A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
The campaign was launched in January 2009, playing on the similarity between the words “Market” and “Meerkat” and with Orlov’s catchphrase ‘Simples’. It has achieved a great success since then and also has contributed to a commercial success for comparethemarket.com to become the UK’s 4th most visited insurance website, and the site’s overall sales doubled. By 2010 the site had increased its market share by 76%. As of today, Aleksandr has more than 800,000 Facebook fans and around 55,000 followers on Twitter, as well as his Flickr gallery for family portraits. The adverts are quite funny, so check out the videos on YouTube’s channel of comparethemeerkat.com.
UK’s department store chain, John Lewis‘s Christmas TV advert 2011 has become a big sensation. This 90-second advert which cost £6 million to make, has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube so far. Spoof videos have also popped up online, which is more like a piece of horror movie or its trailer, using the same visuals but with scary music such as the theme of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining(the Sun article).
In the advert, 7-year-old Scottish boy Lewis McGowan, who was chosen from 250 candidates, is impatiently counting down the time with frown face for Christmas day to arrive. When it finally comes, the he rushes out from his bed, and runs to fetch the gift he has for his parents, without opening his own presents stucked up next his bed. Yes he is cute, but for me, it is a bit too long and boring. Also the tear-jerking formula, adorable little boy doing a sweet thing, makes me fed up!
This is a TV commercial I see sometimes on TV recently. It is cute that the colorful clay puppet gets panicked by finding out that he has ‘tire’ around his waist (→ click here to see other videos). Western men seem to get fat around their waist, as in the video, so called ‘tire’ or ‘love handles,’ comparing with Oriental men who tend to get fat on their belly but not their sides. M is also worrying about his tire and now he religiously goes on diet and works out at a gym few times a week, tracking his weight on his iphone app weightbot.
Change4Life, which made this TV ad, is England’s national social marketing campaign to promote heathly weight, began in January 2009. It aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat well, move more and live longer, and supports the overall Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy. According to the article of the Guardian in October 2009, about a million people in England are morbidly obese with a BMI of more than 40. One in four adults is obese (a BMI of 30+), and government statistics estimate that the number will go up to 41% by 2025, and will be more than half, astonishingly 9 in 10 including ‘overweight’ with a BMI of 25〜30 by 2050. Kids are not exception either – 10% of six-year-olds are clinically obese, and the number of obese children has tripled over the past 20 years.
The average size of a british woman is British size 16 (American size 14), and average height is 163.7 cm (5′ 4.4″). I don’t see many overweight people in London, but more in the countryside. However, you mostly see ‘size zero‘ models on catwalks or a fashion magazines, contrary to the average size of women in UK. The fashion industry is often criticized because of this trend, as it creates unrealistic pressures for young women and the high incidence of eating disorders. Although many young women are obsessed about diet and loosing weight, the Fabulous Body Survey 2008 reveals that the women’s size that men like is 2 sizes bigger than the women’s ideal size. Also in Japan models of men’s magazines are more voluptuous (they especially like big breasts) than the stick-thin models in female magazines. Supposedly men prefer the female figures with bigger breasts and hips because of biological reason: so that the women can give a birth as many of their offsprings as possible. At the end of the day, I think women’s ideal body image is a result of a rivalry among women, and to increase their self-esteem that they can fit in a smallest size possible, like muscles do for men.
Probably because I was kicked out from the bus and forced to walk in snow for half an hour yesterday, my cold got worse. My nose is runny and my voice has changed, and I have been blowing my nose all the time. So I went to a pharmacy to buy a cold medicine, and picked up my prescription drug as well (the prescription above is the unused one I got in the past). In UK, a prescription drug is free, but you pay NHS prescription charges for £7.20 (price from April 2009 to now). and usually a cheap generic medicine is given if you don’t choose others. A pharmacist often recommend to buy over-the-counter drug, if it is cheaper than prescription charge and if the ingredients and effectiveness are more or less the same with the prescription medicine.
I bought two homeopathy remedies from Boots, which supposedly effective for Swine flu, after I read the Epoch Times‘ (free paper founded by practitioners of the Falun Gong – I didn’t now it) article about it. First I had used Aconite (Aconitum napellus) , which can be helpful at the first sign of flu and cold symptoms. My condition had been the status quo for few days – I don’t know because of the effect of Aconite, or because I had been at home kept myself warm. Now my symptoms got worse and I started to take Arsen alb (Arsenicum Album), which is “the most commonly indicated remedy for the H1N1 virus outbreak of early 2009,” as I read that it works for a blocked nose as well.
Homeopathy is not supported by modern scientific research, and it is said that there is little evidence the remedies work other than as a placebo. But homeopathy is £40 million industry in the UK, and Boots admits that they sell homeopathic remedies because “they sell, not because they work“. M believes only science, not homeopathy or alternative medicines – so do my parents who are both pharmacists. I myself don’t mind to try anything as long as it works and safe. I also understand people who find a hope in alternative medicines if there is no other cure. Let’s see if my homeopathic remedy works for me. I bought usual cold medicine as well, in case it doesn’t work at all.
The video below is the TV commercial of Beechams, the GlaxoSmithKline owned cold and flu remedy, that I happened to see on TV while I waswriting this entry. HSBC bank also used Sumo wrestler for their advertising last year. But HSBC was under fire as the campaign uses the image of a western man whose skin tone has been darkened and that make-up has been applied that appears to narrow his eyes, and it has upset Japanese living in UK, according to the Guardian article. Personally I don’t think it is a big deal – a portrayal of a foreigner is more or less based on a stereotype, not only Japanese. M complains that some Japanese TV programs make fun of ‘Gaijin’, foreigners in Japanese. At the end of the day, I think any country does the same, or otherwise it would be very boring if everything is goody-goody.
Recently I frequently see ‘Act F.A.S.T.‘ government campaign TV ad, promoting the fast action when you feel the first sign of stroke (you can see the ad by clicking ‘View The TV ad‘ on the top right of the link page). As I wrote in the topic of ‘Keys, Cash, Condoms‘ ad, there is a flood of public ads to ‘educate’ citizens in UK. The ad caught our attention, not only because of this strong commercial, but also M’s father got left half of his body paralyzed by stroke, and there is The Stroke Association just blocks away from our apartment.
In UK, every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke and an estimated 150,000 people per year suffer from Stroke. Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the UK and the third most common cause of death after cancer and coronary heart disease. ‘F.A.S.T’ stands for F (Face), A (Arms), S (Speech), and T (Time) . ‘Face’ – Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile? ‘Arms’ – Can they raise both arms and keep them there? ‘Speech’ – Is their speech slurred? If you see any single symptoms, it is important to call emergency number 999 (911 in USA) right away, as quick action could save from serious damage and death.