Sunday afternoon, 6pm
There's a chocolate fair outside the Royal Festival Hall. I notice that Hotel Chocolat have a stand, and enquire whether the women running it are permanent staff. Yes, there are. Aha says I, is it worth mentioning - for you to pass up the chain - that your advertising sucks mightily? In fact that the women in the ads look as if sucking is their main occupation. You're selling chocolate not Nuts.
Oooh says they, please oh please email our head honcho Angus Thirlwell. Because we hate it too, we're all up in arms, we're all telling him, but it has more effect if customers say something.Sunday night, 11pm
Email subject line Porntastic advertising - no thanks
I'm writing to you personally to ask you to cancel my Chocolate Tasting Club
membership subscription, and to tell you the reason.
It's the style of advertising you've started using. I'm actually offended by the exploitive images on your Christmas mailout. The open-mouthed come-on poses make the leaflets resemble lads mags. Also, if you don't mind me being frank, I think you're being deeply unimaginative as well as somewhat foolish. I'm guessing a lot of your customers, possibly the majority, are women. What makes you imagine that using that sort of sex will sell us more of your products? (Or perhaps it does. In which case you won't care that you've lost me as a customer.)
It's disappointing, because one of the highlights of the day is the wind-down ritual after work, when my husband and I sit on the sofa together, with a cup of tea, and a chocolate each from the current month's box. (Sometimes we ran out so I had to go home via the Moorgate shop to pick up fresh supplies.) It's disappointing because I'd had a higher opinion of your company - your ethical policy was one of the reasons I was happy to support you. It's disappointing because I like trying new chocolates.
However, this issue is important enough that I'm voting with my purse. Happily I also work close to branches of Rococo and Paul.A.Young, and they'll get my custom from now on.
RozMonday morning, 10am
Phone call from Angus Thirlwell. He is very very sorry. I am the tenth customer complainant. His staff are complaining. His wife is complaining. His creative department 'has taken the wrong direction' and he will be rectifying it shortly. Would I possibly reconsider my request to cancel? And did he mention how sorry he was? (Da capo al fine to the theme of 'we cocked up'.)
OK, no cancel. Actually quite impressed he picked up the phone himself.