Persuasion PR - News

Pearls (margaritaria) from the English

Friday, June 2, 2017

Here is a short story in which I demonstrate how easy it is for an Englishman, with limited Greek, to make stupid mistakes when trying to communicate.  I have tried to show how I often manage to pick words of similar sound and structure – but with completely the wrong meaning!

Most of these errors are genuine faux pas, which I have actually made – with one or two additional possibilities thrown in.

So, the bold text is what I really said, with a phonetic version of the Greek word in brackets.

The italicised text is what I meant to say, again the Greek word is in brackets.


A busy day in Petalidi

It was going to be a busy day.  There was much to do. A meeting with my architect, and shopping in town, before visiting a friend.  Then, in the evening, a wedding.


So I arose early for the arrival of architect Alex.  I greeted him from the balcony, shouting: “Squid (Kalamari) / Good morning” (Kali mera).  “Coffee?” I asked.  “Yes.” He replied.  “S**t? (Skata?) / plain or black” (Sketo) I enquired.  He laughed.  I don’t know why.


It was quite a short meeting.  Everything was going well with the construction of the house.  But I did want to let him know that I wanted onions (kremithia) / tiles (keramithia), the colour of honey on my roof and aluminium beetroots (panzaria) / shutters (panzuoria), rather than wood, which requires constant maintenance.


I then drove into town to get some shopping with the first stop being the table (trapeizi) / bank (trapeza) on the corner to withdraw some money.


At the butcher’s I bought a steak, after asking the assistant if it was w*nk*r (malaka) / tender (malakos) and also a kilo of small children (pethakia) / lamb chops (paithakia).  On my way to the chemist to get some cream for all my cauliflower (kounoupithi) / mosquito (kounoupi), bites, I saw that the green grocer was selling boys (agoria) / cucumbers (angouria), three for a Euro, so I bought six.


I walked down the lemon (limoni) / port (limani) to look for the idiot (vlaka) / man from the village (vlaxos) who keeps his old long john’s (vraka) / boat (varka) there.  I asked him if he could take me for a trip next week.  “Of course,” he replied:  “Where would you like to go?”


“Sunday (Kyriaki) / Corfu (Kerkyra.”)  I replied.  He looked confused.


I said maybe we could check the pots he puts out to catch policemen (astanomia) / lobsters (astakos) and perhaps we could find some of those kiwi fruit(aktinithi) / sea urchins (akinia) which I have seen clinging to the rocks.  “Do you know you can eat them,” he asked.  “B*****s (Orxis) / No (Oxi)”, I replied.


I said goodbye and headed off to see my friend, Frank, to return his grandmother (yaya) / spectacles (yialya) which he had left on my balcony wall.  On the way, I saw something which made me smile.  A tzatziki (tzatziki) / a goat (katziki) sitting on a high stone wall.


Noticing the car was low on fuel, I called in at the garage.  “How much do you want?” asked Ianni.  Deciding to fill it up I replied:  “F**k it! (yamato) / Fill it up (yemiste to).”


When I arrived at Frank’s he was gardening – planting sausages (loukaniko) / cabages (laxanika), which was interesting.  But what I really wanted to see was his beautiful ar*e (pisinos) / swimming pool (pisina) and hopefully, dive into it.  He showed me his bum (pisinos) / pool (pisina) but unfortunately it was empty, so all I could do was stand and stare at it.


So we had a sh*t (skata) / plain (sketo) coffee and I went home to prepare for the wedding.


I was looking forward to the occasion very much.  We went first to the house of the bride.  When I saw her, I could not believe how shapeless (amorfi) / beautiful (omorfi) she looked.  Because her father had sadly died, she was walked to church by God (Theos) / her uncle (thios).


The ceremony was wonderful and the feast which followed, even better.  We had the finest cicadas (tsitsikas) / goat (katsiki), cooked in the oven and drank many sea bream (tsipoura) / tsipouro (tsipouro.)


Afterwards, I was honoured to be asked to address the wedding guests.  I rose to my feet, took a deep breath and in my very best Greek, announced:  “From the Englishman and the cow (angelatha) / Englishwoman (Anglitha), snails (salingaria) / congratulations (sigalitiria) and prison (filaki) / kisses (filakia) to you all.


It went down very well.  Everyone laughed and applauded!


Paul Dobbie

It really is THAT simple!

Monday, June 6, 2016


In a week that saw the creation of a ‘deconstructed flat white’ (thanks Australia), the calorific #FreakShake (Manchester takes credit for this) and news that holding your fork in the wrong hand could help you lose weight (National Tabloid feature of course), it got us thinking.  Is reinvention the key to success or is it a rather unimaginative attempt to ‘con’ the masses into buying into a new concept or product?


The ‘Flat White’ formally known as a white coffee, now being sold across the other side of the world in three separate shots on a decorative platter – coffee, frothy milk and hot water.  Is this a clever marketing idea or just an attempt at glamorising a cup of coffee?  In our mind why have three cups to wash up, when you can have a cuppa out of one!


In this line of work, simplicity is key.  Simple, direct message that are concise, factual and clearly understood.  This of course does not dismiss the importance of creativity BUT should minimise the risk of messages, products, services and campaigns being misunderstood.


It is exciting and challenging for PR professionals and marketers to come up with those ‘stand out’ campaigns, but this often means having to take calculated risk.  Usually the biggest problem with campaigns is not getting enough attention, but once in a while some bright spark makes a miscalculation that leads to some unwanted attention.  Yet surely negative attention is still attention?!  I am not sure the creators of these campaigns would agree.


Bud Light – Somehow Bud Light got away with using the slogan ‘Up for whatever’ seemingly unnoticed until last year.  The tag line was created to inspire feelings of spontaneity and carefree living, but when coupled with the bottle’s thoughtless tag line “the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the end of the night” it sparked a huge outcry and criticism on social media.  Many condemning the campaign as encouraging the rape culture and promoting reckless drinking.


Taking into account that alcohol is the most common date-rape substance it is baffling how this advertising concept every made it past the boardroom!


BIC – To celebrate National Women’s Day, the South African Division of pen maker BIC launched a campaign which boasted the tag line “Look like a girl, Act like a Lady, Think like a Man, Work like a Boss!”  After a plethora of criticism and social media backlash, BIC put pen to paper, removed the ad and apologised to its customers.


Proof that the ‘Big Guns’ can sometimes get it wrong, in our view the best advice is the KISS principle (well known by PR undergraduates and graduates worldwide!) Keep It Simple Stupid!



David and Kathryn’s 92 club quest – Nearing the end of our adventure.

Thursday, February 25, 2016



It has been just over five months since my last 92 club challenge blog and we are now approaching the home straight.


Just over three years since we visited our first ground on January 1st 2013 – and following last weekend’s long trip down to Exeter City – we have just 3 more games to attend before we will have seen a match at all of the current 92 Premier and Football League Grounds in England (and Wales).


You can view our progress map and details of the games we have seen here:,-3.295898&spn=8.286843,23.181152&dg=feature


So far we have travelled over 25,000 miles and spent somewhere in the region of £18,000 –  if you take travel, tickets, accommodation and food and beer into account! Worth every penny.


The Exeter game was actually our 91st ground as we lost Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town to relegation last season. A friend of mine commented that not many people will have specifically taken a flight into Devon for Exeter City v Newport County on wet Saturday in February but it seemed preferable to a seven hour drive and turned out to be a really good game.


This coming Saturday, it’s back in the motor and off to Blackpool v Bradford City at Bloomfield Road.


We encountered our first postponement earlier this month when our game at Bristol Rovers was called off just a few hours before kick-off. The disappointment didn’t last too long though as a group of Bristol Rovers fans we met at a new Micro pub called the Drapers Arms, took us under their wings, around a few bars and encouraged me to drink my first pint of cider in about 17 years! Surprisingly good actually.


We are looking forward to visiting Bristol again in March to tick off Rovers’ ground, meet up with ‘The Gas Army’ (as the Bristol Rovers fans call themselves) and enjoy another long weekend in what is probably our favourite city so far discovered on this adventure.


Highlights since my last update include: Visiting both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, seeing Sunderland win 4-2 at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on a cold Wednesday night in South Wales (although Newcastle fan Kath disagrees) and managing not to be outed as a Norwich City fan inside Ipswich’s Portman Road – despite the best efforts of a friend of mine who joined us for the day. My footballing hero, Grant Holt, was also there on the bench for Wolves. I’m so happy he didn’t come on and score that day as I don’t think I would have made it out of Suffolk alive.


We are planning to finish our challenge on the 2nd of April 2016, watching  Norwich take on Kathryn’s Newcastle United at Carrow Road. – a relegation battle of epic proportions! It is looking like we are going to be able to get tickets.


No matter the result, it will be a fitting end to what has been a fantastic journey together and one that has seen us meet a host of lovely people and visit different places that we ordinarily would never think to go to.


One of Kathryn’s friends asked her what she gets for completing this challenge. It could be said that this club is possibly more suited to male football supporters as the answer to this question is a club tie! Her friend suggested we were mad and we’d be inclined to agree. However, in the words taken from a common chant from terraces up and down the country, I’d simply add: “That’s the way we like it, we like it, we like it!!”


If you would like to contact us about our 92 club quest, email:



David and Kathryn’s 92 club quest update a year on – and almost three years in

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Just twelve more to go: Dave & Kath

Just twelve more to go: Dave & Kath


It has been just over a year since my last 92 club challenge blog and we are now well on our way to having visited – and seen a match at – all of the current Football League and Premier League grounds. In fact, we expect to do so by the end of this season.


We visited our first ground on January 1st 2013 and when I wrote the last update, in August 2014, we were just about to visit ground number 53. Last weekend’s trip down to Southend United for the home game with Peterborough was our 82nd match and stadium, However, the relegation of Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town has meant that we lost two grounds and are therefore still on 80 visited with 12 to go.


At the end of September we are off to Old Trafford for Manchester United’s game with Sunderland and after visits to Brentford and Mansfield Town in October, we’ll be counting down in single figures.




You can view our progress map here:,-3.295898&spn=8.286843,23.181152&dg=feature


Highlights in the last year included a 4-3 thriller between Bolton and Watford that I can honestly say was the best game of football I’ve ever seen and being invited into the director’s lounge at Dagenham & Redbridge by a group of fans who worked at the local undertakers and who also gave us a lift back to our hotel. Not in a Herse might I add! We saw Manchester City play (not very well) in the Champion’s League, braved Millwall and saw Yeovil Town on a freezing evening between Christmas and New Year when the thermometer plunged to minus 5 just before kick off! We were greeted by club officials at Southampton and given scarves, saw Sunderland avoid relegation with a hard fought 0-0 draw at Arsenal and although not part of the 92 challenge, one of my best ever football experiences was to see my boys, the mighty Canaries, seal promotion to the Premier League at Wembley – what a day that was! We also watched Newcastle stay up the previous day in a pub in Oxhey, so Kath enjoyed the weekend nearly as much as I did!


We have met some real characters and seen some great games along the way and we worked out on our way back from Essex on Saturday, that we have been to nearly every county in the UK on our travels. We’ve also stayed in some cracking places – with some amazing pubs! Honourable mentions go to Derby, Ely, Bristol and the Bushey/Oxhey area near to Watford.


If all goes to plan, we hope to finish our challenge on the 2nd of April 2016, watching my team Norwich City take on Kathryn’s Newcastle United at Carrow Road. It seems like a fitting way to end what will have been an epic journey and it may also mark the first time that we sit in different parts of the ground!! I plan to write to Norwich to see if they can help us out but if anyone out there has a connection at the club or knows someone who can help us to get tickets, your assistance would be much appreciated.


Here’s to a great season!


If you think you might be able to help us or are interested in our quest, drop me an email at:




Old man on a bike

Tuesday, August 11, 2015



On August 30th I will be taking part in the Great North Bike Ride.  A 60 mile trip from Seahouses to Newcastle.

In the process I hope to raise money to help fight pancreatic cancer.

I am doing so in support of a friend’s 15 in 15 challenge – set up after her father lost his brave battle against the disease last year.

Charlotte Woodcock says:  “We wanted to celebrate his life in a way he would have approved and so in that spirit we came up with 15 in 15. It is about taking on 15 different challenges during the year, in celebration of dad and all those challenging cancer but also to raise money to help find a greater survival strategy for those with pancreatic cancer.”

So far the challenge has raised over £17,000 – well past the £15,000 target.

It would be hugely appreciated if you were able to support the cause with sponsorship. Every little helps.

If you can, please follow the link below and click the ‘Donate now’ tab.

Very many thanks.  Your help would be much appreciated.


Paul Dobbie