Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 Posted by Jake 3 comments Labels: , , ,
Posted by Jake on Tuesday, January 01, 2013 with 3 comments | Labels: , , ,

We at Ripped-off Britons aim to provide you with well sourced facts and data so you can digest and pass them on by word of mouth, by email, by re-tweeting.

But there's a limit to what we can do. So we invite you to find relevant articles and recommend them to us for publication on our blog.

We ourselves look around for suitable material ourselves, and have already gratefully accepted contributions from a number of guest authors. But there are only so many hours in a day available from our other duties. So we invite you, our readers, to suggest articles you have come across by doing the following:

  • Email us a link to the article, to
  • We will check out the article, to see if it fits in with our campaigning
  • If it does, we will contact the author and invite them to contribute the article to Ripped-off Britons
  • If the author accepts our invitation and we publish the article, we will invite you to select a Ripped-off Britons cartoon of your choice, which we will print and sign and post to you. (Perhaps not as liquid as cash, but it's the only sort of Quantitative Easing we can afford, and a sight less dodgy than the Bank of England's).
The articles we seek need to be more than unsupported assertions. We want evidence to back up the assertions, such as:

  • Quotes from recognised sources
  • Data from respected organisations
  • Well presented graphs and graphics
Campaigners like us are in competition with those who sell their rip-offs. Rip-offs that include dodgy financial products; gouging energy and transport price hikes; mendacious political stances. In this competition, in spite of the overwhelming financial power of advertisers, impecunious campaigners can still punch above our weight. According to a survey by Nielsen (a research company that aims to provide “the most complete understanding of what consumers watch and buy”):

“Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible.”

Which still means us campaigners are at a vast disadvantage, but less vast than you might think. 

The difference, dear reader, is you. People believe you far more than they do a costly advertising campaign or a weasel government statement. In contrast, corporate executives hoping to swipe your money and government ministers hoping for promotion and for private clients for their "cab for hire" services are greeted with the scepticism they deserve.

To give you an idea of the size of the challenge campaigners face in the tug-of-war between information and disinformation:

Britons on average see 1,400 adverts each month, according to the “review of television advertising and teleshopping regulation” report by OFCOM.

According to research by Nielsen and Brad Insight UK the ten sectors with the biggest advertising budgets spent £6.2 billion in 2010 to persuade you to part with your money:

In most sectors the top 10 spending companies did the bulk of the advertising. Incredibly, the top 10 spending retail companies threw nearly as much money into adverts as the whole of the finance industry:

The helping fist provided by successive governments in the mugging of consumers is evident from the ironically named "Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations" that legalises the ripping off of half the population. As it is by OFCOM’s regulations that allow up to 1 minute in 5 of television time (12 minutes per hour) for adverts. 

And in terms of advertising, the budgets are increasing. According to the Institute of Practioners in Advertising (IPA), "In 2011, total adspend (including direct mail) increased by 2.7%, to £16.1bn (current prices)"

In their book published in 1885, Thomas Smith and J.H.Osborne observed it takes twenty views for an advert to catch its target:
  1. The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  2. The second time, they don’t notice it.
  3. The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  4. The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
  5. The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
  6. The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
  8. The eight time, they start to think, “Here’s that counfounded ad again.”
  9. The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
  10. The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbours if they’ve tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
  12. The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  13. The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
  14. The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
  17. The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
  18. The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
  19. The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
  20. The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.
In the modern day, with the great diversity of media channels, advertisers assail us many more than 20 times pledging that if we do what they tell us we will be better off. We hope that you will support us to compete and punch above our weight with our cartoons and articles in your conversations, emails and re-tweets.


  1. Only ever buy what is absolutely necessary! Don't be seduced or persuaded to buy stuff you don't need - and certainly not if you have to buy on credit! The best therapy is knowing you have NO debts!

  2. The problem is that "THEM" varies with the issue. Sometimes its bankers, sometimes central govt, sometimes local govt, sometimes large corporations, sometimes small-time crooks & politicians. And some people regard people like me as part of the problem!

    It's a never ending fight against them because they pop up everywhere, sometimes disappear, and then reappear elsewhere in a different guise. It's the nasty or stupid or lazy side of human nature. Eternal vigilance and free speech is the only answer. But free speech is now off limits. Political correctness (that is, shut your mouth about inconvenient truths) reigns.

  3. Political advertising by the party of power is the most devious. It is cloaked as democratic government but perversely configured PRIMARILY to see THAT party re-elected. The goal is CONTINUOUS POWER, not benign stewardship of the people. The amount spent is UNLIMITED, being billed to US via taxation. In a word: CORRUPTION.


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