Charity vs ethics: you decide

ux-salon-dark-patterns-3-638Ever heard of “dark patterns”? The term was coined – as you can see from the photo above – by Harry Brignull and is used to describe ‘naughty things’ companies do to try and trick you into doing something you don’t necessarily want to.

As companies try ever harder to make money and get more out of people, these dark patterns are becoming ever more common.

So where’s the link to charity, I hear you cry? Well, last night I spotted this tweet:

The crux of the issue is that a £1 discretionary donation was added to the final bill by default, thus making it less likely that it would be removed.

The restaurant concerned – a very good Indian one in Brighton – was very contrite, but rightly pointed out that the £1 charity discretion was clearly advertised and would have been happily removed. Continue reading

Is personalisation really any good?

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A tweet in my time line caught my eye last week. Someone I follow was calling out Sainsbury’s for giving her an offer for pork sausages, despite her having bought kosher margarine recently.

What surprised me more was Sainsbury’s explanation.

Their claim that vouchers are generated randomly smelt distinctively of the horseshit variety.

Holy grail

The holy grail of modern marketing is being able to send such hyper-targeted communications and offers to customers that they continually return to your brand on a never-ending, subliminal journey of discovery and purchase.

The reality – as the above example shows – is somewhat different. Continue reading

10 things I’ve learned from appearing on TV quiz shows

The Mastermind chair

This Friday one small personal life goal will be achieved, as BBC2 airs my appearance as a competitor on Mastermind.

Ever since I realised at a relatively young age that I had the ability to absorb and regurgitate a large number of (mainly) useless facts, I’ve wanted to appear and sit in the big black chair.

However, this isn’t my first appearance on a TV quiz show – oh no. 

Since my fledgling outing on Blockbusters as a callow 17-year-old, I have bothered the schedules on a number of occasions, with varying degrees of success. Continue reading