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Hello and thanks for visiting our blog - here you will find interesting articles on what's happening in the world of point sale, visual merchandising and display innovation.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mother's Day POS Installations - A Brief History

This year Mother's Day is on March 18th and Mother's Day installations are going in this week. It is celebrated in over 46 different countries on varying dates. Mother's Day is worth around £1.5 billion to the UK economy with flowers being the most popular gift closely followed by chocolates, jewellery, clothing and household gift items, and of course the cards. According to the Greeting Cards Association Mother’s Day is worth £56.4 million in sales with an average price paid of £2.05 per card.

Where did it all begin?

As with a lot of our modern celebrations and festivals it can be traced back to ancient Greeks and Romans, and in this case the spring festival. The Greek goddess Rhea, wife of Cronus, and mother to many other deities, was celebrated for her motherhood, as was her Roman counter part Cybele, the mother goddess.
Early Christian's held a celebration on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honour of the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ and it continues on this date today. The practise of all mothers being celebrated came about as children returned from prayers in church with flowers and gifts for their own mothers. This practise can be traced back to the 1600s in the UK but had all but died out by the 1900s and only gained popularity again in the last few decades when it was commercialised targeting returning soldiers from WW2.

Today it is mostly celebrated in the vast cathedral high ceilings of supermarkets as we hang up promotional materials to encourage and remind shoppers of Mother's Day coming up. These are some examples of past Mother's Day installations. Typically retail display installations are window graphics, hanging signs on wires and gondola end signs.

 Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, 24 February 2012

London Fashion Week A/W 2012 ... Last Days Round Up

The week that was London Fashion Week - Autumn / Winter 2012 has come to an end this week, finishing with men's day. It's been an exciting week for London fashion designers; there's a real buzz around the edgy design coming out of London at the moment.

The popularity of men's wear has seen it massively over subscribed with requests for it's own separate dates to be moved away from women's wear, and the announcement was made that men's wear gets it's own fashion week in June! It's going to be a big year for fashion this year!

For me the best men's wear collection by far is Oliver Spencer - interesting clothes on interesting models that actually look like real men. Rivalled only by Rake and McQueen men's wear this year....and speaking of McQueen.... Soviet Russian militia meets 50s prom... fabulous as always the fashion house continues to impress.

For the final day of women's wear the look and feel of the whole day was fun and sassy. Meadham Kirchoff was vibrant and space age, Anshish had a few key pieces that were stunning but looked mostly like they'd raided an Oxfam shop and added some sequins.

Finale by KTZ made for an interesting collection with an eclectic mix of 80's bling, voluminous fabrics, hints of Scotland, Egyptian symbolic prints and lumberjack coats.

This year all eyes are on Britain as we host the Olympics, combined with the popularity worldwide of the Duchess of Cambridge flying the flag of British designers, and with more and more high profile actors and artists choosing UK based designers on the red carpet, all in all it's a great time for the UK fashion industry.

To view the collections visit London Fashion Week TV


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

London Fashion Week A/W 2012 So Far! The Lowdown..

With London Fashion Week full steam ahead Autumn / Winter is looking good! There are some beautiful collections for Autumn/ Winter this year - can we just skip summer? Here I have picked out some of the collections that caught my eye for good or bad!

Day One Highlights

The Good:
Amongst my favourite is the contrast of luxe metallic fabrics against the floaty florals at Michael Van Der Ham. Dreamy and opulent this collection is just gorgeous.

The Bad:
Christopher Kane - I'm not sure about this collection; it reminds me of curtains. Starting with dresses that looked like those awful cheap wood effect curtains found on market stalls. Also featuring some big bold brocade prints that would look great in my dining room. The leather working throughout the collection works well though.

The Ugly:
Fred Butler - what can I say! Deliciously ridiculous - four tentative models stepped out in what looked like some kind of school project in gym pants, reminiscent of something the character Bubbles from Absolutely Fabulous would be found in!

Day Two Highlights


Burberry is utilitarian all the way with practical sturdy coats for the winter weather - with bow belts everywhere..the men's collection seemingly the only ones to escape from the Burberry bow!
Lots of tweed as you'd expect and a come back on the military style for coats and jacket suits. Suitable attire for people who like to imagine they live in a very big house in the country....or actually do.

Day Three Highlights

Matthew Williamson is bringing back the hazy romance of the 1970's with this fabulous collection of long A-line maxi dresses, soft blouses layered over snug polo necks and leather trousers.

Dull collections a plenty but brightened up by Louise Gray with a colourful mix of themes: 80's, tribal and punk all rolled up in one.

Erdem - again gorgeous flowing florals in silk mixed with tweeds and lace, was all about the big prints!

Day Four Highlights

Vivienne Westwood's edgy, slick tailoring with draped styles was stylish as always.

Fur skirts at Mulberry! Orangutan chic coats... and well..who's looking at the clothes anyway; it's the bags we want!

Marios Shwab - wonderfully elegant with hints of pre-war glam right up my street, along with Temperley's very regal vintage looking collection, with simply stunning accessories.

You can view the collections here on: London Fashion Week TV

Look out for part two with the last two days reflection on London Fashion Week 2012!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

How Will a Ban on Cut Price Booze Affect POS?

With news that the government is planning to end the cheap booze promotions in April in a bid to ease strain on public resources such as the NHS and Police, where else will it impact?  There's no doubt that something needs to be done about the levels of violence and crime that result from binge drinking. Anyone who has been to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night will see resoruces stretched with staff and other patients as risk from disorderly behaviour; all of which costs the tax payer around £3 billion a year.

From a reatil point of view drinks promotions are an important part of the display materials we install.  With the Scottish already cracking down on 'irresponsible drinks promotions' and the rest of the UK shortly to follow will we see less emphasis on this kind of display material in-store?

Unlike the Scots who have a blanket minimum price per unit here the government has opted to rule that it will be illegal to charge less than the duty and VAT. Many supermarkets sell alcoholic items as loss leaders to encourage shoppers to their store.  The campaign to target supermarkets and bars promoting cut price drinks started about three years ago and has quickly gathered momentum, resulting in changes coming in to place on April 6th 2012:

There are some suggestions that it won't have much impact and retailers will find other ways to promote alcohol, as they don't have to take in to account the manufacturing costs when pricing and they will just absorb this elsewhere. Either way it's a difficult and contentious issue and the problem of binge drinking goes much deeper in society than how much the alcohol costs per unit.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

How Does American Advertising Influence the UK? Super Bowl Ads 2012.

I have to say I am surprised about how much coverage the American Super Bowl advertising is getting in the UK this year. It seems to be massively hot news and everybody is talking about the adverts and which ones were the best and worst! I think this is down to how social media has made our world so much smaller. The Super Bowl weekend is one of the most watched sporting events in the world, watched by an estimated 114 million people, so I can understand why it's such a talking point this week.

The common consensus it seems is the Honda one is about the best with Mathew Broderick having a "Day Off" Ferris Bueller style. I think the best thing about the clip is the car as it trades off the nostalgia of a classic 80's film.

For those who don't remember 1986 here's a clip of the original film:

I preferred the quirkier Toyota ad:

With 70 advertising slots all sold out and brands paying up to $3.5 million for 30 seconds of air time this is big business...estimated at having generated over a 1/4 billion dollars in advertising sales it's no wonder we're all talking about it both sides of the pond. The last ten years have seen prices for slots rise by 50% ...it clearly is the advertising event of the year globally.

Half time seemed dominated by car ads - the Volkswagen one wasn't too bad, and the Chevrolet one was entertaining enough. Kia's blatant sex sells attitude is more 1986 than 2012 and Audi opted to get in on the popularity of vampire themes in the media over the last couple of years.

The half time entertainment was a collaboration between Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, Cee Lo Green, and the Cirque du Soleil:

Among the worst half time ads, sad to say, included British stars. H&M seemed to be showcasing David Beckham himself rather than the range of clothes...did they have the same advertising agency as Kia? Elton John was holding court for Pepsi, Ricky Gervais causing havoc for Time Warner Cable, and Coca-Cola 's insipid ice-skating polar bears... luckily not a Brit' in sight for this last one.

All eyes in the UK were on the advertising - with lots of sporting events over here this year there will be plenty of brands looking at ideas for adverts over the summer... or will we see some recycling of the Super Bowl ads? It seems as our world gets smaller we are more and more influenced by what happens elsewhere.

Oh and I think some blokes played a bit of American football too..

Friday, 3 February 2012

Top 50 Gastro Pubs 2011 - Sponsored By Budweiser Budvar

So this weekend our teams are preparing for the Budweiser Budvar sponsored 'Top 50 Gastro Pub's event!  The event runs on Monday 6th February at The Stoke Place Hotel, Buckinghamshire. Once a beautiful country manor house built in 1690 with landscaped grounds by Capability Brown it is now a 40 bedroom luxury hotel. Retaining its original charm it is a gorgeous location for the Gastro Pub Awards.

Now in its fourth year, Budweiser Budvar are the official sponsors working with the Publican's Morning Advertiser to put on the industry awards. Last year 46 of the 50 Top Gastro Pubs attended and after a strict year long assessment by other gastro pub operators, chefs, celebrity chefs, pub guide editors, food & drink writers, and respected industry professionals the votes were cast. Selection for entrants is broken down in to eight regions so there's bound to be one of the selected entrants not too far from you.. a good gastro pub is always worth a little extra drive.  

Last Year's Winner -The Star Inn, Yorkshire

The 2010 winners are as follows:

1 Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire                                2 Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

3 The Hardwick, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire                4 Harwood Arms, Fulham, London

5 Pipe & Glass, beverley, South Dalton, Yorkshire            6 The Olive Branch, Clipsham, Rutland

7 Hinds Head, Bray, Berkshire                                         8 The Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire

9 Anchor & Hope, Waterloo, London                                10 Bay Horse, Hurworth, Darlington

11 Gurnards Head, Treen, Cornwall                                 12 The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent

13 Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancashire                                 14 Punch Bowl Inn, Crothwaite, Cumbria

15 Freemasons Country Inn, Wiswell, Clitheroe                16 The Eagle, Farringdon, London

17 Angel at Hetton, Near Skipton, North Yorkshire           18 The Stagg at Titley, Kington, Herefordshire

19 Sands End, Fulham, London                                        20 Masons Arms, Cartmell Fell, Grange Over Sands

21 Y Polen, Nantgaredig, Carmarthenshire                      22 Hoste Arms, Burnham Market, Norfolk

23 Ye Olde Sun Inn, Colton, North Yorkshire                    24 Drunken Duck Inn, Barnagtes, Ambelside

25 Highwayman, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire                  26 Nut Tree, Merton, Murcott

27 Blue Lion, East Witton, North Yorkshire                      28 Felin Fach Griffin, Felinfch, Brecon

29 Wellington Arms, Baughurst, Hampshire                     30 The Inn at Whitewell, Whitewall, Lancashire

31 The Garrison, Bermondsey, London                            32 Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, Henley-on-Thames

33 The Albion Public House and Dining Rooms, Clifton     34 Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith, London

35 Griffin Inn, Fletching, East Sussex                              36 St Kew Inn, Bodmin, Cornwall

37 Potting Shed, Crudwell, Malmesbury                          38 Kingham Plough, Nr Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire 

39 Red Lion, Pewsey, Wiltshire                                      40 Thomas Cubbitt, Belgravia, London

41 Thomas Lord, West Meon, Hampshire                        42 The Albion, Islington, London

43 General Tarleton, Ferrensby, North Yorkshire            44 Cricket Inn, Totley, South Yorkshire

45 Yew Tree, Newbury, Berkshire                                  46 The Pheasant, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

47 The Bakers Arms, Droxford, Hampshire                      48 The Wheatsheaf, Coombe Hay

49 Earl of March, Nr Chischester, West Sussex                50 Canton Arms, Stockwell, London

The event includes a reception with tasting tables showcasing a selection of the best food and drinks the industry has to offer before a three course gastro pub lunch during which the awards are presented.

Last Year's winner Jacquie Pern on winning the Award:

If you've been to any of these pubs or go after reading this please leave a comment - we'd love to know what you think! Bon Appetite Gastronomers!