BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Dianne Thompson, CEO, Camelot

BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Dianne Thompson, CEO, Camelot - 'Welcome to the graveyard shift,' said Dianne Thompson, rising to address the Economist marketing directors' summit, shortly before 5pm. In that respect she didn't disappoint. Well coiffed and in

by KHALID AZIZ, chairman of spoken communications specialists, TheAziz Corporation - www.azizcorp.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'Welcome to the graveyard shift,' said Dianne Thompson, rising to address the Economist marketing directors' summit, shortly before 5pm. In that respect she didn't disappoint. Well coiffed and in a dusky pink Chanelesque two-piece suit, Thompson looked the part of someone who has journeyed from Manchester Polytechnic lecturer to Camelot CEO. But her speaking skills were still back in the poly.

After a long day of listening to earnest stuff about marketing, delegates wanted something uplifting and entertaining. Instead, they got a lecture in A-level marketing, including a reminder that it was all about 'product, price, place and time'. I could almost hear the audience muttering 'Puh-lease!'.

There was the odd useful statistic - only 13% of the CEOs of the Top 100 firms have a marketing background, and the marketing director's average tenure is 18 months. More interesting were her comments on Camelot and the lottery, including her now infamous: 'You'd be lucky to win a tenner.'

'It is a product that doesn't deliver,' she bravely admitted. 'Twenty-nine million people play the lottery every week - 28 million end up losers.' To change culture, said Thompson, you have to change behaviours. Her list of required behaviours included 'passion' - clearly not her strongest suit: by the time she finished, two-thirds of the audience remained. Bad luck, Dianne - another flutter next week?

Key moment: Saturday Night Lottery is the BBC's most popular light entertainment show - seven million tune in.

Key lesson: Don't talk about passion unless you are prepared to be passionate.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?: Foot in mouth.

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