************************Folly of the Week************************

I promised to show you something dopey at least once a week. But it’s too easy to criticise, so I’ll also show you something I think is excellent. Where better to start than with the world’s second biggest employer – after Indian Railways? Yes: it’s the dear old NHS as sorely afflicted by deadly germs as it’s clogged up with bureaucratic drivel.
An article I read the other day suggests that the former is mainly because a radical new idea called keeping things clean has yet to take hold. The latter no doubt comes from semi-literate bureaucrats who confuse pomposity with meaning.

Here’s a sign I saw opposite the Chelsea and Fulham Hospital.

What does it mean? Any clues? Do they come and shout at you or beat you up if you’re ill?

Twenty yards away is another sign in the window of Richer Sounds/ They used to have the highest turnover per square foot of any store in the U.K. – and may still have with messages this clear. Here it is.

What is the difference between these two signs?

My old boss David Ogilvy used to say “We sell – or else”.

The NHS sign is from people who, if they fail, just get more of your money and mine to squander on drivel when they should be investing in soap.

The other is from people who know they have to sell – or be out of work.

Makes a difference, doesn’t it?

About the Author


In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.


  1. Good point. The same type of criticism can be levied at Royal Mail who have enjoyed hundreds of years of monopoly control. There’s an interesting letter in the current issue of PrecisionMarketing magazine (June 29th 2007) about this subject:

    “This sorry state of affairs [lack of compensation due to postal strikes] only goes to demonstrate the monopolistic, anti-competitive (and therefore untenable) position Royal Mail has in the market, where it straddles the public and private sectors.
    “What other commercial supplier not only gets away with beign unaccountable for its mistakes, but also is allowed to sweep my bank account every seven days (no invoices to be paid in 30 days here, thank you very much), with virtually no discounts (even then, Mailsort is effectively giving us back money for doing their job) and no regular point of contact to help smooth the process?”
    Alan Timothy of Rocket Science

  2. Peter

    I thought the NHS sign was obvious. The service is to teach people to assertively reach out and press the door bell to get into the clinic and access the service. I do not think it is needed though because as yet they have not had any patients. Not sure why.

    We have a sign up for our eye clinic which includes an eye. I do not think we have an STD clinic because as yet I have not found the sign. Wonder what it will look like.

    Well you live and learn, Ken. I thought the Royal Mail was about 150 years old but a quick check on Wikipedia and I find that 2016 is the 500th anniversary. As I like to learn something new everyday you have just made my day. Thanks. Then I though the GPO is the one I am thinking of but no that was 1660. First stamp 1840. Got it.

    Love the Richer Sounds sign.

    1. Drayton

      Love the “assertively”.

  3. this blog is ok but honestly all i care about is that black sabbath are the greatest band in history

    1. Drayton

      This is a great worry to me. Seek treatment. The greatest band in history was Duke Ellington. However, my partner Gerald, also musically challenged, might agree with you, poor demented fool that he is.

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