Media Bitch

LOOSE TALK ...

Lads' mags came in for a battering when shadow schools secretary Michael Gove said the Tories would be asking their publishers "what they think they're doing". Gove accused titles such as Zoo and Nuts of promoting "selfish irresponsibility".

Phil Hilton's response, (The Independent, 5 August) as editorial director at ShortList, made good reading. His family, he explained, tends to stay away from policy-making. In return, he'd ideally "like politicians to stay out of family life".

And could there be any truth in the rumour that The Independent's newish managing director, Simon Kelner, treated a group of Indy agency sales ladies to drinks at Soho House, only to later offer £100 to the first "lady" to strip and jump into the pool? He allegedly promptly paid out to two of the girls.

Someone who could have done with some autocue help last week: ITV boss Michael Grade (pictured), who was ready to defend his turnaround plan in the face of falling half-year profits, when he appeared on Channel 4 News. When Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked him to name ITV successes that do not include Simon Cowell, Grade cited Dancing on Ice, Benidorm, and ... oh dear ... Britain's Got Talent.

ON A LITTLE BUDGET? TRY A LITTLE CHEF

No wonder Little Chef chief executive Ian Pegler (pictured right) looks so happy. As the effects of the credit crunch worsen, hordes of Brits are opting for the Great British Summer Holiday.

Goodbye airport queues, lost luggage and sunburn - hello bucket and spade, cloudy spells, and motorways. All of this is good news for roadside diner Little Chef.

Its A-road and motorway eateries are apparently seeing rapid growth: turnover has been up an average of 8% year on year over the summer holiday weeks, as Brits swap poolside sangria for roadside sausages.

To ride the summertime wave, Little Chef has been doing a number of reader offer promotions with the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star, and is working on a strategy for a potential advertising campaign based around a 50th anniversary theme.

Pegler can hardly contain his excitement: "Our new menu is really working. It's Hello Yellow Brick A-Road," he enthused. It seems every cloud has a silver lining.

GRAMMY TRIP ON THE CARDS FOR AGENCIES

Agency bods hoping for a slightly more glamorous holiday should keep an eye on the office postbag.

Between now and November, Smooth Radio will be selecting seven lucky guests from 50 valued agency contacts to accompany GMG Radio group sales director Julian Carter and Smooth brand controller Rupert Garrett to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Lucky Mark Middlemas, managing partner integration at Universal McCann, has already been picked, following a Heads of Radio dinner hosted by GMG Radio group last month. Postcards (see Out and About, right) will land on desks soon, inviting you to find out how to bag a place.

WHY YAHOO NEEDS TO SPELL IT OUT - AGAIN

After one misspelling too many, Yahoo-owned social bookmarking site Del.icio.us has done the sensible thing and rebranded.

The new name, Delicious.com, isn't a massive departure from the original. By its own admission, the business had seen "a zillion different confusions" as online browsers misspelt the original url, and ended up elsewhere - perhaps browsing recipes at deliciousmagazine.co.uk.

The no-shit Sherlock press release of the week followed from domain-name marketplace Sedo. It enlightened us that "having a confusing and inaccessible domain name is bad news for a web-based company". One wonders why an internet start-up, owned by Yahoo and boasting an extensive band of online engineers, didn't think of this sooner.

GREAT VIRAL ... NISSAN'S WACKY RACES, blog.spannerleague.com

Most viral campaigns drive people, predictably, to a traditional micro-site. Car Games 2, for Nissan's new Qashqai model, marks a big brand taking viral content into users' own environments. Fans follow the weird and wacky "Spanner League" as its teams attempt to recreate extreme, skateboard-like stunts in Qashqai cars. By TBWA, OMD and Go Viral.

OUT & ABOUT

- Radio days: postcards being sent to media agencies ahead of Smooth's Grammy Awards trip

- Field day: Dennis Publishing staff play space hopper football at the company's second annual Sports Day

- Warm welcome: when Vizeum last week moved offices to Whitfield Street, London, JCDecaux put up a message on a local PrimeTime LED screen

- E-mail pictures to hayley.pinkerfield@haymarket.com.

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