Talk Bollox and Sell

bsThis is a rant, I will not apologize!

  • A few powerful drops of serum
  • Drink pure collagen every day
  • Use Cold plasma Sub-D
  • Save an average of £866
  • 38% Larger
  • Moisturize in the shower
  • Anti Stain Technology

These are just a few examples of the headlines used in the advertising on my TV this evening. The problem with these headlines is? They are all bollox, every one of them.

“A few powerful drops of serum” is from a hair products advertisement. Does anyone know what “Serum” is? There is no explanation on the advertisement, just an assertion that you need it.

“I drink pure collagen every day” is another beauty product headline. In this case no one explains what collagen is or why you should drink it every day. Collagen is in fact about 25% of all the soft tissue in our body, it is all the connective tissue and is in muscles. It is a natural protein. I still don’t know why you should drink it.

“Cold plasma Sub-D” Honestly, I watched half an hour of programmed advertising and still didn’t find out what it is so I went to Google and asked. It was created by Dr Nick Perricola, a real doctor of medicine in the US, a self proclaimed expert in beauty. I still don’t know what Clod Plasma Sub-D is. Or why I need it.

“Save an average of £866” is from an advertisement from a company that wants to buy your car. Although they explain this is the saving made over the trade in value they don’t explain how that value is derived. It is meaningless.

“38% Larger” Than what?

“Moisturise in the shower” Im a man, I don’t moisturise.

However the last quote here “With Anti Stain Technology” is the headline from an advertisement for a washing machine. I thought getting rid of stains was the idea of a washing machine. They all have, by definition, anti stain technology. How can you turn a basic feature into a benefit?

Stop Listening And Think!

Advertisers are so confident you will buy their product they don’t even bother to be clever about their advertising any more. They hold it up, wave it in front of you, talk bollox then sit back and relax as you buy it. And buy it you will.

Although it is clear all products are sold this way the main culprit has to be beauty products.

The advertisers of beauty products have given up using language we would recognise and are now inventing a whole new vocabulary to describe their products.

The Sub-D Serum Cold Moisturizing Plasma Drops are an entirely made up products. From concept to innovation they are created not to solve a problem but to fill a tiny niche of market that has been identified. A market for a “blue package with orange labels smelling of apples and used by 18 year old women in the shower” Go make it!

And then sell it, don’t forget to use these compelling statements;

  • Problematic areas
  • Changed My Life
  • Buy the products
  • Delivers
  • Get Results
  • The only product you need
  • You could get the same results.

Ah yes, you could get the same results, if you talk bollox and have the advertising budget you too could be a big brand beauty company.

The Victim.

Women and girls, and to a small extent young men are the victims. Cosmetics, beauty and media companies have cooperated in brainwashing 50% or more of the western worlds population into believing they are well below perfect.

Without the right hair, face, skin, shower, deodorising, moisturising and, or hand products these people will remain less than perfect, they are doomed to be lonely, unloved, freaks who no one will ever give any attention to. Except that is, the very companies selling the products you need if you ever want to succeed at work, in love or life.


Smoke, Mirrors and the Minimum Pricing Of Alcohol

calais-booze_1117162cBack in the news again is the discussion of minimum pricing for alcohol. I am listening to the radio where they are discussing the subject.

I have discovered that 10% of the population purchase 50% of the alcohol [by price I assume]. They have not actually said, but I suspect the 10% demographic buying all the beer is the same 10% who are the poorest of our population. I also discovered that those six million people spend on average, £3,000 per year, each, on their drinks. Thats £18 billion.

Its no surprise therefore that the main objectors to any Government interferance with this market are the very companies who make the drinks. They have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

On the opposition benches are plenty of social workers, doctors, nursing staff, police and other people who consider they are victims of this over indulgence.

Supposedly moderating all these opinions and proposing corrective policy are the politicians who fall in to two categories; Those who have interests in the drinks industry [or would like to have interests in the drinks industry] and those who don’t and have decided there is more political milage in being in favour of price capping.

Either way I have my suspicions that they are all wrong, managing the price of booz will not make any difference, it might even make it worse.

Let us start with the basic pretence that increasing the price per unit of alcohol will reduce consumption and by virtue of our population being a little more sober, crime will drop, fewer livers will fail and the cost to the nation will decrease in proportion to the reduction in collected tax. In the long term a healthier nation will be more productive and we will all benefit with increased wealth, flat screen TVs and new BMWs.

Unfortunately there is an alternative scenario. Increase the cost of a bottle of Lambrusco and desire and aspiration will increase proportionally to promote desperation leading to an increase in crime, more people in prison, broken families, badly parented kids, drugs, more booze and well no one is any better off.

The first proposition fits well with the White Middle Class views of how to deal with their perceived problems with the ‘Drunk Lower Classes’. I am surprised they have not yet recognised that simply repeating the same actions, and talking about how well it is going while ignoring the glaring facts does not in fact make it go well.

Permitted to continue I forecast a change of headline followed by a diversion of attention and eventually we will all forget about the price of beer. That is until it is back in the headlines, about six weeks before the next election.

Now I do not have all the answers, In fact I have no answers. What I do have is an observation.

I live in France for a lot of the year and in my local supermarket I can buy bottles of excellent local wine for about €2 each. Well it is not just me who can buy €2 bottles of wine, any one can. And its good stuff.

Everyone drinks in France, from a stiff one in a PMU at 10AM to the evening Genepi after dinner with local wines. The whole family drinks and no one worries about it.

It is rare to find drunks on a park bench [I dont think I have ever seen one], or the youth swigging from cans on a street corner, or people filling their shopping trollies with cans of cider [except the tourists when they arrive on a saturday afternoon].

I checked my local police records and found no cases of ram raiding the local bottle shop, no arrests of brawling men in the local night club, a couple of drunk drivers and well, thats about it.

Alcohol is just not a problem in my bit of France. The reason is commonly attributed to parents introducing their kids to wine at dinner when they are only 8 or ten years old and instilling good attitudes to drinking.

But it can not be that simple, for parents to do that it implies there are two and that they are sitting at a table. They are eating as a family and sharing everything about their social standards, not just an appreciation of good French wine.

The difference is in the culture. The French, on the whole do not over indulge.

The solution? like I said earlier, I dont have one.

Should I Fear Statins?

_50859996_m6251313-cholesterol-lowering_drug-splDoctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Most people taking statins will take them for the rest of their lives unless they can achieve normal cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, weight loss and nutritional supplements. This can make statin side effects more difficult to manage.

The UK NHS list many side effects of taking statins including;

  • nosebleeds
  • sore throat
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • problems with the digestive system such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or flatulence (passing wind)
  • muscle and joint pain (see below)
  • a raised blood sugar level (hyperglycaemia)

Uncommon side effects

Uncommon side effects of statins (which may affect up to 1 in 100 people) can include:

  • being sick
  • loss of appetite or weight gain
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or having nightmares
  • dizziness – if you are affected by dizziness do not drive, or use tools or machinery
  • loss of sensation or tingling in the nerve endings of the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
  • memory problems
  • blurred vision – if your vision becomes blurred do not drive, or use tools or machinery
  • ringing in the ears
  • inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), which can cause flu-like symptoms
  • inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can cause stomach pain
  • skin problems, such as acne or an itchy red skin rash
  • feeling unusually tired or physically weak

Rare side effects

Rare side effects of statins (which may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people) can include:

  • visual disturbances
  • bleeding or bruising easily
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Thats quite a list but do the benefits outweigh the risks? Well researchers at Imperial College looked back at 29 trials involving more than 80,000 patients taking the cholesterol lowering drugs.

They concluded that the chance of experiencing debilitating symptoms like nausea and fatigue were slightly less among people taking statins than for control groups given a placebo.

Now the scientists are calling for drug companies to make it clear on packets that side effects are uncommon so that people are not wrongly dissuaded from treatment. Around seven million people take statins in Britain, a figure that could rise to 12 million under draft NHS guidelines, currently out for consultation, which will advise the majority of men over 50 and women over 60 to take the drug as a precaution.

Health experts have voiced concerns that the side effects could outweigh the benefits for healthy people and I would concur.

The starkly contradictory statements do not inspire confidence and I know from personal experience that many people refuse to take statins based on the many rumoured side effects and the claims you will have to take them for the rest of your life.

If you decide to take statins they take about six weeks to become effective and stabilise your cholesterol levels, the doctor who prescribed them should be checking your blood after about eight weeks to check they are working and that the dose is appropriate. Assuming all is well an annual check-up is usually sufficient to monitor the progress of the drugs and their effect on your system although your doctor may want to test more often if they suspect other problems like Cardio Vascular Disease.

Statins are rarely prescribed without advice that you should check your diet and exercise as these have a significant effect on your cholesterol levels and because of this it is possible to come off statins if your lifestyle has changed enough.

There is a huge amount of advice available to help you decide if you should fear statins and I would recommend you start with The British Heart Foundation.

Whatever you decide to do, stay healthy, do your research and make an educated decision.

P.S. All of the above refers predominately to people who are struggling with high cholesterol as a result of diet, fitness, smoking or drinking. In your research you may learn about “familial hypercholesterolaemia” or FH. Familial hypercholesterolaemia is a monogenic disorder associated with a greatly increased risk of coronary heart disease. Statins are first choice treatment for all patients with FH.

It is important you discover which cholesterol problem you have as it affects your chances that a change of life style of diet might allow you to come off statins at a later date. A good resource on FH is here.