Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheers! Speaking British Part 2 of 2

distinctly remember the moment when my brain did a semi-conversation to British. We were about to get on the Eurostar, and I said, "Stand in the queue while I look for a bin." Translation, "Stand in line while I look for a trash can."

So did you figure them all out? I'll ask all the natives (especially those mentioned in the previous post) to jump in and make sure I got them all right. Here’s the answers (I think):

You fancy a chat? = “Would you like to talk.”
Do you think I’m a pilchard? = I think this is a gullible fish?
I’m gutted. = Disappointed or upset about something specific
Are you pulling my plunker? = Um, similar to “Are you pulling my leg?”
That’s a proper __________ (insert object). = That’s a good one.
You’re having a bubble? = Again, “are you pulling my leg?”
Taking the piss? = Are you making fun of me.
-not to be confused with-
He’s pissed. = Drunk (you knew this one, right?)
That’s the badger. = “That’s it!” (supposedly only applicable to Sunir)
Bob’s your uncle. = “bing, bang, boom” or “lickety split” or “wang bang thank you ma’am”
Scamp it up. = Draw or sketch up the idea.
I’m gobsmacked! = Shocked.

Cockney Rhyming Slang::

Feelin’ a bit Tom and Dick? = “Are you feeling sick?”
Call me on the ol’ dog and bone. = “Call me on the phone.”
I need a kip. = “I need a nap”
Let’s have some Ruby Murray. = “Let’s have some Thai food"(?)
I’m feeling a bit Harvey Lee. (Hank Marvin) = "I'm starving!"
Give us a tickle on the ol’ blower. = Again, “Call me on the phone.”
Strike me a light, me ol’ china plate. = "Got a light, mate." (?)
Make us a cuppa Rosy Lee, you mug. = "Make me a cup of tea, thug." (?)
Ah, he’s a septic. = Turns out this is a term for an American or a “septic tank.”

Watcha cock! = Ok, I have no idea. I think it means, “What are you doing?” or “Look out!” or it could simply mean "How are you?"

Hope you enjoyed the Daily British Lesson, I know I did.

Final British lesson, “cheers.” Turns out, “Cheers” is a very powerful and flexible word in the UK. It's not just a toast but “thank you” and “I understand” and “you’re a good mate.” So with all that in mind, I will end my London adventure proudly with… Cheers (said with a Texas accent)!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cheers! Speaking British Part 1 of 2

I have never heard one native Londoner say, “‘ello Govenor.” (and by the way, they hate it when you ask them to say it). You’d think speaking English would be easy but I found the Queen’s tongue a bit challenging at times. In fact, there was more than one occasion when my good friend, Sunir, would say something to me and all I could respond with was, “what?!” Thus began my “Daily British Lessons” from my mates in London. Below is a short list I collected on a wall behind my desk. Everyone in the office contributed to it, some more than others (Sunir, Paul, Becky, Laurie and Andy). But, I’ll let you have a look:

You fancy a chat?
Do you think I’m a pilchard?
I’m gutted. 
Are you pulling my plunker?
That’s a proper __________ (insert object).
You’re having a bubble?
Taking the piss?
-not to be confused with-
He’s pissed.
That’s the badger.
Bob’s your uncle.
Scamp it up.
I’m gobsmacked!

And then there’s the greatness of Cockney Rhyming Slang, which as a I understand it is just rhyming words with actual words. Including:

Feelin’ a bit Tom and Dick?
Call me on the ol’ dog and bone.
I need a kip.
Let’s have some Ruby Murray.
I’m feeling a bit Harvey Lee. (Hank Marvin)
Give us a tickle on the ol’ blower.
Strike me a light, me ol’ china plate.
Make us a cuppa Rosie Lee, you mug.
Ah, he’s a septic.

And finally, it’d be wrong if I didn’t recognize the Scots and my mate Andy Wise with his favorite expression:
Watcha cock!
(Which doesn’t mean what you think it means).

Now, this is titled "1 of 2" because we’re going to try some community participation. I’d like people to add comments to this page of what they think the expressions mean. NO cheating from Londoners and NO googling. I’ll follow up with the answers. Good luck.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Just a quick note to share Tesco's on-line push in the London area. I found out that many people who live in the city only buy what they can carry (makes sense). So Tesco wants to make it easy for you to shop on-line and have your groceries delivered in an attempt to get bigger basket rings. I especially like "Freshly clicked" to reenforce the idea that fresh produce can also be delivered to your door.

Application: A basic fundamentally of shopper marketing is overcoming purchase barriers, when's the last time you looked at why people aren't buying your products?

Store-ies: Harrod’s Edition

Harrod’s is a storied London department store that dates back to 1834. Their motto, Omnia Omnibus UbiqueAll Things for All People, Everywhere. With over one million square feet of retail space, I think they’re pulling it off. But most people don’t go to Harrod’s to shop, they go there to experience the store. My experience started with a bagpiper in full Irish regale playing a welcome tune that could be heard from blocks away. Now THAT’s retailtainment. As you enter it feels like most high end department stores but then you begin to experience individual zones, the true essence of “store within the store.” It was first most noticeable in the jewelry department where each dealer had their own 20x20 section complete with comfy chairs, refreshments and unique display cases. In the electronics department, I got to experience glasses-free 3D screens in one of the living room settings. And my kid “dragged” me to the toy department where life-size models of Captain America and Spider-Man greeted us in the Marvel zone. As you wander around, you inevitable end up in the middle, the hub, where the famous selections of food and chocolate exist. Everything from an oyster bar to a sweets bar. Overall, it was... over whelming. Amazing little pockets of shopping experiences in a million square foot store. 

Application: There is always a tug and pull between retailers and brands when it comes to creating shopper experiences. What would happen if retailers let each brand own a piece of the store?

Insider Tip: A local Londoner told me that the really rich illegally park their Ferraris and Lamborghinis in front of the store and let them get towed because it’s so hard to get parking. Wow.

Rainy Days and Mondays in London

I just had to share this clip of a rainy Monday in the London office:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Store-ies: Superdry Edition

My interest in Superdry was first peaked by a t-shirt. I’m guessing this is what intrigues most people about the brand. It’s a combination of Japanese and English and “graphic-ness”. Their website says, “Inspired by a trip to Tokyo in 2003, Superdry fuses design influences from Japanese graphics and vintage Americana, with the values of British tailoring.” You can’t go anywhere or turn on the telly and not see someone with an “SD” embroidered on their hoodie or shirt with the intriguing Japanese characters emblazoned beside the English. Kevin Roberts (or K-Rob as I like to call him), Saatchi & Saatchi CEO, would say this is “mystery”, tapping into dreams and myths to build intrigue. I think it’s just cool. But the thing I like most is that they bring that fusion of Japanese, American and British into their dress shirts by having Japanese characters subtly embroidered on cuffs, lapel and tags. It brings some fun into the standard, everyday work shirt. 

Application: Consider what you can do with your brand to create mystery and intrigue.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jumbo-tron meets Chocolate Joy: Cadbury Waterloo

So a few weeks back I experienced the “motion screen” at the Waterloo station. Waterloo is a large tube station due to the fact that it used to be an international hub. It also has a very large flat screen on the wall. I say experienced because it’s so big, most clients have to break things down and use different portions of the screen for different messages. But I was stopped in my tracks by two kids flaying about, waving their arms in the air. When I looked up at the enormous screen, I saw the same two kids with digital images of skateboards and teddy bears bouncing around their heads. As they magically “caught” the items, a person in a Cadbury purple shirt handed them a chocolate bar. Turns out it’s part of Cadbury’s new “Win Your Joy” campaign where people can win their favorite things; shoes, footballs (or soccer balls), etc. made completely out of chocolate. It was an amazing, engaging experience. The very best of “shopper-tainment, social and new technology (apologizes for all the quote marks).

Application: We are constantly being introduced to new technology and production capabilities, the secret is not to fall for the shiny technology but use the technology to tell your story.

Here’s a much better link than my iPhone video: