Business Diary: Money where its mouthpiece is

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The Independent Online

The price comparison website has been singing the praises of Omid Djalili, the face of its new advertising campaign. The comedian has helped it to post a chunky increase in revenue during the first half of the year, you see. Strangely, said something very similar about Peter Jones, the star of Dragon's Den, and its previous campaign. So why didn't it stick with him?

Is this the PR client from hell?

It's the world's favourite airline (by passenger numbers, at least), so who wouldn't want a potentially lucrative contract with Ryanair, the Irish budget carrier? Just one word of caution – the contract in question is for a new public relations agency (Ryanair is parting with its incumbent, Murray Consultants), which is going to be challenging work. Still, at least Ryanair's boss Michael O'Leary is a pro-active client happy to come up with his own publicity ideas. That one about charging to for the toilet, for example, seems to be going down a treat.

Bootle says boo to housing

Hell hath no fury like an economist scorned. Roger Bootle's Capital Economics has taken a certain amount of stick over the past months and years for its consistently gloomy views about the prospects for the housing market. Now prices do seem to be turning down once again, it's difficult for the think-tank not to sound a little smug about being proved right. "A period of flat prices is the best that can be hoped for, but relapse is the most likely scenario," its latest note warns.

Tube's plans for bums on seats

Finally, our congratulations to Wallace Sewell, a London-based company that has beaten more than 350 entrants in a competition to design a new fabric for the seats on the London Underground. You'll be able to see its winning design on Central Line trains from the middle of next year onwards – though why so many people were keen to come up with an idea that the Tube's ill-mannered passengers will trample on with their size nines is beyond us.