have to be one of the world’s most hated professional. Done correctly, I believe it plays an essential role in helping people live their lives to the full.

Here’s a short talk I gave recently at Silicon Beach sharing my views on the responsibility sitting on every marketer’s shoulder to make marketing noble again.

Silicon Beach 2012 – Allister Frost from Wise Old Uncle on Vimeo.

Typesetting and paste-up, 1970

If we want to understand the future, it helps to appreciate the past. Check out the painstaking efforts required to create a page of newspaper or magazine print in the 1970’s. Today anyone can complete this task in a matter of minutes with a low cost computer and home printer, but we know that even this process will almost certainly be even simpler in the future. That’s the thing about technological progress, it just gets faster and faster. We’d better just get used to it.

It’s time to Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online cartoon

It’s Get Safe Online Week and a timely reminder to all of us to think again about how we protect our personal data and identities on the Internet.

If you’ve ever had to change a password because you realised or feared it had been compromised in some way you’re not alone. A new study shows that as many as 4 in 10 adults in the UK have had to change all their online passwords at some time to foil crooks who had stolen their identity. But many victims are too embarrassed to speak out about their experience so their stories often go untold leaving others at risk of encountering the same threats.

It’s time to take action, for yourself and your friends. If you’ve ever been a victim of viruses, email or social media hackers, fraudulent selling or online credit card fraud, please tell others about your experience. The Get Safe Online campaign call this ‘Click and Tell’ and it’s the very best way to learn from each others’ experiences. With the average successful online attack costing the victim £247, the best time to get prepared is now, before the bad guys find you.

For information on how to get safe online visit

This subject, and particularly the issue of safeguarding children’s safety online, is close to my heart. I continue to give talks to groups of parents of schoolchildren to help them understand the online world our children are growing up in and ensure they take steps to make it safer. To find out more about this, please get in touch.

How not to do Social Media by Thomas Cook

This is a lesson in how not to do social media marketing. Thomas Cook (the mammoth holiday tour operator) was too wrapped up in itself to spot a glaring opportunity right before its eyes.

Read through the following screenshots from Facebook and keep going to the end where you’ll see the stark difference another travel company’s approach:

Thomas Crooked

Who wins? Both and Thomas Cook (the guy, not the mammoth holiday tour operator).

Need proof? Here’s Mr Thomas Cook enjoying his complimentary Paris holiday, courtesy of

Thomas Cook in Paris

I know which company I’d rather book my next holiday with.

When prices don’t look like prices

What do you make of the prices on this bar menu?


The most obvious thing you’ll have spotted is that there’s no currency symbol against the prices and the amounts are shown to only one decimal place or none at all if a round number.

It’s a strange phenomenon, but presenting your prices in a way that means they don’t look the way we expect prices to be is a great way to disarm your buyers’ normal price sensitivity.

Restaurants, bars and other leisure providers routinely present prices in this way as it helps desensitise us from our normal judgemental state when buying, allowing us to live more in the moment of enjoyment rather than having to worry about whether we’re getting value for money or not. After all, when we’re sitting down to dinner in a nice restaurant, the last thing many of us want is to not have what we fancy from the menu because it’s too expensive. Restaurateurs know this and cleverly use different pricing formats to stop us thinking about money so we can focus instead on enjoying ourselves (while spending as much as possible!)

Of course, the bill inevitably arrives at the end of the meal, complete with currency symbols, decimal places and those “optional” extras! Next time you’re enjoying a night out take a look at the menu and see how your host is helping you have a great night out while also helping themselves.

Free guide – 8 rules for the social web

We’ve just published a new document entitled ‘8 Rules for the Social Web’.

It summarises 8 key principles that we think are universally important for any organisation looking to unlock more commercial value from social media sales and marketing programmes. Take a look and please let us know what you think.

(or download the 2.5MB .pdf from the Free Stuff section of our site)

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