Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Faces

Lordy, it's been a while since we've done a new faces update.
The place is chocker with talented types and we've been remiss not giving them their 15 megabytes of fame.
Here's a selection - many more to follow when I've had the time to hunt them down:

First up is Stuart. He's from up North and is sorting stuff out on Clas Ohlson. A big toast eater, as it's free down South. I wouldn't mess with him if I were you.

Then we've got Emily. The oil in our engine. Keeps the Partners partnering. Wonderful person.

Next is Riannnnnnnnnnna, or something like that. Flies in from Essex daily to man reception. Knows where the biscuits are hidden.

And of course we then have Catherine. Writes risque books, knows her underwear inside and out (!), and is the boss on Capital, Costa, Colman's and La Senza.

Finally we have Charlie. A smooth talker and a fast walker. Holds down Nintendo like Mick Macmanus.

What beautiful, beautiful people.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Sad Day

News hot off the wires that Sony are discontinuing the glorious walkman, the little tape playing thingy that started pretty much everything.

Sad times indeed.

Would Sir Cliff still be the icon he is without 'Wired for Sound'?

Would Kevin Bacon ever have been the legendary shagger he was with 'Footloose'?

Would I be the man I am today if I hadn't bought the moody version down East Ham high street in the 80s and listened continually to 'Insecure Me' by Soft Cell?

Although I suppose most youngsters will have no idea what these lovely little fellas were and the extraordinary impact that they had on everyday life, we should all doff our respective hats in their honour.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Phwoargh who knew broadband could be sooo sexy!

Working on advertising for a broadband company - boring you may say. But this could not be further from the truth. In one of our most recent ads for Plusnet, the good honest broadband company from Yorkshire, the central character Joe's wife is taking a cheeky look at on her laptop. This is an imaginary site full of pictures of men embodying all the best "Yorkshire qualities".

Being an office full of red blooded females, we decided that the best thing to do from a creative integrity perspective was to create the site for real. We even found a genuine Yorkshire man from Pontefract called Mark Schofield to star. So now there is an wealth of hot Yorkshire man waiting for you to ogle and share with your friends. Take a look at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stop press: more hats...

Last week we sent off a huge bundle of little knitted hats for the innocent big knit
Since then, Tricia's Mum finds she can't stop knitting and has created 44 new ones, Caryn whipped up an extra 26, presumably to take her mind off her imminent wedding preparations, and to cap it all off (see what I did there) Rainna's Mum sent these two hats for our collection. We don't know why she was driven to create woolly effigies of Creative Duo Lisa and Gemma, but we hope its positively karmic rather than voodoo inspired. Given that its all for our lovely clients AgeUK we can only assume it is.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We've knitted an awful lot of hats

As AgeUK's advertising agency, we are always on the lookout for ways to make older people's lives a little bit more cheerful, and the Innocent/ AgeUK "Big Knit" struck as just the opportunity we needed to sit down, with a cup of tea and a lot of sweeties to have a knatter and knit pompom-festooned headwear for bottled juices.
Turns out, our finance department are practically professional knitters to woman, with Caryn astonishing and delighting all with her perfect cabling technique, Sonja producing intricate Pineapple Shaped toppers in a special Finnish-Fashion (they knit differently in Scandiwegia) and Juli inventing whole new genres of hat, such as the Hat-That-Wears-A-Hat, the Acorn-Hat and the Tiny-Little-Cottage-Hat. Then Tricia arrived with a bundle of hats she commissioned from her Ma, and Tom's girlfriend sent us her collection which included a Spurs hat (unless that was Tom's actual hat he threw in, he is quite small) and a charming rose decorated beret. Nicola put her kids to work with all the zeal of a Victorian Factory Boss, making teeny tiny pompoms for all our creations.
But the rest of us gamely joined in, with lots of people converting to the craft along the way. And in the end we made 58 little tiny hats, which is, by my reckoning, an awful lot of hats.

Monday, October 4, 2010

We Don't Care About Creative Awards, But We Do Care About 'Best Stall' Awards

More craaaazy goings on down at the big political conferences the other week.
No, it's not just that that chap Jeremy Paxman was loving a nice cuppa at the Mum's Cafe we set up on behalf of The White Ribbon Alliance at the Labour Conference.
It's the fact that the Cafe was voted best stall!
Now we don't know if ours was the only stall, or we were next to the Milliband Banana Stall, or quite what was going on, but we are well chuffed.
Watch out for us at the Tory Conference where we're going to try and sort out that thorny Middle East conflict thingy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bling Pong 2010

100 Players
3 tables
50 T-shirts
100 balls
600 beers
75 tequilas
250 quid
1 winner

Congrats to Sherwin who destroyed all who stood in his way.

Thanks to Dave for running the show.

Brain Food From Karmarama Kat

Now I know it may seem like this blog is only for frivolous nonsense and the odd party photo. But there is the occasional serious post.

Like this one. Below you'll find a 1000 essay that our very own planning genius Kat Ellis wrote for a WACL competition to win training in whatever field she fancied.

It's very good and very well thought through.

Oh, and it won. Get in.

Should companies lead or be led by their consumers? How does this translate to CSR?

Any essay on the topic of power relations between a company and its consumers cannot ignore the impact of recent market forces and new two-way media channels (Smith and Duffy 2004). Consumers now have the opportunity to gain a significant, collective voice through social media. This essay will discuss the shift in the company-consumer relationship to assess the extent to which their consumers should lead businesses. It will then address how this translates to Corporate Social Responsibility, arguing that a change in the definition of CSR is needed.

In the past companies decided what was best for their consumers – both in terms of their commercial offering and CSR. Shareholders, government and policymakers held more sway than a company’s consumers (Weinkrantz 2004). Their views and financial decisions were more directly and instantaneously felt by the business, and therefore more likely to be responded to. CSR, if engaged in at all, was limited to Corporate Philanthropy (Sethi 1977, Simcic Brnn and Belliu Vrioni 2001, Feldwick 2006). Initiatives were typically large and benefited society as a whole (Enderle and Tavis 1998, Cotton 2006). They were supported either because they were pet interests of the business owners/shareholders or as a response to studies indicating that consumers were more likely to choose ethical companies that were good citizens (Cone Roper 2001, Wilmott 2001).

With the advent of social media, individual consumers have a forum to make their voices heard (Trickett 2007, Clift 2010, Ives, Wickerham and Shi 2010). The inherent social nature of the new digital landscape makes it ideal for individuals or small pressure groups to gain traction for their views. A recent example of a small-scale campaign that snow balled with the help of social media is the pressure put on the Gaymer Cider Company to discontinue its new Blackthorn product. To appeal to a wider market the company reduced the cider’s alcohol content and made it sweeter. The softer taste caused outrage amongst a hardcore West Country audience. A Facebook group, started by less than 70 loyalists, inspired defacing of advertising, boycotts, press coverage and eventually a meeting with the brewery. The old Blackthorn variant has subsequently been reinstated in the Bristol area.

So, consumers today are far from being isolated individuals whose opinions, historically, would never have been picked up in consumer research run by brands. Now, they have channels that are megaphones for their opinions, and forums for hooking up with similarly minded individuals to form a voice that cannot be ignored by brands.

Brands are not as naïve as this essay question assumes. They have known for a long time that in a world of parity products and services, being seen to listen and respond to consumers can offer competitive advantage (Kay 1993, Simcic Brnn and Belliu Vrioni 2001, Murphy 2002, Smith and Duffy 2004, Cotton 2006, Ives, Wickerham and Shi 2010). Shareholders too are increasingly interested in socially responsible companies, as they generate more sustainable returns (Cordasco 2002). It seems as the degree of influence exerted by shareholders and consumers becomes evenly balanced, so their interests are less at odds.

A business will always be led by its commercial imperative – the need to generate returns for its shareholders (Murphy 2002, Mahmoud 2008). Listening to newly empowered consumers should not be seen as at odds with this objective. The ability to clearly hear consumers through social media is an opportunity, superseding the limited consumer research conducted in the past (Nicholas 2005). Gaymer Cider Company saw the failings of structured research, when focus groups and product testing did not pick up the bad feeling loyalists would feel at the eradication of the old product.

So, in terms of CSR this essay argues it can no longer be an add-on, as the old Corporate Philanthropy model was. Being in touch with publics and responding is no longer separate from the way it does business and its commercial objectives (Feldwick 2006, Mahmoud 2008). There is no longer a need for a top down model where shareholders and company owners blindly decide what is best for society. Initiatives can be directly guided by what your consumers want because now they can be heard. CSR initiatives and policies can be more relevant to the people a business is selling to, and for this reason more commercially valuable (Gadsby 2004, Hansted Blomqvist and Posner 2004, Nicholas 2005, Davis and Moy 2007, Lowe 2008, Oxley and Pace 2009). One only has to look at Marks and Spencer’s recent use of comprehensive social media monitoring to uncover Busts4Justice, a group of ample breasted women disgruntled by the fact they were paying more for bras above a D cup, than their smaller breasted contempories. The company proactively responded by dropping their £2 premium on D+ cups, and ran advertising promoting the initiative; capitalising on a valuable audience and creating a competitive differential that actually mattered.

This essay argues that a redefinition of CSR is needed, primarily to address how the shift in company-consumer relationship has changed what is covered by Social Responsibility. In the past Social was very much with a capital S. Businesses were responsible to Society at large, with almost a Reithian attitude towards improving the world. Today Social should have a lower case s. Businesses no longer have to make assumptions about what is best for society at large; they can focus on what is important to audiences that matter commercially (Visser 2010). social Responsibility should mean listening and responding to a range of relevant societies with a range of relevant initiatives. This ability to focus is invaluable in a recessionary climate where the wide scale Corporate Philanthropy of the past would be impossible (Hilton 2008)

Ultimately the question of whether a business should be led by its consumers is a commercial one. A company must do what is best for its own financial health and responding to every consumer whim, as some new media analysts would suggest, would be impossible and unnecessary. But today listening to consumers is easier, and responding to a significant voice makes financial sense. Shareholders also increasingly accept that their need for sustained returns and responding to the needs of consumers are complementary. The fact that consumers now have a stronger collective voice should be seen as a commercial opportunity. Businesses should allow themselves to be led by consumers as far as it offers them a competitive advantage, good will, and the associated fiscal rewards. Surely this has always been best practice, it is just easier to do and more transparent today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nick Clegg Gets Mumsy

We don't have political allegiances here at Tramarama, but if we did we'd probably choose the Party that was run by people who valued decency, enterprise and nifty shoes.
Every now and then, when we get a bit bored with producing astonishingly effective communication campaigns for our clients and cooking up a meatfest, we turn our hand to good causes.
Which is exactly what The White Ribbon Alliance is. I won't go into details here, but search it out as what they are doing is worth a bit of your attention span.
We do lots of stuff with them - Tattoo parlours for the famous at Glastonbury, spanky t-shirts designed by Naomi Campbell, amazing Rankin shots of pregnant women, and Mum Cafes and newspapers at all the big party conferences.
Which is where this shady looking character was snapped having a gander at the latest copy The Mum.
Nice tie mate. But do you have nifty shoes on?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ping Pong Frenzy

It happened last night. I'll try and find some photos. Lots of blokes in check shirts and silly hats turned up. It was all a bit East London. Beer was drunk, bagels chomped, chats chatted, promises made and broken and the odd client politely flirted with. Good fun all round. Sherwin won, which is unsurprising as he's a bit of a pong god and moves at the speed of lust.

New Term at Karma High

Sorry for the lack of blog posts as we are furious busy producing lots of top stuff that’s all about to go live. We’ll find some silly nonsense to post about soon, promise.

In the meantime, just a quick line about the new school term here at the Karmarama Institute where we had the latest speaker for Academy K, David Meller.

Not to be confused with the bespectacled Tory shagger from the 90s, this David is a brilliant entrepreneur who specialises in creating ranges for private label, branded fashion and home accessories.

David wowed us with stories of wheeling and dealing in the boardroom, a bit of celebrity goss, the low-down on some of those TV Dragons, and the inside track on exactly how you make a million pounds in an afternoon.

He dished out some cracking advice, the best of which was probably ‘be passionate about the business, not the product’. This is deep stuff and, judging from the fallout from last night’s Karmarama Ping Pong Open 2010, there was a fair amount of passion knocking about, so good work there David.

Next month Al Gore. Maybe

Monday, August 23, 2010

Film Night!

We're all a bit busy here at the mo', but still find time to do nice things.
If you're in the area this Thursday 26th August, drop on by for some old-style film fun.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Karmarama bears fruit

Quide liderally...
In our wildly tropical garden we have just had our first harvest of loquats.

Here they are on the tree

and here they are on the plate

How eco-friendly, self-sufficient, billy bonkers is that!

And if you want MORE - here's the low down on this fruity little number


Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.


Common Names: Loquat, Japanese medlar, Nispero.
Distant Affinity: Apples (Malus spp.), Medlar (Mispilus germanica), Stone Fruit (Prunus spp.), Pears (Pyrus spp.) and others.

Origin: The loquat is indigenous to southeastern China. It was introduced into Japan and became naturalized there in very early times. It has been cultivated in Japan for over 1,000 years. It has also become naturalized in India and many other areas. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii. It was common as a small-fruited ornamental in California in the 1870's, and the improved variety, Giant, was being sold there by 1887. Japan is the leading producer of loquats, followed by Israel and Brazil.

Adaption: The loquat is adapted to a subtropical to mild-temperature climate. Where the climate is too cool or excessively warm and moist, the tree is grown as an ornamental but will not bear fruit. Well established trees can tolerate a low temperature of 12° F. The killing temperature for the flower bud is about 19° F, and for the mature flower about 26° F. At 25° F the seed is killed, causing the fruit to fall. Extreme summer heat is also detrimental to the crop, and dry, hot winds cause leaf scorch. High heat and sunlight during the winter often results in sunburned fruit. The white-fleshed varieties are better adapted to cool coastal areas. In a large tub the loquat makes a good container specimen.


Growth Habits: The loquat is a large evergreen shrub or small tree with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow 20 to 30 ft. high, but is usually much smaller than this--about 10 ft. Loquats are easy to grow and are often used as an ornamental. Their boldly textured foliage add a tropical look to the garden and contrast well with many other plants. Because of the shallow root system of the loquat, care should be taken in mechanical cultivation not to damage the roots.
Foliage: Loquat leaves are generally eliptical-lanceolate, 5 to 12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. They are dark green and glossy on the upper surface, whitish or rusty-hairy beneath, thick and stiff, with conspicuous parallel, oblique veins. The new growth is sometimes tinged with red. The leaves are narrow in some cultivars and broad in others.

Flowers: Small, white, sweetly fragrant flowers are borne in fall or early winter in panicles at the ends of the branches. Before they open, the flower clusters have an unusual rusty-wooly texture.

Fruit: Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 1 to 2 inches long with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. Each fruit contains three to five large brown seeds. The loquat is normally pollinated by bees. Some cultivars are self-infertile and others are only partially self-fertile. Flowers of the early and late flushes tend to have abnormal stamens and very little viable pollen. Thinning of flowers and young fruits in the cluster, or clipping off all or part of flower and fruit clusters is sometimes done to enhance fruit size. Under most conditions the loquat tends to develop an alternate-bearing pattern, which can be modified somewhat by cluster thinning in heavy production years. For the highest quality fruit the clusters are sometimes bagged to protect from sunburn and eliminate bird damage.


Location: Loquats are wind tolerant and grow best in full sun, but also do well in partial shade. The round headed trees can be used to shade a patio. Loquats also make attractive espaliers.
Soil: Loquats grow well on a variety of soils of moderate fertility, from light sandy loam to heavy clay and even limestone soils, but need good drainage.

Irrigation: Loquat trees are drought tolerant, but they will produce higher quality fruit with regular, deep watering. The trees should be watered at the swelling of blossoms and 2 to 3 waterings should be given during harvest time. The trees will not tolerate standing water.

Fertilizing: Loquats benefit from regular, light applications of nitrogen fertilizers, but too much nitrogen will reduce flowering. A good formula for applications of chemical fertilizer is 1 lb. of 6-6-6 NPK three times a year during the period of active growth for each tree 8 to 10 feet in height. To control excessive growth, other authorities recommend fertilizing only once a year in midwinter.

Pruning: Judicious pruning should be done just after harvest, otherwise terminal shoots become too numerous and cause a decline in vigor. The objective of pruning is a low head to facilitate fruit thinning and harvest. Prune also to remove crossing branches and thin dense growth to let light into the center of the tree. Loquats respond well to more severe pruning.

Propagation: Generally seeds are used for propagation only when the tree is grown for ornamental purposes or for use as rootstock. For rootstock the seed are washed and planted in flats or pots soon after removal from the fruit and the seedlings are transplanted when 6 to 7 inches high. When the stem is 1/2 inch thick at the base, the seedlings are ready to be top-worked. Loquats can be propagated by various grafting methods, including shield-budding or side-veneer grafting and cleft-grafting. The use of loquat seedling rootstock usually results in a comparatively large tree with a high canopy. Cultivars grown on quince rootstock produce a dwarfed tree of early bearing character. The smaller tree has no effect on fruit size and gives adequate fruit production with the advantage of easier picking. Loquat cuttings are not easy to root. Grafted trees will begin to bear fruit in 2 to 3 years, compared to 8 to 10 years in seedling trees.

Pests and Diseases: In California there are few pests that bother loquats. Occasionally infestations of black scale may appear. Fruit flies are a serious pests in areas where they are problem. Birds will also peck at the ripe fruit and damage it, and deer will browse on the foliage.

Fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora is a major enemy of the loquat in California, particularly in areas with late spring and summer rains or high humidity. The disease is spread by bees during flowering. Fire blight can be controlled somewhat by the use of preventive fungicides or bactericides and by removal of the the scorched-looking branches, cutting well into live wood. The prunings should be burned or or sealed in a plastic bag before disposal. Crown rot caused by Phytophthora and cankers caused by Pseudomonas Eriobotrya are also occasional problems.

Harvest: Loquat fruits should be allowed to ripen fully before harvesting. They reach maturity in about 90 days from full flower opening. When ripe the fruit develops a distinctive color, depending on the cultivar, and begins to soften. Unripe fruits do not ripen properly off the tree and are excessively acid. Harvest time in California is from March to June. The fruit is difficult to separate from the cluster stems without tearing and must be carefully clipped individually or the whole cluster removed and the fruit then snipped off. Ripe fruit may be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

The loquat is comparable to the apple in many aspects, with a high sugar, acid and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly and chutney, and are delicious poached in light syrup. Loquats can also be used to make wine.

Commercial Potential: In California, only in the coastal areas from Santa Barbara to San Diego counties is the fruit produced regularly in quantity and of sufficiently good quality to make commercial production feasible. Harvesting is somewhat labor intensive and the difficulty of handling the fragile fruit in addition to the relatively short self life and storage ability, limit the loquat as a major commercial fruit. Even so, the availability of loquats when few or no other local fruits are in the market is a factor in their favor. The fruit is also popular in ethnic markets and is offered in limited amounts in specialty fruit stores and through Farmer's Markets in many communities.


Orange-fleshed Varieties

Big Jim
Originated in San Diego, Calif. by Jim Neitzel. Large, roundish to oblong fruit, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Skin pale orange-yellow, medium-thick, easy to peel. Flesh orange-yellow, very sweet but with some acidity, of excellent flavor. Ripens midseason, March to April. Tree vigorous, upright, highly productive.
Early Red
Originated by C. P. Taft in 1909. Medium-large, pear-shaped fruit, borne in compact clusters. Skin orange-red with white dots, tough, acid. Flesh orange very juicy, sweet, of fair to excellent flavor. Seeds usually 2 or 3. Ripens very early, late January or early February in California.
Gold Nugget (Thales, Placentia)
Large, round to oblong-obovate fruit. Skin yellow-orange to orange, not thick, tender. Flesh orange-colored, juicy, firm and meaty. Flavor sweet, somewhat reminiscent of apricot, quality good. Seeds 4 or 5, the seed cavity not large. Ripens late. Fruits borne only a few to a cluster, keep and ship well. Tree vigorous, upright, self-fertile.
Selected from numerous seedlings planted at Mogi, Japan. Small, elliptical fruit, weight 40-50 grams. Skin light yellow. Flesh relatively sweet. Ripens in early spring. Tree cold-sensitive, self-fertile. Constitutes 60% of the Japanese crop of loquats.
Mrs. Cooksey
New Zealand cultivar. Large fruit, up to 1-1/2 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Yellow flesh of very good flavor.
Medium-sized fruit with yellow flesh. Named for the strawberry-like flavor detected by some tasters.
Named after Dr. Yoshio Tanaka. Very large fruit, usually obovoid, weight 2 to 3 ounces. Skin orange-yellow, attractive. Flesh firm, rich orange, aromatic, slightly acidic to sweet, of excellent flavor. Seeds 2 to 4. Ripens very late, the beginning of May in California. Keeps unusually long, if left for a week it wrinkles and dries but does not rot. Tree vigorous and productive.
Originated in Homestead, Florida by Carl W. Campbell. Fruit obovoid to slightly pyriform. Skin yellow, relatively thick. Flesh juicy, firm, flavor excellent. Seeds usually 1 to 3. Ripens in winter and early spring, several days later than Advance. Suitable for all purposes, but excellent for cooking. Tree to 25 feet tall. Blooms during fall and early winter.
White-fleshed Varieties

Medium to large, pear-shaped to eliptic-round fruit, deep yellow in color, borne in large, compact clusters. Skin downy, thick and tough. Flesh whitish, translucent, melting and very juicy. Flavor subacid, very pleasant, quality good. Ripens in midseason. Seeds commonly 4 or 5, the seed cavity not large. Tree is a natural dwarf, height 5 feet. Highly resistant to fire blight. Self-infertile, pollinate with Gold Nugget.
Originated as a seedling on the property of Charles E. Benlehr of Encinitas, Calif. Medium-sized oval to oblong fruit, 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches long. Skin thin, peels very well. Flesh white and juicy, flavor sweet, quality excellent. Seeds 3 or 4.
Fruit medium to large, oval to pyriform. Fruit cluster large, loose. Skin deep yellow in color with a grayish bloom, thick, tough, somewhat astringent. Flesh whitish, translucent, melting and very juicy. Flavor mildly subacid, sprightly and pleasant, quality very good. Ripens late. Seeds 3 or 4, seed cavity not large. Perishable, good for preserving. Tree self-infertile, prolific.
Herd's Mammoth
Fruit large, long and slightly tapering at the stem end. Flesh yellow orange with white to cream-colored flesh, good quality. Ripens earlier than Victory. Subject to black spot.
Victory (Chatsworth Victory)
Large, oval fruit. Skin yellow to orange, becoming amber on the side exposed to the sun. Flesh white to cream-colored, juicy and sweet. Ripens in midseason to occasionally early. The most popular cultivar in Western Australia.
Vista White
Small to medium-sized, roundish fruit with blunt calyx end. Skin light yellow. Flesh pure white, very high in sugar content. Ripens 1 to 3 weeks later than Gold Nugget. Excellent for dessert.

Butterfield, Harry M. A History of Subtropical Fruits and Nuts in California. University of California, Agricultural Experiment Station. 1963.
Facciola, Stephen. Cornucopia: a Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications, 1990. p. 380.
Johns, Leslie and Violet Stevenson, Fruit for the Home and Garden. Angus and Robertson, 1985. pp. 159-161.
Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 103-108.
Ortho Books. All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Chevron Chemical Co. 1985. pp. 57-58.

10 Year Anniversary Party - Part Nine

10 Year Anniversary Party - Part Eight

10 Year Anniversary Party - Part Seven