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Sense and bravery – I love Sue Clarke

This week I’d like to salute Sue Clarke, head of marketing at edeus – the mortgage lender created by former HBOS duo Michael Bolton and Alan Cleary – for her rip-roaring response to criticism of its advertising campaign.

One ad features a blurred discussion seen at a distance through a stiletto heeled pair of apparently female legs. I say apparently as what with errant MPs and cruising pop stars, who can really tell these days?

I must confess that at first sight I assumed the advert to be an interestingly different slant on the lending industry’s enfant terrible – a kind of below the HIP shot.

But a spokesperson for Object, an organisation that challenges the objectification of women by the media, refocussed my vision. The advert has nothing to do with Home Information Packs. Apparently it’s the latest infusion of smut into the world of financial services.

Object criticises the advert for being offensive to women. And its spokesperson believes that “it is impossible to ignore the fact that the business world is now associated with lap dancing”, and that “it is therefore hard not to place this ad – men seated at tables, being entertained by women depicted as nothing more than a pair of legs in stilettos – in this context”. Eh? What am I missing in my life?

I’m sorry to pee on Object’s parade but I’ve been in the business world for about 40 years and have never found the world of lap dancing to be remotely associated with my commercial dealings. My focus on figures has been more laptop than lap dance. Has Object confused the two?

And as for being “impossible to ignore”, I’m reliably informed that I’m not in a minority of men for who the questionable delights of Spearmint Rambo or whatever it’s called remain an indifferent mystery.

So why do I applaud Clarke? For her forthright reaction to the criticism – the delightful: “Get a life. We will not let political correctness taint our industry the way it has blighted others.”

Common sense and understanding. And from a woman.

One of the pleasures of life is the playful interaction between people. But the wonderful seam of innuendo and banter that was once a fun part of our world is being remorselessly wrung out by an obsession with political correctness that has gained a ridiculously disproportionate hold on our lives.

So, yo Clarke. I don’t know you but I feel that you are the kind of lady I would want to clasp to my man-bosom in platonically fond embrace.

How refreshing to have a corporate spin doctor with the balls and backing to say “Get stuffed”, and how politically sensible your response was. I love you.


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HBOS’ gross market share in the mortgage market increased to 22% in the first half of 2006 – a 1% in- crease on last year’s figures, its interim results reveal. The results also show gross mortgage lending was 35.2bn as of June 30 this year, more than 7bn up on the same time last year. […]

Give us a break

The government is keen to see more mortgage borrowers with some form of payment or income protection insurance, and targets that equate to doubling the number of protection policies in force are often talked up.

Broker promotions will remain in FSA spotlight

The Financial Services Authority will continue to monitor mortgage brokers’ financial promotions, having found little improvement in the number of promotions meeting regulatory standards. While sectors such as investment have upped their game, the FSA says sub-prime and equity release financial promotions are still not up to scratch. Common failings identified in relation to sub-prime […]

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London Scottish Mortgages has changed its range of sub-prime residential mortgages after a review in consultation with brokers and packagers.


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