The Uncle Dick Tick

UD SealWhat do you do when there is no new story to tell? If you are one of the big film studios you simply add petrol explosions, conspiracies, and rap* songs to your current production and serve it again. Sort of like making the turkey go for another week by reheating it. Actually…EXACTLY …like serving turkey again…

In the case of a retail shop – say a retail shop selling photographic goods – the problem is a little harder to address. Particularly if the manufacturers of the goods are also stumped for a new idea. Oh, the factories in Japan and China are still going to churn out new items but they are going to be reheated old things, and harder to sell to the masses. It is a difficult time when the masses are also sitting on their wallets due to financial insecurity.

What to advertise? What to sell? What to say when doing the rounds of the trade shows and people ask ” What’s New?”. It’s damned awkward – you have conditioned the public for 50 years to demand novelty over value and now they want the gratification that you have accustomed them to.

Currently I am writing the weblog column for my former employers – they have become clients of my Little Studio. I visit the shop once or twice a week to take goods for review and illustration. Some weeks the catch is very modest. I cry up whatever I have found in terms as favourable as I can without crossing a moral line. Faint praise may damn, but it is still praise.

But I have decided to avoid a pitfall that seems to be appearing more and more – the business of touting airware, beta testers, production samples, artists’s renderings, and genuine gold bricks wrapped in newspaper. I see it now in rumour sites and promotional puffs from major manufacturers. It appears in some of the communications from the wholesalers. I can hear it echoing through product presentation nights.

The problem with it is like the problem with Soviet Five Year Plans. Or predictions of the end of the world. Time ticks on and if the projected plan or catastrophe does not arrive the audience is ticked off. And the showman that barked the spiel looks to be a fool. I’ve seen this has happened 7 times in the last 5 years, and for a range of factories. I have no objection to looking a fool, but I want it to be on my own terms and with my choice of timing.

So I’ve designed a little graphic symbol that I will put near each product I show. That’s what you see on this post’s heading image.

This is the Uncle Dick tick. It is not a tick of approval or guarantee. It is to symbolise the fact that the item does actually exist, that it was on a shelf in the shop, and that I could touch it. The only promise it makes is that at one time the thing was real. For the rest of my opinion on it, you have to read the posting.

I still can’t make the goods appear any faster than the factories and distributors work, but I can shield my readers from the worst of their advertising department’s fantasies.

  • Darn. Is the “c” key sticking on this keyboard again…?



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