Barlow's Beef: Not just any terrorist moisturiser


What's your favourite brand of chocolate? I'm guessing Cadbury's will be high on the list. Chocolate lovers have been devouring Cadbury's for generations. The name alone is sufficient to make most people salivate. It has connotations of Christmas, birthdays and all things nice.
How it will fair now the Cadbury brand has been bought by Kraft, a company whose only contribution to gastronomic excellence was to laminate cheese, worries me somewhat.

You will no doubt remember the ludicrous attempt by senior management to abandon the globally recognised Royal Mail brand in favour of Consignia, a name with less public recognition than the Lib Dems.

In 1997 the buffoons running British Airways, in a headlong rush to embrace Tony Blair's Cool Britannia, replaced their world renown Union flag logo with what can only be described as global graffiti.

Richard Branson could scarcely believe his luck and quickly adopted a version of the Union logo for his Virgin fleet increasing his market share accordingly.

Large companies pay huge sums for brand names that engender positive consumer response e.g. Pampers baby products, Sunsilk shampoo, Crag Hopper outdoor clothing etc.

So what response does the word ISIS elicit from you? I doubt it's the warm glow of bon homie and goodwill to all. No (sane) company would adopt it as a toiletry brand. Wrong.

Imagine my astonishment when I found the above products on sale in one of our most venerable stores today. Surely some kind of stunt I reasoned but apparently not. From all the thousands of options available to its management team Marks and Spencer chose a name synonymous with global mayhem.

Look, I'm no marketing guru but come Christmas I doubt shoppers will forgo Jo Malone and Vera Wang in favour of a terrorist derivative. They will have no desire to create mass panic through the joy of giving.

Even a seasoned M&S shopper like Mrs B would think twice about opening a gift marked ISIS. So what's the deal? Surely a retailer of such repute must know the connotation? Well, more than connotation they've actually adopted the exact name by which this bloodthirsty band of fanatics is globally known.

It's impossible to read a journal or watch a news programme on TV without seeing images of desperate refugees fleeing from the brutality of ISIS. Apart from Orla Guerin I can't see many ladies rushing to embrace that.

This is not just any blunder... this is a monumental M&S blunder.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Tuesday 27th October 2015 at 3:59 pm
Vic that has been selling for years. What it does illustrate is how unresponsive the management of large companies are to events - no doubt these were ordered several years ago and no one has noticed the name. Still, those purchasing managers will go onwards and upwards irrespective.
Julian Barlow
Wednesday 28th October 2015 at 12:00 pm
On the contrary, this is a stroke of marketing genius. Whilst few would argue that Bin Laden wasn't a murderous fanatic his skin care regime was second to none. Before a hard days terrorising he'd cleanse thoroughly, moisturise and then add a dab of his favourite aftershave, A Touch of Camel. When the US Navy SEALS stormed his compound in Pakistan they were forced to wear protective googles for fear of being dazzled by his flawless complexion and youthful appearance. Despite being 139 and spending much of his adult life in a cave, he was frequently I.D'd at his local pub The Severed Arms.
Wednesday 28th October 2015 at 1:05 pm
Julian - this is hilarious!
Simon Worthington
Friday 30th October 2015 at 8:50 am
Those with some classical education will associate ISIS (and good Bob Dylan song and magazine) with ancient Egypt. Another example of corruption of ancient symbols of worship as happened to the swastika which is reviled by the west.
Vic Barlow
Friday 30th October 2015 at 5:15 pm
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.(Bob Dylan 1966)

The answer, my friend, is an effective skin moisturiser (Osama Bin Laden 2011)