It’s that time of the year again. With Siberian snowflakes in the air and jingle bells on the airwaves, the thoughts of marketing men and women everywhere turn to bonnets, bunnies, and eggs. Yes, there are only 110 shopping days to Easter.
And don’t forget those land-marks on the way, St Valentine’s Day and Mothering Sunday, both emotion-wringing occasions when the accumulated guilt of neg ligent spouses and wayward offspring can be assuaged by some adroit spending.
It takes thought and ingenuity to turn other significant dates in the calendar to commercial advantage, but, since marketing thrives on challenge, here are a few of the events to look out for in 1996.
January 17: Colon Awareness Day. Jointly sponsored by the BMA and the manufacturers of Sunburst Bran Flakes, the occasion is designed to encourage ordinary men and women to spare a thought for their bowels.
Disease of the lower intestine has reached epidemic proportions and yet the simple truth is that if only we ate more fruit and fibre and stopped smoking, we could live longer and more regularly. A number of B-list celebrities will talk about how they relate to their abdominal cavity. DIY colonic irrigation kits will be on sale at most high street stores and service stations. Princess Diana has sent a message of goodwill.
February 3 is Accidents in the Home Day. It is well known that 90 per cent of common injuries, such as cuts, abrasions, electric shocks, and broken limbs, occur within the confines of the domestic dwelling. If we as a nation can be persuaded to desist from standing on chairs, that alone would save the NHS thousands of pounds and would, in its own way, be life-enhancing.
Events up and down the country will be held to alert people to the hazards that lurk in everyday and unexpected places.
There will be guest appearances by the several elderly people of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, who fell into “wheelie” rubbish bins as they tried to clean them, suffering broken bones as a result.
Those whose jaws are unwired in time will describe their experiences. Look out, too, for Andrew Henderson, 43, aka “Big
Clint”, a Wild West fan, of Paisley, Strathclyde, who suffered flash burns to his groin when his six-shooter caught in his waistband and went off as he was demonstrating his latest quick-draw technique to friends in his living room. Princess Diana sends hugs and kisses.
March 13 is Ladies who Lunch Day. Hosted by Lady Bienvenida Buck, this is wonderful occasion for restaurateurs to do some good for the many scores of women with cash to spare who are, quite literally, useless.
It’s amazing what a fawning welcome and a grovelling sommelier can achieve in raising the self-esteem of an underclass who would otherwise be engaged in a meaningless and empty world of shopping and fornication.
The Health Education Authority estimates that for every lady who lunches that we know of, there are scores of others whose plight passes unknown. Do you know of an idle courtesan near you looking for a role in the world? Princess Diana regrets that she is otherwise engaged.
April 29 is National Adultery Day. This is a celebration of infidelity designed to remove for ever the remaining vestiges of stigma attached to what the Church of England now sees for what it is, a national sport.
The National Association of Social Workers estimates that if only one in ten of the nation’s adulterers could be made to feel good about themselves, there would be an immense saving in terms of resources, funding and outreach services. Listen out for the Today programme in which Miss Sue Macgregor will castigate a Minister of the Crown, as yet to be nominated, for failing to give sufficient fiscal encouragement and support to those whose legs are for ever going over.
David Mellor will present the awards for the most imaginative and original contribution to the event. Hotly tipped to carry off the first prize of a weekend for two in a South Coast resort is the creation by the hostesses of Islington of a broccoli and spinach flavoured condom. Princess Diana sends an autographed picture gazing soulfully through huge, damp Friesian eyes.
May 3 is Human Awareness Day. Now that High Court judges attend “human awareness” courses to prepare them for the likelihood that in the course of their work they will encounter, in the dock, the witness box, the jury, and among learned counsel, not to mention clerks, ushers and members of the public gallery, living examples of the species homo sapiens, the organisers thought the same principle might be extended to members of the public at large.
Each of us will, in his or her own way, be encouraged to recognise that those things walking around on two legs and getting in the way at bus queues, supermarket checkouts, and bank counters are human beings. All they ask is to be recognised and loved. Today is open day at Kensington Palace.
June 21 is Midsummer’s Day. Time to start sending out those Christmas catalogues.