Bad day at the office


Bad day at the office 15

Never mind the buttocks low res

New card design triggers Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Vicious internecine warfare has broken out again in the offices of UK Cash Cowboys where I work, about the new designs on the front of our credit cards. If you haven’t seen them yet, I guess you’ve not been on social media today. The artwork, which sends up the iconic album cover of Never Mind The Buttocks by 1970’s punk legends The Jizz Rifles, was created by our London agency PRICKS (Pratt Rypov Igo Charlatan Konman & Shytter), who were responsible for our recent TV ads of a ukulele-playing pigeon and a tortoise on a roller-skate. For anyone unfamiliar with the famous Never Mind The Buttocks cover, it features a picture of a guy with a rather prominent erection in a pair of tight swim trunks. Our CMO Dick Holder described the radical credit card design as “one in the eye for the other banks”.

Dick announced the strapline – Bring a bit of hypocrisy to your wallet!  that would support the ad campaign to me and the rest of the in-house marketing team yesterday, before it all went live today.

Stig Chuchwarden, the designer who sits opposite me in the creative studio, summed it up nicely when he threw me a baffled look over Dick’s shoulder, silently mouthing the words, “what the fuck?”

Apparently a veritable shitstorm has broken in the press today after several newspapers took offence at the use of the word ‘buttocks’ on a credit card. Marketing Week called it “utter cock”. While even PRICKS own Managing Director Uge Pratt went slightly defensive, describing his agency’s campaign as “a breathtakingly audacious piece of advertising bullshit”.  It caused our CEO Cleopatra LeGrande to rush out a hasty press release this morning defending the crass artwork that will be shoved into the faces of unsuspecting shop assistants across the world from today.

The card cock up comes at a sticky time for UK Cash Cowboys and our Rottweiler of a CEO, who have come in for a barrage of criticism this week. First when it was revealed that our crap pension actually blocks customers from being able to get at the money they’ve saved up, when they come to retire, a story which The Telegraph first ran last Friday. And secondly when a rumour began going round the office that LeGrande was being investigated for insider dealing. Woo fucking hoo. Fist pumps all round the studio were the order of the day when that little baby first popped up.

In an article last week in the Daily Rail’s, ‘Mafia Bank Bosses’ supplement, it was revealed that:

“LeGrande had worked for the disgraced Fred Goering, who she helped steer the Royal Bank of Snodland to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis. For five years she ran its calamitous £65bn mortgage business, lending money to destitute nutters like it was going out of fashion. Finally, when she got wind that the bank was about to go tits up, she phoned Sir Rich Pickle, who had always told her she would be welcomed back at the Cowboys. The timing of her departure in 2007 was immaculate, coming little less than a year before the bank went over a cliff.”

There was a little graphic in the article showing how Cleopatra had sold her RBS shares for £21.98 each in 2007. They subsequently fell to 50p in the bailout, and are still only worth £3.50 today. The headline in the graphic called it ‘Good timing’.  However, there’s a rumour going round that someone has drawn LeGrande’s ‘immaculate timing’ to the attention of the Financial Conduct Authority, pointing out that it appears to tick every box in the definition of ‘insider information’.

“A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage when used to buy or sell shares of the company’s stock. Insider information is typically gained by someone who is working within or close to a listed company. If a person uses insider information to place trades, he or she can be found guilty of insider trading. Insider trading is illegal when the material information has not been made public and has been traded on. This is because the information gives those having this knowledge an unfair advantage.”

Watch this space, as they say. But if anyone’s expecting to see our haughty CEO in chains any time soon, don’t get your hopes up. Cleopatra LeGrande’s CV lists a diploma she received from the Sepp Blatter school of bribery and corruption among her professional qualifcations. Not for nothing is she known in the banking world as the Teflon Tracy. Brushing off all the criticism her press release began in typically bullish mood this morning:

“No, the credit card designs aren’t a pathetic marketing gimmick, you fuckwits. They’re just the latest step in our quest to cheapen and debase UK banking. For a long time now UK banks have been professional and business-like, with the same attitude towards their financial products and customers. At UK Cash Cowboys we’re aiming to change that, by completely mugging everyone off. In launching these cards we wanted to celebrate the Cowboys heritage and difference, by commemorating the iconic punk band 38 years after they first signed to Cowboys Records. The Jizz Rifles challenged the establishment. They swore and spat in people’s faces. Just as we are doing today in our quest to drag UK banking into the gutter. Did people really think we’d let them have their pension savings back when they reached retirement? How the fuck do they expect me to cream off a fat profit to pay my bonus if they take all their money out, FFS! If you’re all too thick to see that it’s not my problem love. Now get out of my way, I have a lunch appointment with the Chancellor at twelve.”

For those who don’t know, The Jizz Rifles were first signed up to Cowboys Records in May 1977 after being dropped by both EMI and A&M Records. Their loud trashy music, foul-mouthed lyrics, obscene gestures and torn clothes held together with safety pins were at the forefront of the iconic punk rebellion in the late 70s.

When the band’s lead singer Jimmy Gangrene sang the words “I am a paedo-phile, I am a paedo-phile!” all those years ago, I bet he never imagined The Jizz Rifles’ name would one day be used to endorse our credit card at the Cowboys. Then again, I bet he never thought he’d appear in the reality TV series I’m A Failed Celebrity Who Nobody Remembers Anymore Get Me Out Of Here, or on a TV ad for Downton Margarine. Strange times we live in.

The Jizz Rifles are an important part of Cowboys’ history,” said our Global Group Chairman, Sir Rich Pickle, fighting a stiff rear-guard action from his Caribbean retreat Slapper Island this morning. “Okay, UK Cash Cowboys might be a total joke as a bank, run by a psychotic CEO who’ll kill anyone who stands in the way of her obscene end of year bonus, but the Cowboys’ brand has a long and distinguished track record of pretending to be on the consumer’s side while completely mugging everyone off, so I love the fact that the team have chosen to fuck the public over again in this way. Even after nearly 40 years the Rifles’ power to jizz all over your face is undimmed.”

Apparently Cleopatra, who received a CBE for services to bullying in this year’s New Year’s Honours list, was locked in a two-hour conf call with Sir Rich this morning, cooking up some bullshit story to try and deflect the storm of criticism that the lame marketing gimmick has attracted. Afterwards it was agreed Sir Rich would post a statement on the Cowboys’ blog, under the headline: ‘Never mind the buttocks, we’re still being censored!’  Here’s what he posted, word for word.

“When Cleopatra LeGrande, the CEO of our Cowboys banking franchise in the UK, suggested celebrating Cowboys’ unique music heritage by launching Jizz Rifles credit cards, I thought it was a blinding idea. I was looking forward to seeing the classic Never Mind The Buttocks slogan loud and proud across our advertising again. It’s fun, iconic and the guy in the Speedos with the huge erection will certainly catch the eye. However, as we began to book in advertising slots we discovered some newspapers still took offence at the word buttocks and asked for censored versions of our ads. The Jizz Rifles clearly still have the power to provoke nearly 40 years on. As Jimmy Gangrene would say, ‘It’s deja vu all over again!’

“Did you know that apparently buttocks is the eighth most offensive word in the English language? I really don’t see what everyone’s problem is. Only last year I emailed Cowboys Atlantic’s CEO Ben Dover using the word buttocks and his IT system blocked my message for being ‘profane, vulgar or offensive’. WTF? Fucking sort it Ben, you muppet, I told him. Or you’re out. When Ben protested I smugly reminded him about the time we won a court case proving the word ‘buttocks’ was not rude or profane. If you remember, the Bitchfield police in Norfolk once took us to court for advertising Never Mind The Buttocks in our Cowboys Records store windows back in the 70s. They argued ‘buttocks’ was a derivative of ‘arse’, FFS. How ridiculous can you get. I contacted the linguistics professor at the world-famous Bitchfield University, who soon put them straight. ‘What a load of shite,’ he said. ‘Buttocks has clearly nothing to do with arse. What are they thinking of? Fucking amateurs.’ On the contrary, as he went on to prove through scholarly argument, ‘buttocks’ was a popular nickname given to 17th Century nuns. As it turned out, the professor actually turned out to be a transgender nun himself, and appeared as our expert witness in court – complete with his dog collar and bra. The case was thrown out. ‘Thanks for clearing that up,’ said Ben.

“That was back in 1977. Who would have thought the word ‘buttocks’ would still be censored in 2015? Then again, who would have thought the guy who brought you The Jizz Rifles would own a bank? Radical huh? I’m such trendy guy even though I’m a hundred and thirty four years old. That’s what money can do, pal. Hey, thankfully, my bank is a bank unlike any other. That’s what this campaign is saying. We’re a bank committed to mugging everyone off, taking the piss out of the public by pretending to be young and trendy, a consumer champion on your side, while selling you rank financial tat that frankly I wouldn’t recommend to my nineteen year old Swedish au pair’s dog, Randy. We laugh in your faces, losers. As we like to say: There’s Cowboys, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys, so buttocks to that! Fuck you!”

I’ll perhaps give the final word to the Daily Rail’s financial columnist Oprah Purse. Referring to our new gaudily-designed credit card’s hefty 2,348,099% interest rate, Oprah asked the question, “Never mind the artwork, what about the APR?”

It’s a good question. And to be fair, one I had flagged to my boss Norman Shylock in a meeting a few weeks ago, but he slapped me down, saying nobody would notice if we put a nice picture of the front.

STOP PRESS:

We’re apparently also under investigation by the FCA on suspicion of producing financial advertisements while under the influence of illegal substances. The news just broke on Reuters after images of our Jizz Rifles credit cards started going viral on Twatter.

Yawn, I’m off to lunch.

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Bad day at the office 14

UK Cash Cowboys Bank Front low res

UK challenger bank launches sleazy high street sex shops to help boost sales

 

UK Cash Cowboys launch high street sex shops to help flog its balance transfer credit cards

Ainsley Fibber / Bitchfield Evening Standard / 30 April 2015

The well-respected credit card giant Barkercard is locked in a death struggle this morning with the cheap and nasty newcomer to the market, UK Cash Cowboys, who today launched a challenger to Barkercard’s market-leading 36 month balance transfer credit card.

While both company’s cards offer 0% for 36 months, the Cowboys 1999% per cent APR is considerably higher than Barkercard’s 18.9%, whose 2.99% balance transfer fee is also dwarfed by the Cowboys’ 119.99%. So basically, for every £100 of debt you transfer to the Cowboys’ card, they charge you £120. And if you slip a day over the 3 years without clearing the balance, expect to be paying thousands in interest from day one. It’s all there in the small-print if you look, under the section titled ‘Don’t look here, it’s all boring, just buy the card and everything will be fine’.

But before you reject the Cowboys Credit Card out of hand it comes with additional customer benefits that really make it stand out from competitors like Barkercard. In fact, in its latest blatant attempt to bribe customers into buying some of its financial tat, the upstart challenger bank has renamed its high street branches as ‘Garden Sheds’ and launched half a dozen chill-style ‘Steam Rooms’ on the streets of our towns and cities, for customers to hang out, buy stuff, and have sex.

The refurbished high street properties, which were recently purchased from the national dry-cleaning chain Starchleys after they went bankrupt, were given a quick hoover and a lick of paint in an overnight re-branding exercise, before having a new logo slapped on and opening their doors as UK Cash Cowboys.

The bank have opened 75 of these Garden Sheds, or ‘Sheds’ as they’re being radically called by the challenger bank, in towns and cities up and down the country, where customers can pay in and withdraw money, just like in a normal bank branch.

But the Steam Rooms are where the real action is. These are an entirely new concept which are for now only being trialled in a handful of major cities like London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Norwich to measure customer interest. Customers won’t actually be able to do any banking transactions in the Steam Rooms. They’ll be more like drop-in centres where customers can put up their feet after a hard day’s shopping, relax on a sofa and check out UK Cash Cowboys’ new balance transfer card and range of other exorbitantly-priced financial products on a company iPad, while being distracted by a live sex show streaming onto overhead TV screens.

“They were originally going to be named something safe like Lounges or Stores where we’d bribe the punters with free coffee and sticky buns and tacky shit like that, you know, colouring books for the kids, but that just felt really lame,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dick Holder. “We decided if we were going to really stand out from the other banks we’d need next level thinking. So we briefed in our agency, Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter, you know, the geniuses behind our new Pigeon Ukulele Blues and Tortoise on a roller skate TV ads. They’ve come up with the whole brilliant Steam Room idea, which is like so totally out there. I mean, they grey-skied the whole concept of what we all crave as human beings. Once you’ve got the boring shit like tea and coffee out the way, basically sex is where it’s at. And Steam Room so captures the whole free sex thing, don’t you think? Completely radical. Have you had a look inside one yet? You can get condoms, Viagra, sex toys, amyl nitrate, morning after pills, abortions. We’ve really pushed the envelope on this one. You can’t get this kind of bare-faced bribery at any other bank.”

When I quizzed the CMO about the thinking behind calling their main high street branches ‘Garden Sheds’, and whether that might confuse customers, Holder was unrepentant. Slapping me across the face, he said, “Watch it, sonny. Any more lip from you and you’ll be feeding fish at the bottom of the Wensum. You are dicking around with the wrong people. We are bankers. You don’t question ANYTHING we do, kapeesh? Not if you want to keep your fingernails on. Listen, the Sheds are like, where you typically keep all your tools and knick-knacks when you want to do shit, yeah? Keep up. So we had the idea that our branches, sorry, our Sheds were like where you could do all your banking shizzle, you with me? You come in, buy some insurance, pay into our pension, gamble a few grand on dodgy shares, so we get to fuck you over and take all your money. All under one roof. Like a shed. Geddit?”

In a first for a UK high street bank, the Steam Rooms will be staffed by teams of highly photogenic ‘Trolley Dollies’ and oiled-up ‘Gladiators’. The dress code will be chic see-through lingerie, dicky-bows and thongs. The staff will offer a range of casual sexual services for free, to the drop in customers. “It’s a hooooge win-win,” said Xerxes, one of the Gladiators from the Norwich Steam Room, “I get to boff loads of massively frustrated housewives with serious nymphomaniac issues, who just pop in for a five minute top-up on their way to Tesco. For them they get to be famous by appearing in the videos, as well as getting a right proper seeing-to. I’ve not had any complaints, put it like that. I think this kind of commitment to customer service is a real first for UK banking, which definitely sets UK Cash Cowboys apart from the other boring banks. To be honest me and Emma thought it would have been brill to call it like, you know, a Speakeasy, Den or Massive, some bad shit like that. But I guess with all the boy girl action going on in the Customer Satisfaction Cubicles upstairs management wanted to keep it real. See that chandelier swinging? That’s proper gland to gland combat, that is. You could write your name on the mirrors in the bogs up there.”

Xerxes’ sentiment was echoed by CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded a CBE for services to bullying in the recent New Years’ Honours list. “We think it’ll be a real game changer. I mean, name me another bank where a poor person can just drop in and get a quick BJ from a smoking hot bimbo, or you can drop off your wife for a cheeky bit of double DP by two totally ripped hunks hung like trident missiles? We’re hoping this blatant appeal to the basest desires of our punters will encourage them to buy loads of our over-priced crap and increase my already considerable personal fortune massively, so like my bonuses are off the map. Why are you looking at me like that? Have you ever broken a bone? Do you how painful it is? In fact, do you know what it’s like to have your fingers pulled back til they snap, sweetheart? Well take that stupid look off your face then. I’m running a bank, lovey, not a nursery.”

The bank’s Culture Director, Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett, was excited about the Cowboys new move into bricks and mortar. “When Starchleys went bankrupt, we thought, get in. I mean you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, do you. We’d been hanging around for years hoping to pick up a bank on the cheap, to give us some kind of ersatz credibility on the high street. So naturally when Starchleys went tits up we were in there like a rat up a drainpipe. Bosh. Take that you muppet. Got them for an absolute steal. For now we’ve just opened Steam Rooms in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich. We’re still in ‘proof of concept’ stage, yeah. Once we’ve demonstrated we can really hook the mugs in with promises of free casual sex on tap, then get them to buy shed loads… ha ha… of our high-charging, middle-of-the-road financial tat, we can turn them into long-term cash cows. We’ll be fucking minting it bro,” he said.

I was about ask Lovett what the high street challenger bank would do if the Steam Rooms proved an unprofitable venture, when LeGrande brushed him to one side and got right in my face. “Don’t talk to me about profits,” she hissed, “we’ve just blagged a 3.6% share of the mortgage market, you dickhead. Our retail deposits have increased to £22.2bn, and our credit card balances totalled more than a BILLION quid! Fuck you, loser. My end of year bonus is going to be COCKING HUGE this year! Ten mill at least. What are you on, thirty K a year, you sad journo muppet. As for the Steam Rooms, don’t you worry about them sweetheart. If they don’t wash their face we’ll sink them quicker than the fucking Titanic. Screw the customers. They can go down the sodding brothel and pay for it like everyone else. Now jog on back to your newspaper, you nosey cunt. And you can quote me on that.”

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Bad day at the office 13

On a training run for Sunday’s 5K, Cleopatra LeGrande, boss of UK Cash Cowboys, tells Ainsley Fibber about winning in a man’s world

On a training run for Sunday’s Bitchfield 5K, Cleopatra LeGrande, boss of UK Cash Cowboys, tells Ainsley Fibber about winning in a man’s world

Life’s a marathon: The Bitchfield 5k 2015: UK Cash Cowboys’ Cleopatra LeGrande on how she persuaded BNP thug Barry ‘the persuader’ Coalman to race with her

The Bitchfield Evening Standard’s Ainsley Fibber caught up (literally, the lanky six footer was running in her training gear) with UK Cash Cowboys’ fascist CEO Cleopatra LeGrande during a last-minute training run at 6.20am this  morning, on the cobblestones of the city of Edinburgh, where she lives in one of her £10 million mansions. LeGrande is in training for the 2015 Bitchfield 5k which takes place tomorrow. It’s the biggie, with 35,000 athletes, celebrities and fun runners from all over the world descending on the tiny Lincolnshire village, along with the world’s media.  Headlining this year’s event are former Marathon star and Olympic athlete Paula Dumpit and F1 racing driver Lotus Zip.

I asked LeGrande why UK Cash Cowboys, who have a 5 year sponsorship deal with the Bitchfield 5k, were supporting the event. “Why do you think, sweetheart? Because we want to sell loads of shit to our customers, so I can become stinking rich. I mean, who in their right mind is going to buy one of our pensions or insurance policies, they’re absolute rubbish. So what you do is support some good cause like the Bitchfield 5k that’s going to get you a lot of good PR in the press, and bingo, before you know it you’ve got ISAs flying off the shelves like shit off a Teflon-coated shovel.”

LeGrande was keen to talk about her running partners for the Bitchfield 5k, the BNP spokesman for bullying issues, Barry ‘the persuader’ Coalman, and her training partner, reformed bank robber and violent criminal Frank Nutter, who she’d managed to get sprung from prison to run in the event.

“I bunged the warder a pony and told him either Frankie walked or he would find out for himself how difficult it was to walk on broken legs. The warder, that is. And Frankie’s like, ‘tops Cleo, I fort I was down for a twenty stretch there. Let me know if you need anyone sorting out at UK Cash Cowboys, and they won’t cause you any bovver any more, you with me?’ Cheers Frankie, I told him, I’ll bear that in mind. So it turned out to be a right win-win. Of course, as soon as Bazza heard Frankie was on the outside, he signed up for the Bitchfield 5k too. He wants to talk about a little rumble Frank’s got going on in Hatton Garden, but I can’t say too much about it, yeah? Suffice to say, the 5k is a great cover. We can go over the planning and shit while we’re jogging round Bitchfield, smiling at the cameras, and the world will think we’re supporting lepers in Africa or something, while really we’ll be planning a nice little earner. Bosh.”

When I asked LeGrande how she’d fallen in with two notorious criminals, and didn’t she think they were rather unconventional bedfellows for the CEO of a high street bank to be associating with, she was unequivocal in her reply. “Shows how much you know about running a bank, sweetheart. I learned everything I know about business from those guys. I’ve heard people say the way to build a successful business is to be nice to people. Complete bollocks. Five minutes watching those guys go to work in a bar-room brawl soon puts you right on that score. You be nice to people, they take the piss. You get your retaliation in first, you with me? Do some right damage, then nobody ever fucks with you again, ever. Job done. I’m talking next level thinking here. I learned from Frank and Barry that the best way to run a successful mob is to terrorise the shit out of everyone. Staff, suppliers, their families. Make sure everyone knows who the fuck you are, and they don’t forget it in a hurry. At UK Cash Cowboys staff are either with the programme, or not, if I can put it like that. If they’re not on my bus, they go under it. That’s how I run my companies, with steel. With blackjacks and baseball bats. Workers’ rights? Fuck off. Fear, intimidation, bullying, exploitation and slave wages, that’s what I learned in business school. But the good thing about events like the Bitchfield 5k is it makes me look like some pussy patron saint of good causes who people think must be the most philanthropical CEO to work for, ha ha. Fuck it, I say, if they’re dumb enough to swallow that shit I’m happy to smile for the cameras then take my staff round the back of the office and give them a right good kicking in the alleyway, where no-one can see. Why you looking at me like that? Wanna do something about it? Well do you? Do you actually know who Barry Coalman’s associates are? Then take that stupid look off your face, unless you’d like to become more intimately acquainted with Barry’s friends.“

As we trudged along Princes Street, I asked LeGrande if her fascist style of running a business has brought UK Cash Cowboys success, and what we might expect from the challenger bank in 2015. “Nosey bastard aren’t you,” she said. “Let me tell you, bullying and intimidation works, period. Profits have never been higher. If you pay someone 90p to make a widget you sell for a quid, that’s only 10p profit. Meh. But if you chain them to the desk, slap them around a bit and tell them to make them for 1p, or their kids die, that’s 99p profit. Keynesian economics, sweetheart. It’s not my fault I was born more intelligent and important than everyone else. It’s all about the pecking order, and people understanding their position in life. Not everyone can be at the top. If people think I don’t deserve five million in bonuses, come and have a go, I say, if you think you’re hard enough. Next fucking question, and it better be a nice one.”

I asked her what her favourite colour was.

“Red,” she said, without a hint of irony. “The colour of blood. It reminds me of a slacker we had to take care of in Marketing last year. Well, I say slacker, he forgot to curtsey when he passed me in the corridor one time, the cheeky cunt. And he had the audacity to ask for a 1% pay rise when he’d already had one five years ago. Listen dickhead, I told him, how the fuck do you expect me to trouser my £5 million bonus next year if greedy cunts like you keep asking for 1% pay rises? Don’t you know there’ a recession on? You should be grateful you’ve even got a job licking the dogshit off my running shoes in the first place. Then I got Barry and Frank to take him round the back and give him his personal end-of-year appraisal, and some one to one feedback on his performance. Basically that’s the technical term for beating his face to a bloody pulp with knuckledusters and tyre irons. Looked like he’d been in a car crash when they’ve finished. Real craftsmen are Barry and Frank, you don’t see their like anymore. Not in high street banking, anyway. Won’t get any more shit about pay rises from that little jumped up piece of shit, you with me? Yeah, my favourite colour is red. Like our logo. Hold up, shhh, look smart, photographers up ahead. Hi there! Lovely day isn’t it! Let’s hope we get sunshine for the big race tomorrow, so we can raise lots of money for all the children and the poor people, and make the world a better place! Love to everyone! Cheese!”

 

 

 

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