Scanning for Bargains

Along with the Webby Awards this year comes a document from the Creative Group setting out some of the clear trends energing in new technology. This year, a couple of the predicted trends include:

Powerful new search services that will transform shopping – online and off. No longer just for chatting, your cell phone will become a bargain-hunting tool with the addition of barcode scanners. Scan a book or CD at the shops or even at a friend’s home and your phone will tell you where you can find it cheapest online.

For those in need of immediate gratification, a boom in local search engines will provide bargain hunters with the best prices at nearby stores by simply plugging in a zip code and the name of the product you are looking for.

And when you can’t stand it any more and you’re overwhelmed by bleeps, bings and rings they say that addiction to IM, mobile email, and cell phones is leading to CDD, or Communications Deficit Disorder. In 2005, they predict gadgets, new workplace policies and a little common sense will come to the rescue. So – watch for keychain devices that can turn off any TV anywhere (these are actually available now and I want one! SB.) and for theaters and restaurants to install cell phone jammers, which block mobile phones. At the office, we can expect to see more workplaces encourage face-to-face interaction by following the lead of a Chicago firm that banned employees from sending e-mail on Fridays!

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Oi, Madasafish, No!

A TV commercial for a UK ISP featuring comedian Harry Enfield and Winston Churchill has been banned because it is “grossly offensive to the public and the wartime leader’s surviving family”, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

The ad – one of four for UK ISP Madasafish – features Enfield’s Frank Doberman character who shouts: “Oi, Winston, No”.

This, and a reference to the wartime leader downloading “saucy pictures of Monty from El Alamein using a dial-up connection” was too strong for the Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), which promptly banned the ad. David Laurie, of Madasafish says “The ad was not intended to cause offence” and described the ban as “absurd and an affront to the British sense of humour.”

The Madasafish website adds “It seems that our latest TV ad, featuring shouting favourite Frank Doberman, the Self Righteous Brother played by Harry Enfield, is ´likely to cause offence´. In the ad Frank gets stuck in to the Greatest of Britons Winston Churchill. In his usual style, Frank quietly explains to dear old Winston that he ought to consider switching from his dial-up connection to Madasafish Broadband. How can that cause offence?”

Personally, I can’t say I was outraged – not as I was when the Wrigley’s Dog Breath Commercial was released. However it’s certainly not in good taste and I would not have done it, that’s for sure. Why use Winston Churchill when there are plenty of other targets around who would definitely not have caused offence? My view is always, if it’s likely to annoy or upset anyone, why take the risk? Winston Churchill was voted the most important Briton ever in a BBC poll last year, so it’s hardly surprising the BACC reacted. I would have looked for another angle.

If you want to check out the banned ad for yourself, click the picture of Winston above.

Incidentally, my New Year Resolution (well, one of them) is to add something interesting to this site every week. OK, so I’ve only just started but I do know that half a dozen items since last July is just not good enough!