Pembroke: Gardening programme not going for a song

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The Independent Online
BUILDING SOCIETIES are increasingly climbing aboard the marketing bandwagon. The latest is Cheltenham and Gloucester, which is to lavish pounds 400,000 on sponsoring Classic FM's new gardening programme.

The Gardening Forum (featuring the entire Radio Four Gardener's Question Time team, which switched horses recently) will rock the airwaves with tips on beating the frost and planting your carrots from 2 April.

'We did some research and found that the two audiences would be a perfect fit,' C&G says. 'Our customers tend to be older, wealthier investors who might be on their second or third mortgage. Many also list gardening and classical music as their main interests.' Still, pounds 400,000?

ANOTHER building society, Birmingham Midshires, has invested pounds 400,000 in a new logo, which will be on all branches by May. The society has chosen what appears to be a couple dancing in red track suits or saluting the crowd after a good run in the two-man luge.

'It's a people image with open, welcoming arms,' explains chief executive Mike Jackson, weakly. 'They portray fitness and health.'

Spencer Landor, the design firm, says the original drawing had the pair leaping in the air but the society said investors would prefer them with both feet on the ground. I hear they also had to make sure there was a gap between them. Not for reasons of propriety but because otherwise the woman appeared to have a rather large behind.

(Photograph omitted)

MFI, THE FURNITURE retailer whose DIY kit has flummoxed many a first-time home- buyer, obviously feels the ghost of its downmarket image has been laid. The company is back at the Ideal Homes Exhibition for the first time in six years. Not only that, the newly confident outfit has taken the largest stand at the show.

'A lot has happened to the business in six years and we see this as an opportunity of showing people what MFI in the Nineties is all about,' said Trevor Tellett, furniture centres managing director.

THE ACCOUNTANCY profession is really pushing the boat out for its 500th anniversary. The latest contribution to the festivities is a brick of a book called Accounting History, tracing the roots of beancounters back to the year dot.

A ripping yarn it is too. Chapter headings include 'The ancient world: before double entry book- keeping' (what chaos that must have been), 'The tally and the checker board', and 'Nineteenth century accounting in the West Riding textile industry'.

EXECUTIVES from Japan Air Lines tell me they expect great things from their new massage seats when they are introduced on April Fool's Day. The four seats will be a new feature in the first-class compartments of four of JAL's 747s. 'You can have a rolling massage, a pounding one, or select a customised programme of your own,' JAL says.

The airline is not worried about losing revenue from the seats as they are the ones positioned right at the nose of their aircraft. 'No one ever wanted to sit in them anyway,' JAL says.

UNITED BISCUITS obviously enjoys a little joke. Undeterred by the abject failure of the Government's 'Back to Basics' policy, the McVitie's and KP group has chosen the same slogan for the planned restructuring of its US biscuits division. 'We only used it to raise a laugh with analysts,' said barrel of laughs chief executive Eric Nicoli. Unfortunately it failed.