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By Chris Graham

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Are people really this gullible? - Oh yes… I’ll work for your multi million Dollar/Pound/Euro business, and I’ll even pay you for the privilege. Hold on, would you like me to source the materials, make the product, then hand it to you free of charge for you to sell back to me for an extortionate price? … Yeah… of course I will… No problems… I’m an idiot like that.

Does all this sound completely barmy?… Of course it does, no sane normal person would do something like that, would they?

Well… Yes actually. They would. Or at least it appears as if they’re daft enough to do it, ’cos an awful lot of them already are doing big businesses’ work for them… and paying them… or somebody else… for the privilege of doing it.

“What’s this idiot on about”, I can hear you muttering to yourselves. “Who’s he talking about?” You’re thinking to yourselves. Am I right? 

I’ll explain.

It’s happening everywhere, and has been for ages. You might even have been suckered into doing it yourself by peer pressure, TV advertising, ‘Celebrities’, magazines… all kinds of media… without even thinking about it.


It’s like this.

What’s happened hasn’t got to quite the level of actually making products yourself, then paying for them to somebody else without batting an eyelid, but a lot of us are carrying out one of businesses’ normally very expensive tasks for them, and we’re paying our own hard earned cash to do it.

We’re advertising them… and not ‘free of charge’ - that would be bad enough - but we’re actually paying to advertise products and services that make companies an awful lot of money.

As most who know me are aware, I’ve been involved with motorcycling all my life. Well it saddens me to say it, but many of my fellow bikers are the people I’m talking about.

I’ll tell you a little story. When I was a motorcycle instructor, we had a young learner turn up on a little Suzuki 125 sports bike. It looked like a little race bike with the fairing and all the graphics - but not Suzuki’s graphics, this lad had his bike in the Pepsi Cola race livery… just like his racetrack heroes.

I jokingly said to him, “That’s a good way to cover the expenses. How much do they pay you for the adverts?” He looked at me, as if I was talking in Swahili, until I added, “The paint job.”

It turned out that he’d had the bike sprayed in the race team’s livery, and the paint job had cost him a lot of money… to become a mobile bill board for a wealthy multi-national company.

Now when I was racing, there were a few business and product names on my leathers or on my bike. But they were all companies - mostly small ones - who helped me in some way… either by discounts on parts, free use of a van, technical assistance, or in one case, my own self employed trading name, so I could claim my racing costs as business expenses against tax. It was advertising, Mr. Taxman… Sports sponsorship… Honest.

But many of you do something very similar to that young lad with your fashions. ‘Designer labels’ on display. Adverts on T shirts. Footie fans are some of the most gullible. A colleague who detested lager - ‘piss water’, he called it - would happily wear a shirt with a famous brand of lager emblazoned across the front of it… and he’d paid a small fortune for this piece of tacky merchandising paraphenalia. He failed to get the point when he was handed a pint of the vile brew in the pub, instead of his normal dark Irish stout. If he’d been proclaiming his liking for his favourite beer, then that’s OK. In the same way that bikers will often wear the marque of their bike on their T shirt or jacket - that’s what they ride, and they’re proud of it. The same goes for many enthusiasts, but some of these companies are taking the piss, and the consumer is gullible enough to fall for it.

As I said before. Are we all daft?

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Click to see: Crime stories by Chris.

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