ITV and Brew Dog in the dog house
A collection of climate stories mostly
Brands behaving badly
ITV’s version of Hancock’s half-hour, isn’t funny
How low is a TV channel prepared to stoop to improve ratings? On ITV’s flagship show, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, very low indeed. One can only conclude it will pretty much do anything to increase revenues.
Elsewhere, I read that commentators are blaming the busted Matt Hancock, ex-health secretary, for daring to use national TV to seek forgiveness and raise awareness, that he’s a nice chap really, prior to a book being published.
I’d argue that Hancock’s agent is just doing his job. The real culprit here is ITV for even considering his presence to be acceptable.
Have they forgotten the unnecessary suffering inflicted on families and their elderly relatives at the hands of Hancock’s cock-up? There were 35,067 excess deaths recorded in care homes during the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands more died alone in the same places, close family banned from being present for their loved one’s final hours. Strict rules which as we now know, were ignored by some cabinet members, including handsy Hancock. And that’s before we start talking about dodgy dealings over personal protective equipment (PPE), the complete lack of it, despite warnings being flagged years before the recent pandemic.
To understand ITV’s fall from grace and their grubby dealings, you need to be aware that the halcyon days of broadcasting are over. The broadcaster has been fighting with this reality, not quite believing its fate, while continuing to reinvent itself without much success.
This year ITV dropped out of the FTSE 100 index, with its share price dropping a third so far in 2022. It’s partly because of the UK economy slowing and partly because they’re daft enough to announce a new streaming service to take on Netflix, Amazon and Disney.
Brew Dog throwing stones in glasshouses
I always thought Brew Dog was a cool, anti-establishment craft beer brewer. Born in 2007, Fraserburgh, Scotland; when the banks refused to lend them anymore money, they started crowdfunding with Equity For Punks, giving anyone interested, the opportunity to buy shares in their company. 1,300 punks decided to do just that and they have never needed a bank loan since.
I initially thought their anti-advertising stance, recently launched, in protest to this year’s world cup was really smart.
Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president (head of world football) was forced to resign after bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges were investigated by the US Department of Justice in 2015, but not before the 2022 world cup had been awarded to Qatar.
Aside from having to play the competition in the middle of the European football season because it would be too hot otherwise, this Muslim, Arab kingdom, ruled by an absolute monarch, has a well documented, poor human rights record. Thousands of migrant workers have effectively been in forced labour, helping to build the new football stadium. 6,500 workers have died since Qatar was first awarded the competition. Homosexuality is still a crime punishable by death.
Brew Dog’s poster campaign is irreverent and funny. But it hasn’t taken long for it to back fire badly.
The world cup will continue to be broadcast in their pubs. 3 months ago, they also signed a deal with an alcohol distributor in Qatar to sell their beer to the hotels and restaurants there.
Continuing to sell beer is just behaving like the rest of the drinks industry. It’s an important time for sales which they’re not going to ignore. But the rest of the industry hasn’t chosen to pose as the champion of human rights, accusing Qatar of scandalous behaviour in the treatment of their workers.
Brew Dog doesn’t have an unblemished labour relations record either. It has been forced to apologise to former employees for fostering a culture of fear, while pursuing a growth at all costs approach.
iRobots, closer than you think
Courtesy of Engineered Arts
Sci-fi buffs would not put iRobots, the 2004 film with Will Smith, set in 2035, where humanoids serve humanity, protected by the three laws of robotics, in their top 10.
I liked the film and its version of the future where robots exist to serve our needs. It makes perfect sense when you think of old and vulnerable people needing help and support, in Will Smith’s case, his mother.
Numerous studies on ageing, report that around 25% of adults over 60 years old feel lonely. 15 years later, the loneliness creeps higher to 31%.
Robots have been around for a long time, but nearly all of them are in factories making cars and completing other precise, repetitive processes. None of them look like humans because they don’t need to.
Engineered Arts is on a small industrial estate in Falmouth, Cornwall and specialises in making humanoids. They look like humans because they’re designed to interact with people.
The company started making animated figures for theme parks and films. The sophistication has continued to improve and with the help of artificial intelligence, they wouldn’t look out of place acting in iRobots, except they can’t run yet.
Take a look at these videos which are fantastic. The robots facial, arm and hand movements impressively humanoid, especially the eyes.
Ameca, their latest robot and the world’s most advanced human shaped one, now has competition from Elon Musk and a humanoid called Optimus. Competition was bound to arrive with a market forecast to be worth $154bn by 2035.
Repair don’t throw away
Courtesy of The Fixing Factory
There is a growing culture in the UK to try and repair electrical items rather than resigning to their disappearance in landfill.
Retail franchises like ismash have been repairing our phones, tablets and laptops for years. I notice they’ve now been joined by Timpsons, the well know cobblers which continues to reinvent with its familiar pop-ups outside supermarkets.
But what do you do if your toaster burns everything or the coffee maker has become so bitter that it’s now gathering dust?
New shops are appearing like Share & Repair in Bath, the Edinburgh Remakery and The Fixing Factory in Brent and Camden, London. The Welsh government has gone further and is helping with funding to open a repair cafe in every community.
I still smile when I remember my father’s stock answer to a technical household problem which he had no intention of wasting time on. Invariably he would say, it’s a sealed unit, his passport to buy a replacement. Most of us have adopted a similar philosophy. We’ve enjoyed cheap manufacturing in far away lands and are now happy to throw whatever it is away when it stops working, or as likely, when we don’t want it anymore.
The nasty recession approaching and a more environmentally conscious public is likely to keep all of these shops very busy.
Join a bus-bike, Catalonia, Spain
Courtesy of Calvox and Periche, Flikr
Bicibús is the invention of Helena Vilardell, a junior school teacher who started the service in Vic, a town of 45,000 inhabitants in February 2020. Now, 1,200 children, pedal over 90 routes to 70 schools across 25 Catalonia cities.
Like a traditional bus route, there are stops where cycling children can join on their way to school. As you would expect, there are plenty of volunteer parents who also ride to ensure the children’s safety.
Not as well established yet, George Watson’s College an independent school in Edinburgh for 3-18 year olds has three bike buses for different days of the week. The bus concept works on the strength in numbers approach, where the cyclists are marshalled to move as a single vehicle, protected by the neon-vested volunteers.
The bicycle bus routes in Edinburgh take about 20 minutes to cycle.
Good article this week. Learned a lot. Impressed with all your background research ! Please keep going…