Credit crisis diary: Lord Carter calls in the heavies

Ever sensitive to the accusation that ministers brief the press before Parliament, government officials applied a strict lock-in at yesterday's briefing for journalists on Digital Britain, with hacks banned from leaving the room until Ben Bradshaw had finished his House of Commons statement. One Evening Standard writer brave enough to make a break for it was escorted back into the room by security guards.

Patience wins the day

You heard it here first – The Wall Street Journal formally hired the ex-Sunday Telegraph editor Patience Wheatcroft yesterday as its European supremo, a week after this diary predicted the appointment. Wheatcroft is expected to ramp up efforts by the WSJ to take on the FT in Europe, just as the pink paper has encroached on its US territory.

Bad enough to give you nightmares

Companies' marketing ideas can be so cringeworthy they're beyond parody. Take the bed retailer Silentnight, for example. Embarrassing enough that, in an attempt to drum up sales, the company is launching National Love Your Bed Week. But it has also signed up the model Lisa Snowdon to front the campaign with this promise: "Bedercise – Lisa Snowdon will reveal how to get a great work out in bed and get a body as beautiful as hers." It must be a spoof, surely?

The ECB must go back to the drawing board

Is this really the best Europe could come up with? The stick figure on the new euro coin, designed to commemorate 10 years of the single currency, might be worth a round of applause had a 10-year-old come up with it in some sort of competition. In fact, it's the creation of a professional sculptor from the Bank of Greece.

House of Fraser says no to Debs deal – for now

House of Fraser's PR rebuttal machine was cranked up again yesterday to shoot down speculation that a tie-up with its department store rival Debenhams might be on the cards. The same PR firm, which also represented the now defunct Icelandic retail investor and former House of Fraser backer Baugur, has had plenty of rebuttal training. But retail watchers believe a deal between the two chains is likely eventually – watch out for plenty more denials where this one came from.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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