Pembroke: Baling out at the supermarket checkout

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The Independent Online
MOVE OVER Air Miles, Balloon Miles is on your tail. Flying Pictures, which has organised airborne stunts for films such as Sylvester Stallone's Cliffhanger and five Bond movies, including Live and Let Die, is muscling into the market.

Like its airline rival, Balloon Miles will be aimed at companies seeking something different to attract sales teams and others keen to encourage customer loyalty - in other words, spend more than 50 quid in our supermarket and pick up 20 balloon miles.

It works like this: you need 150 points for a champagne flight in a hot air balloon, 1250 for a parachute jump and 850 points for a few loop-the-loops in a microlight, the airborne equivalent of a Sinclair C5.

Punters who prefer to keep both feet on terra firma will be encouraged to purchase points as gifts for unwitting loved ones. How about a bit of skydiving for granny's 70th birthday?

'Air Miles has been around for a while,' says a Flying Pictures spokeswoman. 'People might be looking for something different.'

THE BOSS of Dixons, Stanley Kalms, must have cursed his luck when he heard that Circuit City, the US electrical outfit, had announced 18 per cent like-for- like growth for February. The reason for this was a sales spurt in its Los Angeles stores after the earthquake.

With its usual masterful timing, Dixons sold all of its LA stores to Circuit City just before the earth moved.

(Photograph omitted)

THE INLAND REVENUE, that highly regarded band of public sector bean-counters, is working itself up into quite a lather about its logo. 'People are ripping it off,' comes the cry.

The Inland Revenue's enviable brand name is a difficult one to swallow, but we'll let that pass. 'People have been using it to illustrate financial products to give the impression they are endorsed by us when they are not,' gushes a wounded tax spokesperson taking a break from some Scheule D expense claims. 'Some of it amounts to flagrant logo abuse.'

All this is not as bad as it sounds. So far, the worst violation of the Inland Revenue's newish logo - a groovy crest in a slanted strip of colour - was when one newspaper drew gender symbols all over it. Shame on them.

AND HERE'S A case of one step forward and two steps back for Lloyds Bank. The Lloyds branch in London's Oxford Street has sent account holders a breathless circular proclaiming much good news.

Lloyds is providing extended opening hours and a new teleservice team to help answer general inquiries from the public. Unfortunately, the circular printed the wrong telephone number for the service, so callers could not get through.

The hunt is on for successful women as two award schemes open their doors to applications. Options magazine is running its 11th Working Women Mean Business Award. 'We are not necessarily looking for the real high-flyers,' explains editor Maureen Rice encouragingly.

The other gong is a real mouthful. Let's hear it for the European Union Women's 1994 European Women of Achievement Awards. A challenge for any engraver to get that lot on the winning plaque.

THE LATEST management psychobabble thumps on to Pembroke's desk. Welcome to Techno Trends: how to use technology to beat the competition.

Written by Daniel Burrus (with Roger Gittines), the book turns business into a poker game, with headings such as 'Using the trump card' and 'Playing with a full deck.'

The authors, who we must assume are playing with a deck as full as anyone else's, roll out phrases such as 're-become an expert', 'learn to fail fast' and 'take your biggest problem and skip it'.

They seem an interesting pair. Mr Burrus is an accomplished musician, snorkler, pilot, film maker and photographer who runs his own business. Mr Gittines has penned other titles, including What Men Won't Tell You but Women Need to Know.