The industry heaves itself into its tracksuit this week, with football sponsorships, ODA stunts, a sporty rebranding, and some deeply unpleasant goings-on at Ashton Town FC
A cut above
Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, a JCB digger and a gaggle of east London women – sadly not a new Olympic event, but merely the latest stunt by the Olympic Delivery Authority at the 2012 site in Stratford. But for Jowell it was so much more – a taster session for potential female JCB trainees. “I see you all as pioneers,” she proclaimed. Some remained underwhelmed, though.
“I might consider construction,” shrugged one woman, “only because it pays better than hairdressing.”
Be a sport
Rumours abound that one mooted name for the rebranded HOK Sport is just “Sport”. Full marks for whichever brand consultant came up with that one, but you have to wonder whether the Olympic stadium designer might be mistaken for an energy drink. Perhaps it has taken its inspiration from Aussie director Rod Sheard’s favourite term of endearment.
Putting their faith in cod
How to tell we’re in recession, part 3,422: hard-up architects design fish and chip shops. Well that’s what the Great British Tile Company is hoping anyway. Presumably it was concerned that its range of London Underground-themed tiles might suffer in a looming public spending squeeze, so it has taken decisive action. “In response to public demand”, the business has launched a range of tiles based on “that very British establishment – the fish and chip shop”. Should any architects flounder, they know the plaice to go for brill ideas …
The news that Steven Norris, Jarvis chairman and former pretender to the London mayoralty, splurged £21,640 of his own cash on company shares this week was not met with much seasonal cheer in the City. While some suggested it might signal the start of the rail specialist’s recovery, one analyst called Jarvis a “one-trick pony that blames its only client when things go wrong”. Taking the animal metaphor further, Kevin Cammack at Singer Capital Markets said Norris’ spending spree proved a “dog wasn’t just for Christmas”. I’m sure they really meant to wish their fellow man a prosperous new year.
Bend it like Morgan
In an example of the beautiful game living up to its billing, Morgan Ashurst has just struck a sponsorship deal with a teenager from Huntingdon, near Cambridge. The 13-year-old plays for Cambridge City under-13s and the construction firm has just paid for her and her team-mates to be kitted out with new strips. And the name of this teenage prodigy? Morgan Ashurst of course.
The latest series of Spooks may have finished, but I am pleased to report that espionage is alive and well. Business secretary Peter Mandelson’s mandarins are keeping schtoom, but what about? Whether George Osborne made their boss’ Christmas card list? Mandy’s holiday plans? No, something far more sinister: the name of the civil servant giving a briefing this week on the new Construction Bill. Mandelson’s talent for scheming is clearly catching on …