Bunhill: Come on, Nike, just sell it

FEELING distinctly down at heel just now will be Nike, the sportswear supplier famed for its "Just do it" catchline. So pervasive has this marketing proved that Tesco has just done it - bought up pounds 8m worth of stock and put it on sale at a massive discount to normal high-street prices.

Nike won't like this. It has spent a great deal of money building up a brand that confers "dangerous to know" street cred on its wearer, and you can't put cachet in a shopping bag. Last year Tesco did the same thing with Levi's, prompting the jeans maker to complain that a supermarket wasn't a "suitable environment" for its products.

This argument, of course, is about as practical as button flies. If manufacturers worry that the outlets where their products are sold affects people's perception of the brand, they might as well choose their customers - after all, put a logo on our clothes and we're all walking advertisements. To illustrate my case: I'm a rotund wig-wearing scribe, I powder my face and I'm named after a cemetery in the City. Hardly a would-be Eric Cantona then ... but I've got a pair of Nike trainers. So there!

There's also an element of trying to have your shoe and wear it in the manufacturers' argument because they're happy to flog off stock in bulk to wholesalers - with no questions asked about where they'll end up. This is the so-called "grey market": when the wholesalers order too much, the stores take the surplus off their hands.

Anyway, Nike should worry, because the only people who'll buy its stuff in Tesco are those who put value for money before image - in other words, a whole new market. Meanwhile, bunging a pounds 45 pair of trainers in with the oven cleaner and toilet brush just isn't the kind of thing bad boys do ... unless they're being pushed round in the trolley by their parents, that is.

AND LO it came to pass that the disciples said they had seen the future, and the future was downsizing and delayering, and God saw that it was so, and the disciples were delivered to the promised land.

God moves in mysterious ways, as we know, but they're not half as mysterious as management theory, so I suppose we must congratulate the Church for embracing the "Bible's got nothing on this" world of business-speak. People Management magazine reports that Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln is offering a two-year MBA in church management.

Before you start wondering what Christianity has to do with "cost efficiencies", "rationalisations" and "boardroom coups", don't forget that religion was the inspiration for many modern business practices. For instance, who was it who invented Sunday opening, flexible working and multi-skilling? And as for "Just in time" management - Noah had that one licked a long time ago.

Pay now, die later

DEATH: I wouldn't recommend it on balance. Ten years ago you'd have been all right dead because in those days burial costs hadn't gone straight to hell. Now, though, Co-operative Retail Services (CRS) reports that dying will set you back twice as much - and that's a stiff rise.

The reason is that even death isn't immune to the economic laws of scarcity and demand. Apparently, while the public's appetite for pushing up daisies remains unquenched, few new burial plots are coming on the market and landowners are charging more to use sites where corpses already exist (if you see what I mean). The rise in land values is particularly marked in the South-east, CRS says, so if you live in London, die somewhere else.

To help us, CRS has launched a "funeral bond" whereby you pay for a future funeral at today's prices. Young and old, the company claims, have found that planning their own funeral "gives them a sense of control over their destiny" - though, ultimately, not that much control. But the philosophy is beautifully simple: pay now, die later. You know it makes sense.

LAST week I mentioned a new insurance policy from Stone Financial Risks designed to protect clients from the bank-breaking escapades of rogue traders. So it should be noted that Nick Leeson, the trader who inspired the policy, has clearly taken out his own cover - against being played in the film of the Barings affair by an ugly actor.

The insurers must have taken fright because they've fixed it that our man is to be played by Ewan McGregor, the Trainspotting star whose resemblance to Leeson is less than uncanny but very flattering. Less happy may be those on the Barings board at the time of the scandal; rumour says they are all to be played by Mr Bean.

By the way, I've taken out a similar policy, so our hero in the forthcoming blockbuster Bunhill: the Movie is Michelle Pfeiffer. The likeness is remarkable.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine