Shocks & Stares » Aviva http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Do you remember your first car? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/08/do-you-remember-your-first-car/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/08/do-you-remember-your-first-car/#comments Wed, 29 Aug 2012 21:51:48 +0000 Joey Ng http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=715 A question that has sparked quite the conversation amongst the team as we shared stories about our old, but much loved, bangers from the days of our youth.

We’ve had a couple of Renault Clios that are not without their battery and engine ailments, a rundown Morris Minor and a clapped out Rover 200 – no brakes, a dodgy handbrake but a great stereo.

What prompted our nostalgia? This handy infographic from Aviva (cl) on top ten first cars of all time and accompanying story on the changing face of your typical first car owner. It looks like we weren’t the only ones inspired by the story as the Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph, Daily Star and Evening Standard all took their own spin on it (no pun intended).

Car infographic

What was your first car?

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/11/fps-friday-fiver-26/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/11/fps-friday-fiver-26/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 19:12:49 +0000 Edward Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=405 Well hello there!

So it’s been a while since I penned anything on here and Dave Chambers the man who is not afraid to request a ‘Sav and a wedge’ should he feel the need, has MANFULLY held the fort. It has been a monumental week to say the least. As ever, we try not to focus on the obvious, but sometimes, particularly at the moment, there’s just no getting away from the travails of the modern economy and what Dr Doom would never call the ‘current economic climate.’ So here it is, our take on the week’s events, in 5 bite size chunks. Bon appetit!

#Eurover

Everything that could go wrong in the Eurozone pretty much has. It seems that since the first falling domino of Greece announcing it needed to be bailed out back in April 2010 through to Italy teetering on the edge this week there has been an air of predictability and certainty about which domino will topple next. So why is it that this destructive process has been seemingly allowed to go on when pretty much every falling domino has been widely predicted? In Ross’ view the primary reason has been short sighted politicians.

Naturally, politicians want to hold on to power once they have been granted it. Given that politicians are subject to frequent votes every few years in order to grant them a continued mandate they often fail to think more long term and strategically. Instead they look for quick wins. This breeds a culture of politicians not telling their electorate what they don’t want to hear which leads to many difficult decisions being overlooked. The Eurozone crisis being no exception.

Look at Angela Merkel. Unwilling to take the required step of committing Germany to underwrite Eurozone debt through fear of alienating voters who don’t want to support distant countries like Greece. George Papendreou’s craving for short term political support when calling for a referendum shattered any illusion that Merkozy had solved the Eurozone’s woes. The EU’s politicians need to address the bigger long term picture of Europe rather than bowing to domestic politics. Failure to do so will certainly result in more dominos falling.

Whilst the UK is surely towards the end of the domino line up, the fact those ahead of it keep falling should serve as a stark warning. We certainly won’t be able to say we didn’t see it coming.

How the Bond market works

This excellent graphic featured in the Times is not only a marvellous demonstration of what Ross was going on about above, it also does exactly what it says on the tin (click on it to see a larger version) and is well worth a read.  

via @SamCoatesTimes

Life on the slow (Metro) train

Last year Metro Bank launched to something of a fanfare. They proudly proclaimed they would take on the big traditional high street banks and lure customers into their doors with the promise of consumer-friendly opening hours, smiling staff, instant setup accounts and a personalised touch. The PR they got was very good in most cases, and the bank has continued with its branch opening programme to the extent that the blue and red branding is now a common theme on London’s streets.

The Guardian

All very well and good. But only if you then proceed to sell something, and as the FT reports today, this is proving tricky – there is a startling lack of mortgage sales going on, primarily because Metro can’t offer competitive rates owing to its small size and the cost of all those customer extras it offers. On a more positive note, the paper also revealed that Metro has signed up over 40,000 current and saving account holders. The message is clear then – when it comes to everyday money, many consumers will go for the brand. When it comes to big money however, a percentage figure still rules.

Good Week/Bad Week

It seems apt on today of all days to recognise the good week that the poppy campaign has enjoyed. Thanks to concerted pressure from the FA and others, England will tomorrow be allowed to wear their poppies with pride as they take on Spain at football. The poppy campaign has also enjoyed the debut of designer editions on the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, and continued coverage on the front of every national newspaper.

It also wouldn’t be right if as Poms we couldn’t have a little dig at the absolute stinker the Australian cricket team have endured. We know there’s very little finance related about them or cricket, but we simply couldn’t resist. At 21 for 9 it could have been even more dyer but for some heroic last wicket hitting by their tail-enders. I think we liked it best the way the BBC’s Hugh Pym summed things up.

Sorry - we just couldn't resist

Financial & Professional Services meets Alexandra Burke…

And in other news, one of our highlights this week was working with Alexandra Burke to launch the Street Dance for Change campaign with our client Aviva and Railway Children. The team delivered some outstanding results and our colleague Sam Lythgoe has written up a lovely little synopsis here.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-21/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/09/fps-friday-fiver-21/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:08:05 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=319 Hello all and happy Sunny Friday. It’s a good thing the rays are shining outside, because things are still looking decidebly wintery for the global economy. The Fiver touches on this issue this week as you’d expect, but we’ve also comments on Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party conference and we profile some of the work we’ve been doing with Aviva. Thanks to Sallie, Ed, Jonathan and Joey.

Towards anomie? The human cost of the Greek crisis…..Yet another round of crisis talks were required this week to try and resolve the seemingly irretraceable problem of European sovereign debt and avoid a situation where Greece defaults on its financial commitments. Needless to say, further funds have been made available to help prop up struggling nations. In a fascinating piece for Newsnight, Paul Mason went beyond the bailouts to examine the human cost of Greek debt. The Newsnight broadcast can be found here and we’d encourage you to watch it.

The Greek economy continues to burn (Image: Belfast Telegraph)

The message to take away from the piece was that Greek society is in a fragile condition. Young people expect nothing from the state and are understandably disillusioned by the situation they find themselves in. This sense of betrayal extends beyond the nation’s youth and up into many middle class families. Mason’s report refers to the potential for anomie – not a word we were familiar with – which describes the worrying potential for a breakdown of social norms. It’s all too easy to see events through the big picture prism of the EU politicians and German parliamentary debates but it is worth sparing a thought for those who face the consequences of these decisions.

Choose your leader…..A leader in waiting addressed the Labour Party conference this week. He looked unassuming, strode the stage with confidence and was greeted with a standing ovation…..Step forward Rory Weal, the 16 year old who took Liverpool by storm, enthusiastically embraced by the actual leader Ed Miliband, who some might argue could learn a thing or two from the young man.

Labour found a new star this week, but Ed Miliband's speech was hampered by technical difficulties (Image: Daily Telegraph)

The leader’s speech itself was just getting going when the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) struck all the main broadcasters whose screens cut out missing the middle section. It meant Ed Miliband could not deliver his message of a ‘quiet crisis’ engulfing Britain. Not that it mattered much. We all knew what was in it anyway.

There were jeers from the party faithful for the mere mention of Tony Blair, yes he who so awfully delivered them three General Election victories, two of them landslides. How dare he! On the evidence available the speech was well received by the party, if not in the media. That suggests Ed Miliband has aptly captured the mood of the party – and it is one that doesn’t want to be in Government. Thanks goodness for that then.

House of bubbles…..The Financial Times today reported on an increasingly sticky situation in the Chinese property market. Construction in the country is big business in both senses of the word – skyscrapers are still sprigning up daily, and apartments are going for well over $10m according to the paper.

The problem for Chinese officials with all this growth is twofold – one, rapid growth leads to bubbles and we know what happened last time there was a big one of those involving housing. And two, property developers in China are a mixture of “dragons and fish tumbled together” in the words of one official. In other words, while some developers know what they’re doing, many others don’t.

China is keeping the world economy going - but a bubble is growing there

The Chinese authorities have therefore come up with a plan which hopefully tackles both these issues – tightening up bank mortgage lending. It seems to be working. As the FT notes, “stocks and bonds of Chinese property developers have been battered this year”, prices are falling and transactions are down.The question now, which the FT asked in a seperate article yesterday, is whether the fall signals the controlling or bursting of the bubble.

Dancing with Diversity…..Our Aviva team were very excited this week to see their hard work pay off on the very worthy Street Dance for Change campaign. This saw young people from across the country upload their own street dance videos to raise money for the Railway Children charity and the chance to win VIP Diversity 2011 Tour tickets.

Dancing, Diversity and the Railway Children - our campaign of the week

We had some great young people come to a dance workshop with Diversity and learn some of their latest street dance moves at the world renowned Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden. Plus, Diversity created a fab new video specially for the campaign, which is well worth a view. If you want to see some behind the scenes shots from the video check out Diversity’s Twitter feed.

For any who fancies getting involved and uploading a routine but just needs a little inspiration, Ashley Banjo shows off a few basic moves here. For every view of every competition entry Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children and the video that raises the most money, i.e. gets the most views, will win VIP Diversity 2011 Tour tickets and meet the group. The team enjoyed working with the boys (thanks for tweeting about the campaign!) to raise money for Railway Children and hope that the competition hits its £50,000 target.

Video of the week: Trader or hoaxer…..This video made the rounds after ‘independent trader’ Alessio Rastani stunned BBC viewers and presenters in a painfully frank interview where he said the “market is toast” and that the stock market is essentially finished.

TV's newest hate figure - Alessio Rastani (Image: Metro.co.uk)

His candid remarks were not well received with many viewers questioning his authority to make these comments. Some even branded him a hoaxer, choosing to believe that Rastani is the work of Andy Bichlbaum from The Yes Men rather than accept the bleak future he painted. Could we really be heading towards another economic recession? What do you want to believe?

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