The Newcastle Evening Chronicle reports that Thomas Webb opened up a Hovis loaf to make himself some toast, only to find a £10 note nestling between the slices. Apparently the jubilant Geordie initially assumed that his friends were playing a practical joke on him (we wish we had mates like that), but it turns out that it was there all along. Which leads us to wonder whether Hovis has come up with a cunning new way to boost demand for its products…
Webb himself appears to have been a bit bemused by the whole thing. ‘I just don’t understand how it could have happened,’ he told the paper. ‘You would have thought they were made by machine, so I have no idea how it got there.’ Not that he let that stop him spending it before sundown, of course. Perhaps he was just worried that someone might ask for it back – although when his local Tesco (where he bought the lucky loaf) was informed, it merely congratulated him on his unearned dough.
The thing is, people are pretty sceptical these days about stories that seem too good to be true. Rumours abound that the internet campaign that ‘persuaded’ Cadburys to bring back Wispa was actually provoked by some clever marketeers, while Private Eye reckons Britvic are currently doing a similar thing to drum up sales for Tango. In these days of clever guerrilla marketing, it’s hard to know what’s accidental and what’s not. Perhaps Hovis has taken a leaf out of Willy Wonka’s book and decided to give away the occasional surprise in its products (albeit a tenner wouldn’t be quite as much fun as a Golden Ticket) as a way of boosting sales?
The alternative, of course, is that this is some kind of clever Government ruse to pump money into the real economy – after all, inserting random tenners into foodstuffs is a lot more straightforward (and easier to spell) than quantitative easing. Let’s face it: after some of the things central bankers have done in the last year, this kind of ‘helicopter money’ approach doesn’t actually seem that far-fetched any more. Over in Taiwan, the government has been handing out shopping vouchers to every citizen to try and stimulate the economy – is bread-based bread the next logical step?
In today's bulletin:
Darling Budget boost as economists see green shoots
St Albans clobbered by the taxman
Brown mulls £1bn tech Nesta egg
Using your loaf to woo customers
Foundation looks to boost skills of charity bosses