Credit Crisis Diary: Goodbye Norwich Union, hello Bruce Willis

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The Independent Online

There's no faulting insurer Aviva for the list of celebrities it has signed up to promote an ad campaign designed to explain why it is dropping the Norwich Union brand. It includes Bruce Willis, below, Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper and even Dame Edna Everage, all explaining why they once changed their name. There can't have been much change out of Aviva's £10m marketing budget once that lot were paid their fees.

Fairfield's mea culpa lacks some culpa

Much mirth – and fury too – over the latest update to investors from Fairfield, the hedge fund firm thought to have lost a packet in the Bernie Madoff affair. It notes that investors will have read of Fairfield's exposure in the press before going on to explain that it hasn't got a clue how much has been lost. Oh, and Fairfield's management company has rather graciously decided to waive its fees until the situation is clarified. How very generous of them.

Still cruising inthe fast lane

And people say the boom time is over. Not in the world of top-end car collecting it isn't. The auction house Bonham's has just broken the world record for the price achieved on a Ferrari Spyder Corsam, with the final bid coming in at £2.35m. For the car freaks among you, the model in question was a 1955 4.4 litre Ferrari 121 LM model. Let's hope oil prices stay low so that the buyer can afford to run the thing.

The car could dowith a clean too

What more does the housebuilder Barratt Homes have to do to shift some property? One of its offices is about to launch yet another special deal for buyers in Derbyshire: all your gas, electricity, water and council tax bills paid for the next 18 months. Come on chaps, surely you can do better than that – how about offering to pop round once a week to mow the lawn and do a spot of ironing?

Does she mean us?

Wise words from the Communities minister, Hazel Blears, who was happy to sing the praises of mutually owned institutions at a recent gathering of building society bosses. "Many command a degree of affection and trust that few plcs can,"Ms Blears told her audience. "That's because of the principles at the heart of mutuals: not just speculation, but support; not just profit, but investing in the common good." Tell that to customers of the string of building societies who lost a packet after pumping money into risky Icelandic banks.

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