Column Eight: Dead cool marketing drive

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The Independent Online
The AA's Autoquote has been busily calculating premiums for well-dead historical figures as an ingenious marketing device to help to peddle its premiums.

Captain Cook, they reckon, would probably drive a Land- Rover Discovery - only pounds 435 including business use.

On the other hand Queen Boadicea, 30, rampaging leaderene of the Iceni (and quite obviously a dangerously wayward female driver), would have to cough up pounds 867 for her pounds 6,000 Reliant Scimitar sports model.

Drollest of all is the computation for King Charles I's mythical 1990 Vauxhall Cavalier. pounds 1,124 is being asked for his GSI model, even with a no- claims bonus and journeys restricted to the Thames Valley due to his incarceration in Windsor Castle.

'Insurance companies must think that he's inclined to lose his head,' the AA concludes. Ho ho.

QUIZZED on the slightly precarious finances of Levercrest, which makes equipment for children's playgrounds, Patrick Wilson of the company's merchant bank, County NatWest, was solicitous. 'Are you sitting down?' he asked carefully, before revealing gearing of 3,800 per cent.

COAL UK, a new monthly newsletter on the coal industry (annual subscription just pounds 385), will be having its work cut out to fulfil a launch promise to 'keep you informed of developments in the UK sector'. Soon though, won't it become redundant? After all, as the British coal industry heads for shutdown the very title seems over-optimistic. Would not Coal Germany be more appropriate?

But no. Look a little closer at the blurb and you will see that the nascent Coal UK is actually a newsletter on 'Europe's fastest growing import (our italics) market for coal'. A definite case of an ill wind.

DAVID Montgomery, former editor of Today and newly installed as chief executive at Mirror Group Newspapers, will be working among friends in his new job. Just appointed as his managing director is Charles Wilson, late of the Times and more recently the Sporting Life. Messrs Montgomery and Wilson worked side by side at Wapping in the Eighties as editors of sister News International newspapers.

Another to gain promotion is Vic Horwood, who actually voted against Mr Montgomery's appointment. Nevertheless, he has been elevated to the position of deputy chairman. Who says Montgomery's a harsh man?