USP FAIR PLAY
Ethical catering leading the way
MAKE IT COMPATIBLE Selling the merits of compatible cartridges
Filing and archiving at the end of the tax year
JANUARY 2012 ISSUE 100
THE EDITOR’S LETTER CONTENTS 03
NEWS PITCH INVADERS The latest news and products to help you deliver the perfect sales pitch
MARKETPLACE HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVE Cashing in on the merits of compatible cartridges
FILE AWAY Filing and archiving: helping your clients at the end of the tax year
NINA ROSANDIC The start of a New Year brings that weird mixture of fresh vigour and promise combined with the not-so-perky January blues. Well, we say blow away that cynical cloud and enjoy the fact that it’s 2012, and have a drink on us – it’s our 100th birthday! We will be seeing a little shake-up with the future of USP, as of next month we will be getting closer than ever to our big brother magazine Dealer Support, as we piggy-back the future issues and hit the desks of dealers as a section of the meatier read. But never fear, we will continue to feed you and your colleagues with your monthly tips and features, and as the merge is due to coincide with a new website launch, it will be easier than ever to keep on top of what’s going on in the world of sales in the office supplies market. This month we look at what Fairtrade awareness means in the world of business supplies (page 10), Jonathan Hills looks at how the end of the tax year is set to make customers think twice about filing solutions (page 7), and wait for it… we have a Duracell bunny to giveaway, complete with nifty portable phone charger cell (page 14). Happy New Year and all that jazz, may it be joyful and prosperous.
SOUL FOOD Ethical catering leading the way
BREAKTIME Fun and games and a Duracell bunny up for grabs
LIVE IT HOW TO SPEND IT The latest in film, music and technology – the best way to spend your commission
USP EDITOR NINA ROSANDIC | firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR JULIA DENNISON | email@example.com COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR VICKI BALOCH | firstname.lastname@example.org SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER – MEDIA SOLUTIONS MATTHEW MOORE | email@example.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE – MEDIA SOLUTIONS KRYSTLE DAVIS | firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGNER SARAH CHIVERS | email@example.com PRODUCTION ASSISTANT SINEAD COFFEY | firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHING ASSISTANT/CIRCULATIONS MANAGER NATALIA JOHNSTON | email@example.com PUBLISHER DAVID COLLINGBOURNE | firstname.lastname@example.org DIGITAL MANAGER DAN PRICE | email@example.com
07 ON THE COVER 04 MAKE IT COMPATIBLE
Selling the merits of compatible cartridges
07 PAPER CHASE
Filing and archiving USP magazine is published by... Intelligent Media Solutions | Suite 223 | Business Design Centre | 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH tel: 0207 288 6833 | fax: 0207 288 6834 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | web: www.uspmagazine.com Follow USP on Twitter at Twitter.com/uspmagazine Printed in the UK by Buxton Press www.buxtonpress.co.uk
10 FAIR PLAY
Ethical catering leading the way
NEWS PITCH INVADERS 03
TOSHIBA TEC’S ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES BEAR FRUIT
PRODUCT ExaClair Limited has launched the Rhodia Professional Office Collection, a new series of premium range business notebooks for the professional executive. Exaclair’s six different Rhodia notebook styles use premium 90gsm, PEFC certified paper and “provide both style and hardwearing finish for use both in the office and on the move.” The Casebound Hardback Book, for example, contains 192 pages of feint ruled White Brushed Vellum Paper. It includes a front sheet printed with a year planner, micro-perforated corners and a black ribbon page marker. The Wirebound Polypropylene (PP) Book holds 180 perforated hole-punched pages, with black elastic closure for page marking and and three removable dividers. The Wirebound Hardback Meeting Book includes micro-perforated sheets, making page removal easy. Printed with date, notes and action on each of the 160 pages, the Wirebound Hardback A-Z Book is indexed and printed with equivalent detail on every one of the pages. According to James Mead, sales and marketing director: “Protecting the environment is of primary importance with all of our stationery. All of the books are PEFC certified, ensuring that the paper sourced is non-damaging to the environment.” He believes that the Rhodia series provides an unquestionable opportunity for dealers selling to the modern business executive. For more details contact Exaclair on 01553 696600
TOSHIBA PRODUCTS UPDATED PRODUCT Toshiba is the number one choice in the UK for A3 mono devices with speeds up to 19ppm, further improving its successful document managers by offering SMEs and departments new multifunctional systems. Chertsey, U.K. January 5 2012 - Toshiba announced the launch of two new monochrome systems with advanced print, copy, scan and fax functionalities. With an enhanced printing speed of 22 and 24 pages per minute respectively, the e-STUDIO223/243 are ideal for SMEs or departments seeking reliable, high-quality document output. Like their successful predecessors, this series has a versatile model line-up, offering the flexibility a modern office requires, supporting various paper sizes up to A3 and offering several options such as additional paper cassettes for a capacity of 1,700 sheets.. “We are proud to be able to offer innovative technology” says Chris Mills, Product Manager at Toshiba Tec. “But at the same time we strongly believe that it is user-friendliness which makes good products perfect. This is true for the e-STUDIO223/243 as these new models feature intuitive user interfaces which make day-to-day business not only easier, but also more efficient.” Toshiba strives to reduce the environmental impact of its product, and so the internal toner recycling system reduces the amount of toner these systems use leading to a considerable reduction in consumed resources. For further information please contact Chris Mills at Toshiba TEC on 01932 580100, email email@example.com
All the products and developments you need to deliver the perfect sales pitch
EXACLAIR PREMIUM NOTEBOOKS
promoting environmental best practice. Judges are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and other independent bodies. Toshiba TEC competed against more than 500 other nominees and was presented with its Green Apple Award at a glittering presentation ceremony in the House of Commons. As well as being ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accredited, Toshiba TEC adopts a sustainable approach to the design, manufacture and use of all its products. Recycled plastic in exterior panels, longer-lasting consumables and compact designs all are all used to enhance their sustainable qualities. The company counts EnergyStar and Blue Angel amongst the environmental standards that it complies with, and it also adheres to the LOT4 voluntary agreement that minimises environmental impact through design.
NEWS Leading imaging solutions provider, Toshiba TEC, has received recognition for its pioneering environmental initiatives by being presented with a Green Apple Environment Award, part of a national campaign that identifies Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities. The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major source of recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising and
04 mARKETPLACE compatibles
The compatibles market has developed considerably recently and is constantly evolving within the consumables marketplace. Matt Jane looks at the state of the industry and considers how dealers could benefit from offering these products to customers
How the other half live USP
mARKETPLACE compatibles 05
As companies become increasingly aware of the need to ensure cost cutting throughout every area of the business, one of the primary concerns is how to reduce the expense of the business essentials without compromising on quality and reliability. This has led more customers to ask their office supplies dealers about the ever-improving compatible consumables and the various benefits these can bring to an organisation. “Business users are hungry for cost savings, of that there can be no doubt,” says Mark Dawson from MSE. “But many are unwilling to trade document quality and printer performance for a price advantage over OEM. That is why the OEM still has a 92% market share of colour laser printer toner cartridges. The only way to compete in this segment is to provide true OEM equivalence when it comes to quality, but that is incredibly challenging due to the technology. Most standard cartridge remanufacturing processes just don’t cut it.” Fortunately for dealers looking to provide compatible solutions to their customers, there have been considerable developments in the global market. “One of the many benefits of this maturation is the advancements in manufacturing processes and technologies that have resulted from the leading companies gaining economies of scale and scope,” explains Scott MacKenzie from Clover Technologies. This has led to investments in the technology that has enabled compatible products to compete with the OEM consumables, but at a reduced cost, meaning that resellers can offer products at a discounted rate to OEMs. As the compatibles industry improves its offering through technological innovations, customers should be more willing to trial the products as a genuine replacement to OEM. Georgina Mullins from Katun believes the main driving factor to the compatible products is the potential for better profit, but there are also other benefits associated with making the switch. “There is an old saying that turnover is vanity but profit is sanity,” she says. PROMOTING THE BENEFITS It is essential that dealers effectively sell the most appropriate product for each customer’s requirements. For customers that may be reluctant to initially make the transition to compatible products, it is important that their experience from the outset is as effective as
possible. “There is a lot of churn going on out there,” says Dawson. “Business users want and need significant cost savings, so they try alternatives. These simply do not cut the mustard and the users are unable to live with the quality, so they reluctantly go back to expensive original supplies. However their need for cost reductions has not gone away.” Dealers should be prepared to invest time and effort into ensuring the necessary training is undertaken so that resellers can confidently help customers get the most out of their investments. “The key is showing them how and why the product is better than what they have experienced before,” explains Dawson. While compatible products may be cheaper than the OEM alternatives, there are still various grades of quality within the market as well and dealers should have confidence in the product that they sell. MacKenzie says that premium replacement cartridges that are of the same quality as OEM products present a strong value proposition for consumers. “This makes it important for dealers to offer a high-quality alternative to the OEM, particularly in uncertain economic environments,” he explains. “In addition to being of high quality, these
and dealers should be certain of the products they are promoting to clients or risk their profits and reputations. AN IMPORTANT MARKET While there are some risks associated with compatible products, such as ensuring the products are of a high quality and stand up to the rigorous IP criteria, dealers cannot afford to ignore the many opportunities within this market. “There are two factors driving this market,” says Dawson. “Amid talk of a doubledip recession and with recent news of higher unemployment statistics, there is no question that it is a tough time for business. The desire for cost savings has never been greater. It is real and it is urgent. Resellers need to have solutions available to respond to these pressures.” Another important factor that should help drive progress in compatible sales is the fact that OEMs are increasingly cutting back on their rebate programmes and marketing funds. “Cash margins are reducing and once the dealer has found a reliable source of alternatives, they can dramatically improve the cash margin per box,” explains Dawson.
In addition to being of high quality, these consumables are also better for the environment than their OEM counterparts and are sold at a considerable discount compared to the OEM consumables are better for the environment than their OEM counterparts and are sold at a considerable discount compared to the OEM.” MacKenzie reminds dealers that not all compatible cartridges are created equally. “There remain many manufacturers producing sub-standard products and/or producing cartridges that infringe on the intellectual property of the OEMs,” he says. Dealers need to have a full understanding of their products. Dawson stresses the importance of doing proper diligence on their product sources. “There are many wholesale brands out there,” he says. “Often dealers don’t know what is in the box. And furthermore what is in the box today may not be the same as what will be in the box tomorrow.” He says there are many clones being supplied to the UK market
Even more than simply developing alongside the original consumable, Mullins suggests there could come a time that compatibles overtake their original counterparts. “Dealers need to use compatibles in their office equipment to ensure ongoing profitability, particularly as the cost per page on colour devices comes increasingly under pressure,” she says. While the day that the compatible takes over the baton from the OEM may be further down the line still, dealers almost have a duty to their customers to ensure they offer a comprehensive solution. “The remanufacturing industry will always need strong OEMs to place printers and supply original cartridges,” says Dawson. “Our job as an industry is to provide the user with a choice.”
marKETPLaCE FiLing 07
Filing and storage is more than just alphabetising and writing clearly on the tab. Jonathan Hills takes a look at archiving and storage at the beginning of this document cycle prior to the end of the tax year Archiving and filing solutions are something that dealers can sell on the back of necessity, as well as innovation. Organising documents with a clear and consistent archiving process allows businesses to run more smoothly and facilitates the potential to save on time, money and inefficient storage. Many of your clients will be rushing to set their accounts in order, in preparation for the new tax year deadline, and there are several ways in which dealers can use this to their advantage. FResH sTaRT At a time when businesses are looking to be as efficient as possible, filing and archiving presents a fantastic opportunity for dealers to present a great business solution to their clients at a fraction of the cost of other streamlining methods such as business consultancy or staff shake-ups.“ Not filing properly harms businesses,” says Klaus Schulz, manager of product marketing EMEA, PFU Imaging Solutions. “In simple terms this means they are less efficient than they could be.”
Clients that are less than proficient when it comes to keeping their accounts and filing in order should be informed of the impact that this could have on their business efficiency. Alan Ball, MD of Spicers told USP that he was surprised when sales figures for 2011 showed physical filing solutions as one of the few growth areas within office supplies throughout 2011 – demonstrating an increased desire for businesses to update their filing systems in the current economic climate. Present the tax year as the perfect opportunity to upgrade filing systems and highlight the importance of filing solutions as a matter of security as well as administration. Aside from the legal obligations companies have to keep their information up to date, safe and secure from fraud, they are also obliged to keep finances in an accurate and accessible manner for audit. Companies, particularly SMEs, overstretched with their administrative tasks may have little interest in frantically revamping their filing system before the new tax year and risking
08 mARKETPLACE Filing
anything going awry. However, dealers may use the situation to their advantage as clients will be particularly aware of the problems of an inefficient filing system in the run up to tax inspection, and are likely to be more easily persuaded of the importance of filing and archiving efficiently for next time. Updating your filing is not something that has to wait until a cabinet breaks or the business undergoes a complete overhaul. If your client has decided that they have little or no interest in revamping their storage solutions until the tax year is over, suggest that they purchase now before prices increase, ensuring that they can start the New Year filing under the new system, rather than trying to awkwardly assimilate both systems once the new tax year begins. The New Year also introduces the opportunity for your client to refresh their office’s desks and try to remove all of the clutter that has been accumulating throughout the past year. Furthermore, with desks becoming smaller and smaller, desktop filing offers a great means for sellers to provide offices with a more personal filing space that can protect vital information from the rest of the office.
Not filing properly harms businesses, in simple terms this means they are less efficient than they could be Suspension files are a great solution to keep filing up to date on a daily basis, so that your client’s colleagues will not have to keep trawling back and forth to a main filing unit as they will always have a filing solution at their fingertips. Stackable letter trays also ensure that loose pieces of information don’t go astray and end up in the wrong hands. Business cards, printed sheets, hole-punched paper, CD’s and presentation booklets can all be included in the same location on a short-term basis, and then be sorted properly at the end of the day or week so that office information is always conversant. File safe Make your client aware that filing solutions are also about the information that a company does not want to keep, as well as information that it does. According to a study commissioned by Fellowes, just 64% of businesses have enacted a clear policy on how to handle documents containing sensitive information, revealing that many businesses have no clear system in place for determining where documentation should end up. In addition to this, the study found that 32% of employees admitted to always throwing sensitive documents directly into the bin, something that could potentially cause irreparable damage to a business, and in some cases result in legal action against the company if any party mentioned in the documents suffers defamation or damage as a result. Shredding is something that can be outsourced to a third party, though it is often a good idea to shred on-site as it narrows down the possibility of fraud and is more affordable. Shredders are available in an
array of sizes, speeds and qualities, so suggest to your clients that their employees are provided with both a desk-side shredder for general use, and a larger, more secure office shredder for high security documents. This is a great way to expand sales by providing client’s employees with their own personal shredder to act as a consistent prompt to carry out security measures. Also, remind clients that shredders aren’t just about security, but about reducing waste output and improving green credentials. Document management software is another way of smartening up office filing, and something that is likely to transform the way that businesses deal with their filing and archiving for the future, but initially it can be rather difficult to implement as the initial transfer of all previous information to digital takes place. Dealers should be pushing the sales of filing and archiving solutions during the months leading upto the close of the tax year. In the current climate, companies are reluctant to look into new expenses, but they may be persuaded to do so by the potential to save money and staffhours in the long-term – filing presents this option at a reasonable cost. Dealers merely need to inform their clients of the benefits of updating their system and taking the financial plunge for long term gain.
help! When tax time comes around are you drowning in paperwork? Be organised, Be prepared, Be professional with R-Kive filing and storage solutions ®
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www.fellowes.com/ukpromos/getorganised STRENGTH YOU CAN COUNT ONTM
10 marKETPLaCE ETHICaL CaTErInG
With Fairtrade Fortnight set to take place between 27 February and 11 March, consumer awareness of ethically-sourced goods will be at its annual peak. Gemma Rowbotham finds out why dealers should be tapping into the trend
FAIR PLAY USP
12 mARKETPLACE ETHICAL CATERING
Leaves of change Demand for ethically sourced goods is booming despite the economic downturn, with consumers more conscious than ever. The UK market for Fairtrade products is now worth more than £1bn, with over half of UK consumers buying these products at least once a month. One of the key market areas to become increasingly concerned with sustainability is the tea market. The sector has experienced difficulties with declining prices, combined with criticism over environmentally damaging farming techniques. In April 2011, Tetley began selling its first boxes of Rainforest Alliance certified tea, marking a major milestone for the industry. Although PG Tips was the first large tea company to offer fully Rainforest Alliance certified tea, Tetley currently leads the UK market with a 27% share, with PG tips holding 24%. Unilever, the company that owns PG Tips, plans to halve its carbon footprint and source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably.
Growth in ethical consumerism continues to outstrip the market as a whole Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever says: “We do not believe there is a conflict between sustainability and profitable growth … but we recognise that in order to live within the natural limits of the planet we will have to decouple growth from environmental impact. “The sourcing of raw materials and the use of our products by the consumer at home has a far larger footprint. Our plan is designed to reduce our impact across the whole lifecycle of our products. Innovation and technology will be key to achieving these reductions.” Fair for all Another well-known item to gain Fairtrade recognition is Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. The product was certified in July 2009 and was the first confectionery on the market to receive the acknowledgement. In fact, the appearance of the Fairtrade logo on the packaging has been one of the key supporting factors in its
growth. Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Kraft Food, explains: “The Globe Scan 2010 report states that 58% of people are more likely to buy Cadbury as a result of its Fairtrade certification, so in addition to the ethical benefit, there is also a real business case to stock certified products. Many Fairtrade Foundation supporters were delighted to see Cadbury Dairy Milk switch to Fairtrade and they even sent messages and cards of congratulations to Cadbury. In terms of public perception of the Fairtrade Mark, it is further demonstration that Fairtrade is going increasingly mainstream when a major brand like Cadbury switches the nation’s top-selling chocolate bar to Fairtrade.” Tim Franklin, chief operating officer of Co-operative Financial Services at Kraft explains: “Growth in ethical consumerism continues to outstrip the market as a whole. I have no doubt that this will come as a surprise to those commentators who thought ethical considerations would be the first casualty of an economic downturn.” As a result of this insight, Cadbury is currently exploring the feasibility of going Fairtrade across other brands. Last year Dairy Milk Buttons moved to Fairtrade, along with a number of products in its Christmas range. A growing trend In September 2011 Coca-Cola introduced PlantBottle packaging to help decrease its reliance on fossil fuels. All Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and diet Coke in 500ml bottles are now sold in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles made partially from plants. The company is aiming to produce all of its plastic bottles from a combination of bio-based materials and recycled PET plastic by 2020. Patrick McGuirk, recycling director for Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd, says: “We’re especially excited about the potential to develop recyclable plastic from natural, renewable resources like stems, fruit peels and bark, which can be sourced from almost anywhere in the world. We’re not there yet as a commercial product, but, working with our research partners, we think we’ll get there in the next three to five years.” Nestlé is another company to move towards ethical consideration and has pledged £65m investment over ten years to improve
the quality and yield of cocoa plants. The company also works with a number of organisations including the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. Neil Stephens, MD of Nestlé Professional, says: “This commitment to sustainability is increasingly playing a bigger role for a number of customers. We know how important sustainability is to our customers and we have endeavoured to create shared value for all; integrating sustainability as a fundamental business practice throughout the Company’s operations.” Sales of Fairtrade products increase by 20% during Fairtrade Fortnight, so it is a great opportunity for dealers to capitalise on this growing trend. With the steady growth of catering sales in the FM product area, make sure you don’t lose out by emphasising the importance of ethically minded produce to your customers, highlighting the ethically sourced brands you supply, and placing yourself as a supplier that believes in the future of sustainability. BENEFITS OF FAIRTRADE
CADBURY CASE STUDY In 2011 for Fairtrade Fortnight, 20% of all profits on Fairtrade certified Cadbury products sold went towards funding solar power projects in Ghanaian cocoa producing communities. The activity was supported by a six figure marketing investment from Cadbury including digital, PR and in-store media, and in-store point of sale material to drive awareness of the promotion with consumers. While working with farming communities in Ghana, Cadbury has learnt that creating an affordable supply of electricity is crucial to helping them secure a sustainable and bright future. Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Cadbury, says: “To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2011, we wanted to do something a little bit extra for the Ghanaian Cocoa farming communities who work to produce the cocoa that goes into our chocolate ... In working and chatting with Ghanaian farming communities we know that helping them to invest in affordable electricity is hugely empowering. It can help run hospitals, improve education and bring communities together.”
TeTley DrawsTring and the
marKETPLaCE FEaTurE TyPE 13
we’re getting ever closer to a more sustainable future.
Our commitment to sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified™ tea means your tea is not only great tasting but also sustainably sourced to help ensure that both farm workers and their families enjoy a decent standard of living and that the environment is protected. We’re currently sourcing 100% of the tea for our Tetley for Caterers Drawstring 100s and new 6x25 envelope packs from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, and by April 2011 that will be the case for 30% of all our black teas in the UK. Plus, we’re working towards sourcing 100% of all our teas from certified farms by 2016.
That’s better. That’s Tetley. www.tetleyforcaterers.co.uk
14 SALES ACADEMY BREAK TIME
Breaktime There is nothing more annoying than your phone dying on you while on the move, particularly as it only tends to happen when you’re either waiting for something super important, or in desperate need of the guiding hand of Google maps. Well, never fear, Duracell has the perfect answer – a sleek convenient solution to ensure you can keep calm and carry on gaming, or texting or listening to music, or whatever, wherever you are. The Duracell Portable USB Charger 1150mAh will instantly offer up to three hours of extra talk time. And just because we like our readers, we’ve managed to get our hands on a Duracell bunny for good measure (and yes – batteries are included!).
WIN A PORTABLE CHARGER AND DURACELL BUNNY
PUBQUIZ 1. Which day didn’t Bob Geldoff like? 2. What is the name of the housing estate where the Trotters live in Only Fools And Horses? 3. In what year was the television invented? 4. Which author wrote The Bourne Identity? 5. How many dots are there in total on a pair of dice?
To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question: What is the Duracell bunny famed for? A: Big ears B: Relentless energy C: Night vision
Send your answer with the subject line ‘bunny’ to firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date for entries is 16 February. Winners will be chosen at random. Only successful candidates will be notified. Judges decision is final.
DO YOUR NUMBERS Fancy taking a break from the sales calls, client meetings and proposal writing? Put your feet up and switch your brain on to our break time puzzle. No prizes, just the satisfaction of beating the grid.
6. How many times in succession did Bjorn Borg win the Men’s Tennis Singles at Wimbledon?
7. Which Spaniard is known for his hallucinatory paintings?
8 3 9
3 6 9 3
6 8 1
8 4 1 2 8
9 4 1 5 4 3 2 7 7 5 8 3 3 4 USP
7 7 3 8
9 3 2 4 3 7 5
2 5 4 8
6 8 4 9 1 2 4 3
2 3 9
8. What did Hugh Heffner originally plan to call his Playboy magazine?
9. Which company invented the computer floppy disc in 1970? 10. Who was the oldest member of the Beatles?
7 ANSWERS: 1. Mondays 2. Nelson Mandela House 3. 1926 4. Robert Ludlum 5. 42 6. Five 7. Salvador Dali 8. Stag Party 9. IBM 10. Ringo Starr
The best way to spend your free time and money
BIT OF BANTER
Whether you appreciate a well thought-out action thriller plot, or a stellar cast list, you are likely to be more than pleased with Oscar-winner Steven Soderburgh’s latest piece of cinema fodder. The story is set around a beautiful covert operative, Mallory Kane and her role carrying out cut-throat dirty work on behalf of a government security contractor. During a hostage rescue mission in Barcelona, Mallory is double-crossed and left for dead by her agency partners. After her cunning escape, she then becomes the target for a team of the world’s most skilled assassins and must do what she can to duck and dive an international manhunt, and create a trap for her adversaries. The leading role is the acting debut of champion fighter Gina Carano, who Soderburgh discovered on the women’s mixed martial arts circuit. Carano has the support of a strong cast that includes Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas and Michael Angarano. Verdict: The sort of film Bond would take notes on. Released 18 January
TRIBES It seems there may be something in the water down at Camden lock, as Tribes join the long line of musical genius to hail from the North London creative hub. The guitar-based indie band have released their debut album Baby, comprising a sound that harks back to nineties Britpop, with a lazy Libertines-esque drawl and a healthy dose of catchy melodies. Available now
HAYMANS 1850 RESERVE GIN Not your regular gin, Hayman’s latest tipple is modelled on the pre-bottle days back in the 19th century when Gin Palaces would store the drink in wooden barrels, ready for tots to be poured. This recreation has been rested in Scottish Whiskey barrels for three to four weeks. The result is a lightly coloured gin with subtle mellow notes, with a hint of spice and pepper from the wood ageing process. Crisp.
DON’T WORRY MATE, I GOT YOUR BACK
GOOD SMURF CITY The Spanish town of Juzcar was painted blue by Sony six months ago when it was chosen as the set for The Smurfs 3D. After an influx of 80,000 visitors, the 250 locals of the first official Smurf Village have voted against the promised reinstatement of whitewash and terracotta, in favour of retaining the town’s new identity as a tourist hotspot. Some of the locals have gone as far as hosting a Smurf fair dressed in Smurf costumes.
Photo: manuelfloresv on Flickr
NEEDLE TRAIL Police arrested a Christmas tree thief – after following a trail of pine needles to his front door. Nursery boss John Dacre, 65, called in police after an overnight raid that saw the disappearance of Christmas trees, wrought iron tree stands, holly wreaths, and bird tables. A police spokesman said: “The foliage led officers to a house where the stolen trees were found and recovered. As an extra present, officers also found a cannabis farm at the address.” Epic fail.
BAD JANUARY 2012