The Best Companies to Work For in the UK

LinkedIn has conducted an analysis to discover which companies people want to work for in the UK, with an annual list of 25 rankings.

The data was analysed from over 24 million LinkedIn members, looking at job seeker reach, job interest, engagement and worker retention. The data found that ASOS was the most desirable company to work for, with the BBC closely following in its place. Several financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Barclays also made the list.

ASOS has been increasing the number of new hires since 2016, as it plans to create 1500 new UK jobs over a three-year period. They shared the news of their ranking on Twitter, stating that they were ‘on cloud nine’ and couldn’t be prouder.

The list is as follows:

  1. Asos
  2. BBC
  3. McKinsey & Company
  4. Richemont
  5. Kering
  6. JPMorgan Chase
  7. Amazon
  8. EY
  9. HSBC
  10. Boston Consulting Group
  11. Selfridges
  12. Apple
  13. Barclays
  14. L’Oréal
  15. Vodafone
  16. Goldman Sachs
  17. Facebook
  18. Lloyds Banking Group
  19. Accenture
  20. Salesforce
  21. Sky
  22. Alphabet
  23. Virgin
  24. Volkswagen
  25. Dell Technologies

It’s no surprise that not many high street companies made the list, after a tough year with many stores facing closure. Online companies such as ASOS and Amazon have replaced the high street, demonstrating their dominance of the market.

The luxury retailers are showing less signs of waning, with Selfridges, Kering and L’Oreal appearing on the list. L’Oreal owns many luxury beauty brands such as Kiehl’s, Yves Saint Laurent, Shu Umera and Proenza Schouler.

The banking and financial industry is still appealing to people seeking work. Four professional services companies have appeared on the list for the first time – McKinsey and Company, Accenture, EY and Boston Consulting.

Apple and Facebook are also featured in the list, with the latter being famous for employee benefits such as on-site gyms, a generous holiday allowance, free meals and classes for employees to learn new skills and hobbies.

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

last minute gift ideas mothers day

It’s happened again, hasn’t it? You’ve forgotten about Mother’s Day. It’s 2 days away, and you didn’t even realise. The good news is that you don’t have to worry! There’s still plenty of time to find the perfect present for your Mum…Unless you’re reading this on Sunday morning… In which case, hang your head in shame and run to the petrol shop for some flowers.

Mother’s day is the day to celebrate your mum for all that she does. From giving the best hugs to cleaning up after you, she really is Wonder Woman, and she deserves so much. Here are some last minute ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts, from small budget to large, we have you covered.

Gifts on a Budget

If you’re strapped for cash, one of the easiest, and sometimes cheapest options, is to go for a card/chocolate/flowers combination of gifts. Tesco, Asda and Morrisons will have an array of bouquets to choose from today and tomorrow – you may even find that they’re reduced on Saturday evening. So, if you’re a risk taker, you might want to chance it tomorrow. When it comes to chocolate, boxes are the way forward. However, if she has a favourite brand, definitely get her a large bar! Some other great ideas for gifts on a budget include prosecco and alcohol.

Luxury Gift Ideas

If you have the cash to splash, why not consider some high-end gifts? Stores such as Debenhams and John Lewis offer beautiful gift sets for a range of skin combinations. Although you may want to stay away from the anti-ageing cream (“n-no you don’t LOOK any older”) you should definitely look at hydrating creams and gels. Brands such as Estee Lauder offer great products, and many come in sets that are sure to make her smile.

Homemade Gift Ideas

If you’re struggling to find the money for a gift, you may find that making your Mother’s Day gift is the way forward. Why not consider the following for your mum this Mother’s Day:

  • Bake a cake
  • Make her a card
  • Cook her dinner
  • Paint her nails
  • Do her make-up

Okay so obviously the last two on this list might be a little difficult if beauty isn’t your thing, but there are plenty of ways to show your mum what she means to you this weekend. If you’re still living at home, and your mum often cooks for you, why not surprise her with breakfast in bed and a nice evening meal? It might not seem like much, but it really is the thought that counts when it comes to days like these. For once, treating your mum the way she treats you will be enough to know how much you appreciate her, no matter what your financial situation.

The Beginners Guide to the Gym

If you’ve joined the gym and you’re still not sure what to do with your membership, you may be looking for something to spur you on. You might be unsure how to use the equipment or just not confident enough to join the seemingly endless brigade of people who look like they have their life together in this intimidating environment. Yes, when you first start out at the gym it can be scary, but knowing a few handy things before you go can really help.

Join a Friendly Gym

Make sure that you join a gym that you’re comfortable with. Have a look around before you commit, and make sure the staff are friendly and willing to help. Pure Gym is a great affordable gym, which offers classes, the latest equipment and is open at convenient times.

What to Wear & Take

Don’t worry about having all the gear and no idea. Just wear comfortable workout clothes – Sports Direct have some good quality brands at a discounted price. You should wear trainers which have already been worn in, to avoid getting blisters. In your kit, you’ll need a bottle of water, a small towel and possibly some headphones to block out the sound of the gym. If you have Spotify, you can find some great workout playlists such as throwback playlists, 90s playlists and rock playlists.

The Different Areas

There are usually three different areas in every gym:

  • The cardio machines – this area includes treadmills, bikes and cross-trainers.
  • The resistance area – This is where you’ll find equipment for strength training, such as barbells, dumbbells, squat racks and benches.
  • The flexible space – This is the bit of the gym where you can do stretches, mat work or train with kettlebells.

Free Session

A lot of gyms will offer a free personal training session when you join. This is a great way to get started in the gym – you can discuss your goals with the trainer, whether that’s to lose weight or gain muscle. The trainer will then come up with an exercise plan which is tailored to you. You can follow this training plan until you get more comfortable with the equipment.

Warm Up

You should always warm up with some stretches before you do a workout. You can also warm up for five minutes or so using the treadmill. The important thing is to get your heart rate up and avoid injury by ensuring your muscles are ready to be exercised.

Create a Plan

A workout plan can help you feel like you know what you’re doing in the gym. It’ll stop you wandering aimlessly from machine to machine, and you can track your progress by increasing reps. You can get inspiration for a workout plan from a magazine, YouTube, Instagram or blogs.

Be Comfortable

If you’re going to be lifting weights, you need to make sure that you’re lifting a weight that you’re comfortable with. If you haven’t done weights before, start light to ensure that your muscles will get used to lifting weights. The weights area can be the most intimidating part of a gym, but you have every right to be there, so stick with it and you’ll be just as confident as the other people using it in no time.

Clean Up

Once you’ve finished with a piece of equipment, clear up after yourself. Re-rack weights and take the plates off the barbells. Wipe down the machines with your towel and your fellow gym users will definitely thank you.

Be Mindful

If you have to visit the gym at busy times, it’s ideal to try and vary your workout so that you’re not spending too long on one piece of equipment. This will mean other members can use the equipment too and there won’t be long queues forming.

Classes

Lots of gyms offer free classes included in your membership. This includes Pilates, Circuits, Spinning and other types of exercise. It’s a good way to get used to working out and the instructor will help you work on your form. You’ll learn exercises which you can take into the gym with you, and you might even make a friend who will become your new gym buddy.

What’s On Netflix – March 2018

If you’re as Netflix obsessed as we are, you’ll be dying to know what releases are arriving at the streaming service in March. You’d better hurry up and stop binge-watching Friends, as there’s lots of new and exciting things to watch this month.

March is the month of International Women’s Day, and this is certainly reflected in their content. The long-awaited season 2 of Jessica Jones will be released, as well as the highly anticipated Netflix original film Annihilation, a sci-fi flick starring Natalie Portman. Drew Barrymore will return to the Santa Clarita Diet, and David Letterman will interview Malala Yousafzai.

Riverdale will return after taking a short break, and a Series of Unfortunate Events will be back for season 2, with Neil Patrick Harris as the evil Count Olaf.

There’s also some new originals such as drama 21 Thunder, documentary Girls Incarcerated, police drama Borderline, Alexa and Katie and supernatural Ghost Wars.

Here is everything coming to Netflix this month, and when:

Thursday 1st March:

  • Designated Survivor season two – Drama with Kiefer Sutherland. New episodes every Thursday.
  • 21 Thunder season one – American football drama (soccer, if you’re from across the pond!)
  • Carrie – 1976 film about a bullied teenager seeking revenge
  • Milk – Biopic starring Sean Penn
  • Downfall – The last days of Hitler
  • Calvary – Comedy about a Catholic priest in the west of Ireland
  • Misery – Kathy Bates traps her favourite author in her house

Friday 2nd March:

  • Girls Incarcerated season one – Documentary following teenage girls in a maximum security juvenile detention centre
  • Flint Town season one – Looking at law enforcement in the USA through the eyes of the Flint Michigan police
  • Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest – The life of the legendary hip-hop outfit

Saturday 3rd March:

  • Whitney: Can I Be Me? – The life of Whitney Houston

Tuesday 4th March:

  • Borderline season one – Scandi crime drama
  • Gad Elmaleh: American Dream – Popular French comedian performing his first English language set

Thursday 8th March:

  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones season two – The dark superhero returns
  • Riverdale season two continues – The drama returns from a short break
  • Ladies First – The story of Deepika Kumari, who became the no.1 archer when she was 18
  • Midnight Special – Sci-fi about a young boy with special gifts

Friday 9th March:

  • Love season three – The last series
  • Nailed It season one – The USA’s potential equivalent to Bake Off
  • My Next Guest Needs No Introduction: Malala Yousafzai – David Letterman interviews Malala Yousafzai
  • The Outsider – Jared Leto stars as an American soldier in Japan

Saturday 10th March:

  • The Jungle Book (live action)

Monday 12th March:

  • Annihilation – A biologist (Natalie Portman) heads to a quarantined zone to save her husband

Tuesday 13th March:

  • Ricky Gervais: Humanity – Gervais’ new stand up tour

Friday 16th March:

  • On My Block season one – Sitcom set in inner Los Angeles
  • Benji – Family-friendly dog flick
  • Take Your Pills – Looking into Adderall addiction in the US
  • Wild Wild Country season one – A documentary season looking into a cult in Oregon in the 1980s

Tuesday 20th March:

  • The Standups season two – Amateur comics take to the stage
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Blockbuster film returns to Netflix

Friday 23rd March:

  • The Mechanism season one – Brazilian series about corruption in the oil industry
  • The Defiant Ones – How Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine created the Beats empire
  • Alexa & Katie season one – Comedy about two best friends fighting cancer
  • Santa Clarita Diet season two – Drew Barrymore is back in this comedy
  • Game Over, Man! – Comedic action film

Sunday 25th March:

  • The Man from UNCLE – Henry Cavill stars as a CIA agent working to stop a mysterious organisation

Tuesday 27th March:

  • Prisoners – Drama about child abduction starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal

Friday 30th March:

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events season two – Neil Patrick Harris is back for the second series
  • Rapture season one – A documentary looking at hip-hop’s impact on culture around the world
  • The Other Guys – Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell star in this funny flick about fighting bad guys
  • Captain America: Civil War – Instalment of the Captain America franchise
  • Happy Anniversary – Indie rom-com about a couple breaking up

Saturday 31st March:

  • Nightcrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a journalist seeking danger in order to make his name
  • Stepbrothers – Iconic silly comedy
  • Labyrinth – Musical fantasy film from David Bowie
  • Whiplash – Miles Teller and JK Simmons star in this dramatic film
  • Kramer Vs Kramer – Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman star as a couple getting divorced
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Cara Delivingne features in this sci-fi action flick
  • God’s Own Country – A Yorkshire Farmer and Romanian Migrant embark on an intense relationship
  • Churchill – Brian Cox stars as the Prime Minister
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Ryan Reynolds stars in this action packed comedy as Samuel L Jackson’s bodyguard

So, what are you excited to watch on Netflix this March? We’ve added a few things to our watch list.

Inside Nando’s: Former employee reveals insider secrets

Insider secrets you need to know about Nando's

Nando’s has become a staple food chain on the high street, pretty much loved by everyone, despite the fact it’s primarily chicken you can order in there.

Nando’s is great for fast food that’s delicious, relatively healthy and is perfect for big groups or even small gatherings.

Getting insider information on our favourite food places is becoming more and more popular, and thankfully a former employee at a busy London branch revealed some insider tips and tricks to the Leicester Mercury that we thought we’d pass on to you.

Frozen dishes

It’s hard to tell, but some of the dishes you can order in Nando’s are frozen. Macho peas are frozen and then thawed and portioned at the beginning of each day.

Other items that have come in frozen to include vegetarian burgers, pitta bread and cakes too.

McCain chips

The chips you order in Nando’s might be familiar for some, they come from McCain, so chances are you could have some sitting in your freezer.

The lowdown on chicken

The former employee states, that despite what many people think the chicken from Nando’s is not organic.

What you might be surprised to learn is that it comes to the restaurants already marinated too. Before the chefs will cook it on the grill it’s already part-cooked in a combi oven and stored in a hot drawer. When you’ve placed your order it’ll then go on the grill, and that’s why it’s often considered fast food.

When ordering chicken, as well, always ask for a breast, because you get more for your money with this cut of meat.

Avoid the olives

The olives are one of the more expensive items on the menu, simply because the staff are told to only add one layer to the ramekins they’re served it. It means you only end up with roughly eight olives, which are bulked with pieces of garlic.

The staff won’t thank you for ordering livers

We can’t imagine many people do actually order them, but for those who do order the livers from the menu, the staff aren’t too best pleased when you do, simply because they stink out the kitchen when they’re cooked.

The secret menu isn’t so secret anymore

We’re always shocked to learn about secret menus at our favourite fast food places, but there’s nothing really secret in Nando’s anymore. If you still aren’t aware of them, they include:

Chicken with the Peri tamer sauce – which is a BBQ sauce that is available on the kid’s menu.

Make your mask and garlic bread cheesy.

Substitute your normal burger bun for two slices of garlic bread instead.

Staff favourites

You’re treated to a staff meal every five hours when you work at Nando’s, so of course, they’ve worked their way through the menus numerous times.

This means they’re often ordering things you won’t actually see on the menu, such as a Nando’s burrito, which combines the chicken wrap and you fill it with a portion of spicy rice.

Also, try one of the salads and top it with grilled chicken, halloumi and pineapple. Don’t forget lashings of the delicious sauces too.

A simple swap

Even though they’re allowed to eat from the Nando’s menu, as you can imagine it can get boring after a while. So we were surprised to learn that they’ll sometimes do a food swap with other takeaways, and have even swapped chickens for large pizzas.

Customers do fake the heat

Nando’s hot sauce is pretty hot, so we understand that it’s not to everyone’s tastes. But in a bid to look more macho, lads have been known to ask for a hot sticker to be placed in their bun when they’ve really ordered a lemon and herb. There’s no need for that boys, we’re pretty sure it’d be hard for most people to finish a whole burger in the hot sauce without getting a bit of a sweat on.

The pros and cons of a late shift

Whilst the late shift usually results in drunk people, or people trying to mix brought-in alcohol with their unlimited refills, it does also have its perks. If food is going out of date that day, you can take it home with you.

People do steal things

Despite the fact that you can bottles of sauces now in the supermarkets, people still steal them. And the need for a chicken stick souvenir is something that people can’t resist either, which is annoying for the staff at Nando’s because they have to be specially ordered in.

They’re on to you

You might think that you’re a master criminal when you order water but then fill it up with something fizzy, the reality is the staff are probably on to you and will just a bring a bill for it to your table. Save yourself the embarrassment and just order it in the first place.

There is such a thing as a Nando’s Black Card

We’ve all heard the rumours, and they are in fact true, there is such a thing as a Nando’s Black Card, but they’re incredibly rare. We can’t imagine there are any regular Joe’s walking around with one of these things, but Reggie Yates and Vernon Kay have one.

Kentucky Fried Chaos: Chicken Shortage Closes KFC

Kentucky Fried Chaos Chicken Shortage Closes KFC

Fans of fried chicken are facing continued disappointment as the fast-food chain KFC closes stores across the UK. Unbelievably, the majority of around 900 stores have run out of chicken over the last few days. Without the main ingredient on the menu, KFC branches have had no choice but to shut their shops. The lack of chicken supplies means that many KFC stores are out of action until further notice. KFC used humour to lighten the mood when explaining the problem: “The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants.” The brand reassures customers that “teams are working round the cluck” to get KFC stores up and running.

Why is KFC Closed?

Food distribution specialists Bidvest Logistics were responsible for KFC chicken deliveries until a week ago. This is when the new delivery contract winners DHL took over. In this short amount of time, DHL’s inability to supply the chicken has led to a shortage. Not only are customers unhappy, but the store closures must be costing the KFC business millions of pounds. DHL states that the delays and incomplete deliveries are due to operational issues. The company is working to fix these problems as quickly as possible. While Bidvest has six warehouses, DHL only has one, which means they are probably unable to cope with the demand.

When Will KFC Open?

Almost 600 stores across the UK were shut by Monday night after delivery failures. As of lunchtime this afternoon, around 400 stores are open again. However, even the stores which are open may have to reduce their menu and opening hours. According to a KFC spokesperson, stores will continue to re-open over the next few days. The disruption is likely to impact stores for the rest of the week, as DHL clears the backlog of deliveries. This backlog began after an accident on the M6 last week initially held up deliveries. Issues with DHL’s new IT system then made the situation worse. Click here to check if your local KFC is now open.

What About KFC Staff?

The public statements from KFC emphasize that the restaurant staff are working hard to keep things moving. The spokesperson for the chain said that stores would reassign staff to alternative tasks or other restaurants where possible. While workers with salaries will be paid as normal, those on zero-hours contracts are not so lucky. KFC is encouraging workers to use their holidays to cover the closures. This is unfair since the staff are not responsible for the logistical problems preventing them from working. Affected KFC workers should get in touch with the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union for advice on the grievance procedure.

Scammers Target Shoppers at Several Major Retailers

Scammers Target Shoppers at Several Major Retailers Aldi Argos ASOS Sainsbury's

Customers who shop at chain-store and online retailers such as Argos and ASOS are falling victim to fraudsters. These scammers are renewing their efforts to trick innocent shoppers. By pretending to be the retailer themselves, they contact customers with sometimes convincing messages. The customer might end up providing their bank details and logins without realizing that it is a scam. These criminals will then use the personal details they collect to steal money and commit identity fraud. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, read about the following common scams you should avoid falling for.

Aldi

The UK Mystery Shopper website offers rewards for shoppers who review stores for them. An advert on this website claims that Aldi is requesting mystery shoppers. Those selected could receive a £100 gift card for the store. To receive the gift card, you would have to fill out your details on a third party website. This is where things get fishy. A legitimate business such as Aldi would never ask customers to do this. For future reference, Aldi does not provide gift cards in the UK either. A spokesperson for UK Mystery Shopper confirmed that this was not a genuine business opportunity. The website has never claimed an association with Aldi. If you see this advert or a similar one, don’t let the temptation of a prize fool you into giving away personal details.

Argos

Fraudsters are sending fake text messages to Argos customers regarding deliveries and refunds. The message might say that a package is waiting, or they can get a refund for their Argos Card. These messages can sometimes appear in threads of genuine messages from Argos. This is why customers might believe that the scammer is really Argos. The messages will include a link the customer has to click. The link could take you to a website advertising cheap iPhones, which encourages you to enter your bank details. Even if you don’t fill anything in, clicking the link can allow the scammers to access information through browser cookies. Argos is aware of the scam and encourages customers to ignore any messages with spelling errors, which won’t be from Argos.

ASOS

The recent ASOS scam didn’t actually con people out of money or personal information. However, it involved fraudulent Instagram accounts claiming to be ASOS. Several accounts (without the blue verification tick) claimed to be giving away £100 ASOS gift cards to a certain number of followers. Thousands of people fell for it, following and tagging the accounts as requested to try to win a gift card. All they were doing was giving these fake accounts more exposure to keep gaining followers. By the time ASOS confirmed the accounts were fake, they had all become different accounts with new names. The fact that over 300,000 people believed the scam is worrying, even if there were no serious consequences. Never trust an unverified brand account.

Sainsbury’s

Another scam involving free gift cards is targeting shoppers at Sainsbury’s. An e-mail pretending to be from Sainsbury’s claims the customer is entitled to vouchers after being overcharged for a previous shop. Customers must click a link to claim the compensation gift card. As you might be able to guess, the link takes them to a third party website asking for personal details. The e-mails use the customer’s first name, which makes customers believe the message is genuine. The e-mails claim to be from Mia Chadwick in Customer Services. Sainsbury’s has confirmed that this is a scam, and they are not sending e-mails offering gift cards. Customers are advised to be wary and look out for poor-quality spelling, grammar, images, and graphic design in e-mails.

How to Report Scammers

If you experience a scam similar to any of these, contact the retailer using verified methods. Avoid clicking on any links in a suspicious e-mail. The retailer can then warn its customers about the scam, especially if they get a lot of reports. Since retailers have nothing to do with the scammers, they can’t investigate themselves. You must report the scam to Action Fraud instead. This is the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in the UK. They work with the government and police to investigate and prevent scams like those mentioned above. You can fill out an online report for phishing e-mails or texts at any time. If you have lost money as a result of the scam, contact Action Fraud by phone immediately.

A Guide To Christmas Eve Boxes

In recent years, Christmas eve boxes have become more popular and have started to become more of a tradition. The idea is that you buy a box and fill it with festive goodies for a loved one to open on the night before Christmas. Many people fill them with things such as pyjamas, bath bombs, face masks, chocolate and Christmas movies! Here’s a selection of Christmas eve boxes that are available at your local shops and supermarkets.

children opening a christmas eve box

Asda

Asda has a selection of different types of gift boxes that aren’t necessarily Christmas Eve boxes but would definitely be perfect to use. These boxes come in different sizes and different patterns with one option saying ‘ho ho ho’ all over it and another saying ‘Merry Christmas’. They also range in price but the most boxes cost £2 or £3 which is one of the cheaper options allowing you to spend more on the contents of the box.

Matalan

Similar to Asda, Matalan also has a few options for boxes such as the 6 pack of novelty Christmas treat boxes which you can use to give small individual gifts. Their prices range from £3 to £4 which is great as you can keep the costs down whilst still being able to buy the gifts you would like.

John Lewis

John Lewis’s boxes are a little more expensive with the price tag being £12.50 for their version of the boxes and some of their alternatives being £20 Santa sacks. This, of course, is fine if you have some money to spur after buying all the present you need but it is a bit extortionate for the average Christmas eve box.

Mothercare

Mothercare has a personalised Christmas eve box available for £23 which at first seems a little expensive but as it is made out of wood and has your child or loved one’s name carved on the front you will be able to reuse it every year which in turn will probably save you some money.

Gift Ideas

Now that you know where to buy your Christmas box you may be left a little lost with what to fill it with. It all depends on who you are buying it for but here is a little list of ideas for different people.

For husband/boyfriend/dad

If you are a little lost for things to buy the man in your life you could opt with a shaving kit, face wash, his favourite chocolate, novelty or joke gifts, a small game or a tiny version of his favourite alcohol – I’m sure he will be more than pleased with the box and all the little presents inside. Keep it personal if he likes a specific TV program or band try and include some gifts associated with them.

For wife/girlfriend/mum

Shopping for a girl can at times be a little difficult but you can always play it safe by buying her things that she can pamper herself with such as bath bombs, face masks, nail varnish, body lotion, chocolate or hot chocolate, her favourite snack or her favourite alcohol. If you are buying her products for her skin or to go in the bath make sure you find out if she is allergic to anything – you don’t want a nightmare before Christmas.

For little ones

If you are buying your little one a box for Christmas Eve you could be extremely creative and include things like carrots, biscuits and your drink of choice for them to leave out for Father Christmas and his reindeers. You could also take a more traditional approach and include a Christmas movie for you to watch before bedtime, some Christmassy pyjamas for them to get all snuggly with and hot chocolate or some toys as an early surprise.

Battle of the Monsters: Moz vs Mr Underbed

John Lewis Moz the Monster Chris Riddell Mr Underbed

Since 2007, the department store chain John Lewis became known for its Christmas adverts. This year, the anticipated Christmas 2017 advert launched on TV on 10th November and features the story of a boy and the big fluffy monster under his bed. Publisher Nosy Crow produced a hardback picture book in conjunction with the advert’s release, titled Moz the Monster. In addition to the book, which is only available to buy from John Lewis, there is a whole range of Moz the Monster gifts.

However, not everything is warm and fuzzy for John Lewis. Last week illustrator Chris Riddell commented on the similarities between Moz and his own creation, Mr Underbed. Andersen Press published Riddell’s first illustrated children’s book Mr Underbed in 1986 and Riddell re-illustrated the book in 2009, years ahead of John Lewis’s Christmas advert creation. While Riddell’s story definitely wasn’t the first to include imaginary monsters under children’s beds, Moz does bear a physical resemblance to Mr Underbed

Plagiarism Controversy

Some general criticisms towards the John Lewis advert claim that it isn’t “Christmassy” enough. Profiting off a design influenced by somebody else’s uncredited work is definitely not in the Christmas spirit, either. In response to this controversy, John Lewis told HuffPost UK that they stood by Moz as an original character with a completely different story. Yet, Chris Riddell’s Twitter video comparing the two stories highlights the obvious similarities in imagery and plot.

Compare Moz vs Mr Underbed and it’s undeniable. Both monsters are large, hairy, and blue with bulbous noses. They even have the same triangular fang teeth, one at each end of the mouth, though pointing in opposite directions. Both monsters rock the young boy’s bed with their snoring but eventually become friends with the child. Surely it’s a bit too close to be just a coincidence? Either way, Chris Riddell wrote for The Guardian that he won’t be pursuing legal action against John Lewis. He just hopes that the media attention will encourage companies and agencies to responsibly credit the creative ideas that influence their own content.

“Battle of the Monsters”

Since the story was picked up by several media outlets, any available copies of Mr Underbed sold out overnight. While the Nosy Crow Moz the Monster Christmas Book is exclusive to the John Lewis website and stores, various book retailers are already looking to stock more copies of Mr Underbed. Andersen Press ordered a reprint of Riddell’s book which should be available on 29th November. Check with your local bookstores or bookseller websites such as Amazon to purchase a copy from next week.

In light of the public response in favour of Mr Underbed, Andersen Press announced the “Battle of the Monsters”. The publisher intends to settle the issue of Moz vs Mr Underbed via the Christmas book charts. To help Mr Underbed come out on top in sales, Andersen Press will launch its own campaign. Members of the public can design a monster of their own and the winning creation will be illustrated by Riddell. Keep an eye on the #MrUnderbed hashtag on Twitter for updates!

 

IKEA gives customers what they want

IKEA gives customers what they want

Swedish retail giant IKEA has been in the news lately for a few reasons. One of them is the discussion of exciting changes to their existing business model. IKEA might have been slow to move into online sales and home delivery, but responding to the lifestyles and needs of their customers is one of the company’s main aims. So, in order to meet the demand for online availability and affordable delivery costs, IKEA will soon be partnering with third-party websites such as Amazon to sell their furniture online.

The chief executive of Inter Ikea, Torbjörn Lööf, spoke to the Financial Times in October regarding this future move.  Lööf did not actually specify any online retailers IKEA is looking to work with or a particular timeline for this development. Still, the chief executive did emphasize that it is “the biggest development in how consumers meet IKEA since the concept was founded.”

 

Changing the Game

IKEA gives customers what they want This is major news for people who might not live within travelling distance of one of the 300+ warehouse stores IKEA currently has located across 41 countries. With its clean lines and DIY assembly, IKEA furniture revolutionized modern living for many people across the world. It is about time they embraced the digital age and became even more widely accessible.

In an effort to boost in-store sales, IKEA is also opening new physical stores in the UK. This will bring the total number of stores in the UK up to 22 by the end of 2018. However, this doesn’t address the massive turn-offs for potential IKEA customers. Who really wants to wander around the maze of a huge warehouse, then transport their chosen item back home and struggle to build it by themselves?

 

Goodbye DIY

Another piece of IKEA’s recent buzzworthy news could be the answer to these issues. In September, the furniture retailer made headlines for purchasing the US start-up company TaskRabbit. Since it was founded in 2008 TaskRabbit has raised an admirable $50 million, and it employs around 60,000 “Taskers” who offer to complete tasks for customers. Tasks can include things like picking up shopping, walking the dog, or assembling furniture – which is where IKEA spotted an opportunity.

IKEA gives customers what they wantServices previously provided by IKEA were intended more for larger scale furniture installations, often with a steep price tag. Now with TaskRabbit, IKEA customers can buy their furniture from IKEA, then for as little as £20 someone will come and assemble it for them with guaranteed workmanship. Cut out some of that time-wasting stress by having a “Tasker” build your furniture for you. Or cut it out completely and order online to have the flat-pack furniture delivered to you as well!

At the moment TaskRabbit is only available in 39 cities across the US and in London, England. IKEA’s takeover of the company is a bold move towards satisfying the demand of IKEA customers, which suggests that the service will be expanding in the future. IKEA will likely be looking to cover more of its store location areas as well as popular delivery areas.

 

Everyday Adverts

Lastly, IKEA has been provoking confused conversation for YouTube viewers. The newest addition to the “Where Life Happens” campaign for IKEA by agency Åkestam Holst is a series of pre-roll advertisements that play before YouTube videos. Most people click to skip to the actual video as soon as the option appears, meaning that brands need to grab your attention enough in those vital few seconds to make you keep watching their advert.

IKEA gives customers what they wantFlipping the script, IKEA’s new adverts are mundane situations that run for way longer than usual. In a reverse psychology twist, two teenagers awkwardly trying to make out tell you that you can skip to the video now and leave them to it. A bored teen washing the dishes asks if you don’t have something better to do. This tongue-in-cheek engagement with the audience sparks a stubborn curiosity. Even though nothing eventful is happening, viewers might actually try to watch for the full 5-8 minutes.

On one hand, these long adverts get people talking about how pointless they seem. On the other hand, they actually encourage viewers to keep watching in a subtle way. Bustle noted that IKEA customers enjoyed an ASMR advert released a few months ago, and the everyday sounds in these new adverts prompt a similar innate response.  Either way, they are definitely memorable. Watch the features here if you think you can make it through all of them!