Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Posts Tagged ‘FMCG

Finance ‘n Chips

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No mushy peas to be seen












This week one of the most interesting issues to come on the tech radar here at Inferno was in the world of chips. Besides Tyrrells announcing a new flavour of potato chip, the major news came courtesy of the current credit bite.

Early this week we saw news that semiconductor market is continuing its slide. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association January saw an 8.8 per cent slump compared with the same month last year, following a forgettable December during which sales fell by 11.9 per cent on the year. Late this week we have also seen Taiwan announce that they will restructure the country’s struggling D-Ram chip industry by buying key technology from foreign competitors and consolidating the domestic market. All interesting stuff, but what’s next?

As the electronics market, which feeds this industry, continues its dip into the red stuff how will we see these manufacturers react to sure up their brands?

Traditionally in an economic downturn FMCG companies ramp up the marketing to sure up sales but this approach isn’t so easy for companies whose chips the public aren’t conscious they are consuming. We will wait with baited breath here at Inferno and see what the industry has up its sleeve but would be interested to see what everyone else thinks…

Matt L


Written by pilotlight

06/03/2009 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Business, marketing, PR, Tech

Tagged with , , ,

Smells Like Clean Spirit

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Hope they are well paid

I found myself chuckling in the gents just now, looking at a can of ‘Fresh Linen’ air freshener. I’ve noticed a current vogue for ‘fresh’ or ‘clean’ linen scents for the home, domesticated little chap that I am – including scented candles and the rather higher-tech plug-ins that people in exclusive suburbs/Essex opt for.

It made me think: surely linen doesn’t have a smell – surely the smell of freshly laundered linen that I do, indeed, love, is actually the scent of the detergent the linen has been laundered in, not of the fabric itself?

Then I suddenly felt rather cynical about the whole thing, and wondered whether this was another Unilever-esque way of pumping out multiple brands within one product category, meaning proceeds from Bold, Ariel, Daz and Fairy Super Lemon Excel GreaseBuster Plus all line the same collective pocket.

Are we being subconsciously, psychosomatically programmed to lust after the smell of washing powder – to the point where there’s a mid-decade trough in sales of natural scents like lavender or citrus or eucalyptus, and a spike in ‘things that smell like other products we buy’.

Then I realised I’d probably inhaled a bit of the said air freshener, explaining why I was having such odd thoughts.

Matt S

Written by pilotlight

02/05/2008 at 8:52 am

Posted in Business, marketing, Media

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Bunnies of Steel: Selling chocs through vomworthy stunts

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FMCG is a challenging area too often left to the most candy flossy of fluffy bunnies. They rely on insultingly basic sleb-led tactics: like jamming chocs and bog roll into the handbags of e-listers, or even getting faux soul popsters with less cred than biro-ed on hair extensions to do the adverts. Yes, I am referring to the dream inspired Jocelyn Stoker (aka ‘Joss Stone’) Flake video, which most people in this office could only stand 20 seconds of before the screaming started. Being a glutton for the reality of what our culture has become I watched it all before entering a catatonic trance.

This trauma was partially assuaged by the subtle, foul genius of today’s Metro on Page 3. Cadbury’s people achieved a whole page of spectacular, gut-churning coverage based on a classic ‘shock’ stunt. Some Kentish chippie is claiming to be deep frying Crème Eggs. That’s it. But you get an account of all the fun and not-so-fun ways to eat the things, the fact that they are only 171 calories etc etc. Classic tactic. Assume there is more coverage elsewhere too and this guff may even go international. The moral of the story is that faux eccentricity and gross out based stunts still work.

Just to be sure, we telephoned Cornford Fish and Chips in glorious Maidstone, expecting to find that they didn’t really exist. The canny Cadbury’s bunnies thought of that too. They are 60p and are flying out the door like wasps from a discarded pop tin in summer.


Written by pilotlight

07/03/2008 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Media, PR

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Geek Pie

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Roll the cheese…

Something that has recently taken the fancy of some of the Infernals in the office is following PR stories for FMCG products. This may seem strange for a tech agency, I know, but hear me out. For years there have been stories appearing in the some of the less “cutting edge” print titles throughout the UK of individuals, families, couples, life partners etc. confessing the cornerstones of their diets.

We first noticed it with a woman who eats peas for every meal and has eventually got to couples confessing to having hamburgers for every day for 17 years and even moving house to be closer to their restaurant of choice, mmmm, nice.

This is something we have recently started see more and more of and it is getting to a point in our office where we are interested in the diversity of products that people have been basing their diets around. It has also led us to raise the question, how can we get on this bandwagon?

Now being the creative, can-do PR agency that we are, we have set ourselves a challenge: to try and get a tech company in the press using this same technique.

Getting someone to confess they have eaten nothing but cheese for the last 16 years as part of a stunt for the British Cheese Fanciers Society is one thing, to have a story of the same (blue) vein featuring software, now their lies good PR.

As you read this we are hard at work cooking up a story to take FMCG off the media menu and make tech products the main course. So if in your daily routine you read a story of someone who has had server software for lunch everyday since 1998, you will know who placed the story…..

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

23/08/2007 at 2:53 pm

Posted in PR

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