Friday, June 02, 2006

Big Idea: Happy Meals for Adults

Why should kids have all the fun? Savvy restaurants with a real passion for customer service and a commitment to "eye-poppin valu" are starting to develop meal ranges that pack more than just a calorific punch. Don't be surprised if the next time you order up your favorite meal option, a little plastic Bill Murray figurine, looking a little pissed off, drops in your lap.

2003 arthouse smash Lost In Translation is the first entertainment property to inspire a happy-meal-type tie-in at British chain restaurant Wee Chef. The movie, which follows the hilarious adventures of a mismatched American couple in Tokyo, is highly regarded by the coveted ABC1 demographic who traditionally feel excluded from the Wee Chef offer.

The new LIT meal is being tested in the Spalding, Trowbridge and Kendal areas over the next three months. Early signs are that the idea is striking a chord with upscale buyers, who are being drawn to Wee Chef outlets by the lifesize cardboard cut-outs of Scarlett Johanson's lower lip.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Big Idea: The Grand Metropolitan Sun Pipe

The sun pipe is the modern version of the skylight. It's basically a tube with a mirrored inside surface. You poke one end through the roof and the other end through a ceiling. The ceiling end has a diffuser on it. As the tube is flexible, you can now bring daylight into an area that has no direct access to the sun.

But the sun pipe people need to think big. We really need one over London. Something a couple of miles wide, moored to (say) the Gherkin, would provide guaranteed, full-spectrum daylight to the City, Docklands and much of the West End. It would of course need to be quite a tall pipe, in order to break through the cloud cover.

I'm not entirely sure what effect the Grand Metropolitan Sun Pipe would have on local weather conditions. I imagine that clouds cosying up to the exterior surface of the pipe might well turn to moisture, creating a near-constant run-off down the structure. This valuable resource could be harvested at the base, or even bottled and sold to gullible tourists.

Is this the great engineering project we're looking for, now that the Channel Tunnel is such a rip-snorting success, our high-speed trains thread the countryside and our new generation of NHS IT systems is revolutionising healthcare? Yes! Obviously.