31 December 2013

Sir Norman Wrassle's New Year Message to the Nation

(Extracted from Sir Norman Wrassle’s address to the Westhoughton Ladies' Circle New Year's Eve Luncheon 2013)

Sir Norman Wrassle, TMB chairman

Let me begin by saying what a remarkable year this has been for tripe. Tripe sales continued to decline but at the slowest rate since 1971.

Looking back through this year’s diary I see tripe landmarks almost every month, sometimes overshadowed by events on the national stage, but nevertheless of great importance in the world of tripe

In January we welcomed Mr Martin McEvoy as our first honorary president - not without opposition in some quarters as Martin hails from the other side of the Pennines.  But this is 2012. We must move with the times and embrace all sections of the community, no matter how geographically challenged they may be.

Traces of horsetripe were found in tripe ready meals in some parts of the country, a scandal which was exposed by the bravery of Sandy, a three year old Jack Russell terrier who is sadly no longer with us.

In February, I had to announce that, due to the state of the economy, tripe salesmen would not be paid any bonuses regardless of how much tripe they were able to sell.  I interrupted my fact-finding trip to the Caribbean to deliver this news personally to the affected staff.

My off-the-cuff remarks during an interview with Mr Elliot Webb on BBC Radio Hereford in March were grossly misinterpreted.  It is not, and never has been, the case that tripe is a vegetarian food and I am happy to reiterate that point now. 

At the end of a difficult month, I had to defend the Board’s decision to diversify into book publishing. Angry tripe retailers accused the Board of having ‘lost touch’, something I wholeheartedly refute. Tripe is our core business and will continue to be. But this does not mean we cannot explore other areas such as branded sportswear and fragrances for the home and car.

In April, as well as publishing our second book, ‘The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock’, we also launched our spring tripe campaign, hammering home the message that tripe is not just for dogs and the over 85’s -  a message that reverberated from Blackburn to Burnley!

The versatility of our product was demonstrated yet again in May, when Edinburgh University student Jocelyn Mather produced her tripe handbag as part of her Fashion and Tripe Studies course. As I speak, Lady Cheryl has yet to open her birthday presents, but I am anticipating even now the look on her face when she opens that one in particular.

For far too long, the Tripe Marketing Board has had to endure the association of our fine product with something that is of poor or inferior quality.  This year, we have decided it is time to fight back, and we used the occasion of the 67th St Annes Film Festival to launch our new Media Monitoring Unit, tasked with scouring the media to ensure that negative references to tripe are always challenged.

This quickly paid dividends when Goole MP, Andrew Percy used the phrase “utter tripe” to describe a speech by a fellow MP.  Mr Percy graciously undertook the Tripe Taste Challenge and ate a bowl of tripe inMorrisons, pronouncing it entirely edible.

June was also the month that tripe sales turned a corner and the rate of decrease of tripe consumption was the lowest ever recorded.

In July I was persuaded that the Tripe Marketing Board Diary, previously only available to bona fide tripe traders, should be made available to the general public. To offset the cost of this venture I entered into negotiations with the Tunisian Date Marketing Board, which necessitated some additional travel.   On my return, I was able to announce the arrangement during an interview with the celebrated BBC Radio Cumbria broadcaster Graham Swindlehurst.  Graham has long been a friend of tripe, and I have relished the opportunities he has afforded the TMB to spread our message to the people of Cumbria during 2013.  Although it would be wrong of me to pre-empt our announcement of the 2013 Heroes of Tripe award next week, perhaps I should just say that there will be many sheep farmers and nuclear power workers who will be highly delighted when they see the results!

August was a difficult month for the Board. It started with a fact-finding visit to Greece where the ‘Choose Tripe’ T-shirt was being widely worn with immense pride, despite their shaky economy.   Back home, our Media Unit challenged Sir Geoffrey Boycott about his use of the word tripe during his Test Match commentary. David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd read my letter out during his Sky commentary, resulting in over 30,000 ‘hits’ on the Board’s website and two books being sold. Unfortunately this coincided with the staff attending a training day on ‘How to handle a media storm’ so were unavailable to deal with the furore.

August was also the month in which we undertook to sponsor Blackpool South football team – our first venture into the world of football sponsorship and one which so far is paying dividends.  Local butchers have reported that they have fielded more questions about tripe than at any time since 1973.   The sponsorship deal was a major event for us and received widespread coverage in the national media and a full page in the Blackpool Gazette.  I can’t tell you how proud I am when I see those lads running out every Sunday in their TMB livery!

Brian Eldridge resigned as our CEO this month, to be replaced by Bryan Atkinson, a welcome replacement and probably the man most responsible for the rapprochement between the Board and the Vegetarian Society.

Although Sir Geoffrey did not retract the statement in which he used tripe in a derogatory manner, we were delighted to welcome David Lloyd as a patron of the TMB and were very pleased to see him wearing a CHOOSE TRIPE T-shirt in his hospital bed. This had absolutely nothing to do with him being voted the `Greatest Lancastrian’ in our November poll, contrary to popular belief.

September was a difficult month for the Board.  When we brought our ‘Summer of Tripe and Sport’ campaign to a close we were perhaps not as well prepared as we should have been, with the result that Wiltshire ran out of tripe. Despite our best efforts and my appeals for housewives to remain calm, it appears that they could not resist ‘panic-buying’, resulting in tripe shelves in supermarkets lying bare for several days before stocks could be replenished.   We were also forced to delay our ‘Free tripe for the over 85’s’ campaign until trading conditions became more stable.

October did not start auspiciously.  The results of a survey in the Daily Mail conducted by internet search engine Ask Jeeves found that nearly three in ten respondents had tried tripe and vowed never to eat it again. In response, we conducted our own survey which found that 98% of people we asked had tried Ask Jeeves once but would never try it again.

As we prepared for the inauguration of World Tripe Day, we introduced three new members to the Board: John Murray, Ken Ward and Phil Lathom, John and Ken are highly respected members of the tripe community whilst Phil is our first vegan board member. 

The first World Tripe Day (24 October 2013) was a huge success, and will henceforth be an important date in the diary for tripe lovers around the globe.  After my own attendance at the event was unfortunately delayed, our honorary president Mr Martin McEvoy proclaimed the launch at 4pm in front of an audience of invited guests, celebrities and tripe lovers from across the country at a meeting at the House of Commons, London.

October was a good month for tripe in the south east; sales doubled when a Kent housewife bought a half pound of honeycomb from her local butcher. This may have had something to do with the fact that during an episode of the Archers aired that month, tripe was mentioned in a positive context. In an exchange with another character, Mr Joe Grundy was asked for a recipe for a book to raise funds for the church organ and responded: "Well how about tripe 'n' vinegar, then?" 

We moved into November with the sobering news of another fall in tripe sales and we were forced – once again – to rebut rumours of a possible merger with British Spleen.  As I have made clear on numerous occasions, tripe will not be merging with any other offal- related marketing boards now or at any time in the future.  We also welcomed Mr Thabo Mophring to the board. South Africa-based Mr Morphring will have special responsibility for international tripe relations. 

Following disappointing second quarter sales, in December we announced that the Tripe Marketing Board would be launching a campaign to find a new canine 'poster boy/girl'.   The contest drew over 60 entries, and over a period of weeks these were carefully sifted through and put to the vote via a series of polls on Twitter.  Our new Tripe Dog 2013 is currently being groomed ready for his first public appearance early next year.

We were naturally disappointed that despite being nominated for an award in twelve different categories at the British Comedy Food Awards, tripe’s only success was as joint winner with spleen of the Funniest Offal award.  We have pledged to redouble our efforts and will be entering the contest next year, bigger and funnier than ever.

But it was not all bad news. Sales of our Tripe Marketing Board 2014 Diary reached double figures despite being described as hilarious in several Amazon reviews.  In response to requests from busy housewives and executives, we have now made the diary available electronically via Kindle – something the Milk Marketing Board never dared to dream of even in its salad days.

Looking back, our biggest success has been in embracing the social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  Our team of retired tripe dressers, volunteers and interns has assembled a new audience for tripe beyond our wildest dreams.  Our private polling via Twitter has shown that people are thinking, talking and writing more tripe on the internet than at any time before.

As we approach 2014, I see nothing but opportunities. We have every chance of improving our tripe sales figures as austerity continues to bite and with MPs on both sides of the House being forced to declare their positions on tripe as another election approaches.

Although I am not allowed to give further details at present, our 2014 campaigns are designed to put beef, pizzas and pop tarts on the back foot.  Together, we can make 2014 the Year of Tripe.

29 December 2013

TMB 2014 Diary Now Available on Kindle

The Tripe Marketing Board has made the historic decision to make its 2014 Diary available electronically in response to numerous requests from busy executives and housewives.

The Diary (which won the coveted Best Meat-Based Diary Award at this year's Diary & Almanac Publisher's annual convention) has been available in printed form since August 2013 but the new move means that Kindle users can download it for just £1.33 - less than the price of a Pop Tart.

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "Unlike other meat-based marketing boards such as British Spleen, we have shown that we are not afraid to move with the times.  Our diary is now available in a form specifically designed for people who don't like books cluttering up their homes or who are too tight to want to spend as much as £5.99 for the printed version."

22 December 2013

Tripe TV Christmas TV Highlights

The Tripe TV digital channel is currently available to around 100 homes in Accrington and Wigan. Christmas TV highlights are listed below.

Christmas Eve

Can Cook Can't Cook

0900-1130 Moss Side Story (1961)
Multi-award-winning musical set in the Moss Side district of Manchester about a tragic love affair between members of two rival gangs — The Bears, who believe a bear would win a fight between a bear and a shark, and The Sharks, who believe the shark would win. Dir Alfred Spatchcock

Will Cook Won't Cook

1500-1600 Tripe
Dr Derek Ripley sails down the Manchester Ship Canal in search of the disappearing tripe shops of Lancashire

1700-1800 The Only Way Is No Sex
Fly on the wall documentary set in a Lancashire monastery

Christmas Day

0900-1500 Tripe Dog Of The Year Part 1

1500-1520 Sir Norman Wrassle’s Christmas Speech

1520-2400 Tripe Dog Of The Year Part 2

2400-0130 The Evil Dad (1981)
Low budget horror film in which Albert Grimshaw and his family rent a holiday cottage in a remote part of the Forest of Bowland for a summer break. Dir Alfred Spatchcock.

Boxing Day

0900-1030 I’m Famous Put A Wasp in My Mouth 

Highlights from this year’s series

1100-1300 Cook Off with Graham Rumsey

1500-1600 Football
Highlights from Blackpool South FC’s season so far including their historic 11-0 victory over The Spirit of Youth.

2000-2100 British Comedy Food of the Year Awards
Highlights from this year's awards

2100-2230 With Ale And Pie (1941)

It's Wakes week in Wigan and two unemployed miners decide to  spend the weekend in Southport. Armed only with a family size meat and potato pie and two bottles of Uncle Bill's Brown Ale, they get on the wrong train at Wigan Wallgate station and end up in Blackpool by mistake, staying in flamboyant Uncle Dickie’s caravan. Dir Alfred Spatchcock

Merry Christmas - and Thank You!

Tripe Marketing Board chairman used his speech at the Chorley Townswomen's Guild Winter Solstice Gala Evening last night to wish tripe lovers across Britain and the world a Merry Christmas, and to thank them for supporting the work of the TMB during 2013.

Sir Norman said: "There are easier meats to sell - there's no doubt whatsoever about that! But the people who like tripe are a special breed.  I want to take this opportunity to wish our board members, tripe retailers, consumers and followers on Twitter and Facebook the very best of Christmases.  I hope they will work with us to ensure that my ambition to make 2014 the Year of Tripe is achieved."

He went on to thank all those who had purchased a copy of the TMB's 2014 Diary and other books published by TMB Books.   "Our Diary will be taking its place on the desks of busy executives all over the country, which is a thought to warm the heart," Sir Norman said. "We're putting tripe back on the butchers' slabs and bookshops of Britain, and I'm sure that very soon there will be more tripe than ever on TV, the radio and in the media."


 The Tripe Marketing Board will later this month be publishing a 'Review of the Year' highlighting the stand-out moments for tripe in 2013.

21 December 2013

Britain's Got Tripe Dogs 2013 - The Tension Mounts

Britain's dog lovers are bracing themselves for what looks like an exciting final of the popular Britain's Got Tripe Dogs 2013 contest, to be held tonight.

With over 60 competitors, the voting during previous rounds has kept the public enthralled over the last four weeks.   This is the first year in which contestants will not be required to dance with a celebrity dog partner, following accusations from animal charities that the process was demeaning to dogs. The final begins at 7pm with voting closing at 9pm.  Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "It's always an exciting moment when we approach the moment of crowning our Tripe Dog, and this year promises to be more exciting than ever!"

Ben - not now taking part
At the moment, the voting is still taking place in the semi-finals, with four cute canines battling it out for the two last places.  In a rare moment of controversy, fourth-placed cross border terrier Ben announced he would be withdrawing from the contest after a disagreement with his agent, leaving his place free for dog number five.

Said Sir Norman: "I was very sad to hear that Ben had decided not to put himself forward in the semis.  I have arranged for him to be sent a pound of the finest Lancashire tripe, by way of consolation."

The award is sponsored by the Tripe Marketing Board's publishing division, TMB Books.  Sir Norman said: "Many tripe lovers - and dogs - remain unaware that the TMB publishes a variety of books - not just our 2014 Diary.  Britain's Got Tripe Dogs helps to raise the profile of TMB Books.  It also lets us get across the very important message that tripe isn't just for humans. Dogs love it!"

18 December 2013

TMB Apologises For Underestimating Interest In Tripe

Tripe Marketing Board chairman, Sir Norman Wrassle, has apologised to potential purchasers after significantly underestimating the popularity of its 2014 Diary.

The apology was made after the TMB sold out completely of its own stock of diaries, leading to disappointment for many who have tried to purchase it directly from the TMB website.

Sir Norman said: "We're big enough to admit when we get things wrong.  This is the first time we have made our diary available outside of the tripe industry and we had no idea how well it would do."

The TMB sold over 50 of its 2013 diary and anticipated sales this year could rise to as high as 70 or 80 once it was made available more widely.  The diary has been described as "Brilliant", "Hugely funny!" and "Hilarious", despite the TMB's attempts to convince people about the seriousness of tripe.  It normally costs £5.99, but is currently available for just £5.35.

"Our own stock of 30 diaries sold out only four months after they were put on sale," Sir Norman said. "It is now only available via Amazon."

He pledged that the TMB would be "learning the lessons" but added that it was still not too late for people to purchase a copy for delivery by Christmas. "We don't want anyone to wake up on Christmas day and find themselves not having their diary, so my advice is that they act fast to avoid disappointment."

16 December 2013

"Mission accomplished" Says TMB Chair

Tripe Marketing Board staff can come home from the south knowing it is mission accomplished, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said during a visit to Shrewsbury today.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Sir Norman met the TMB's Men In White during a flying visit to the south, almost two years before they were due to return to base in Lancashire.  Eating lunch with staff, he said they could be proud that a "basic level of tripe awareness" had been achieved and that they could "come home with their heads held high".

The TMB has been encouraged by private polling suggesting that people in the south now know more about tripe than this time last year.  Asked by reporters if personnel would be able to come home with the message "mission accomplished", Sir Norman, accompanied by Lancashire comedian  Barry Spatchcock, said: "Yes, I think they do."

Although tripe sales had not increased as rapidly as the TMB had hoped, the Men In White had been able to significantly arrest the rate of decline.  "When I look back on the last year, we can be proud that there is more tripe in the press, more tripe on the radio and more tripe on TV.  And thanks to the TMB's Twitter account, there is certainly more tripe on the internet," Sir Norman said.

Sir Norman will be reflecting on the Tripe Marketing Board's achievements over the last year during a speech he is expected to give to the Westhoughton Womens' Institute later this week.  "Tripe's making a comeback - make no mistake!" he said today.

14 December 2013

Tripe Marketing Board To Review Polling Strategy

The Tripe Marketing Board is planning a review of its public opinion surveys and has temporarily suspended its contract with Wakefield-based MSL Polls.

The review follows accusations in Offal Monthly that the polls were merely thinly-disguised attempts to promote the TMB's books and that the results did not properly reflect the public's view of tripe.

Recent polls had indicated that almost half of respondents felt 'more Lancastrian' than they did 12 months ago, that tripe was Britain's favourite comedy foodstuff and that 75% of people thought the TMB's strategy of using humour to promote its product was 'sensible'.

Recent polling information (Source: MSL Polls Ltd).
TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "These surveys provide us with valuable intelligence which helps determine our marketing strategy over the months ahead. It's ridiculous to suggest we do them just to flog a few books."

Sir Norman pointed to the results of a recent poll of non-tripe eaters as an example of how the TMB used the results to fashion its advertising campaigns.

"Too many people think tripe is something their grandparents ate. They tell us they are put off by its smell, taste, appearance and texture but apart from that they have nothing against it. We will be redoubling our efforts to get them to give tripe a try," he said.

13 December 2013

Tripe Pipped By Bananas In Shock Awards Result

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has apologised to the jury of the British Comedy Food Awards after arriving late and using his nomination speech to condemn vegans as "humourless, skinny and pasty-faced" at last night's award ceremony.

He also accused 'Big Veganism' of manipulating the results after bananas pulled off a surprise win to scoop the coveted 'King of Comedy Food 2013' award at the Assembly Rooms in Wigan.  Tripe was pushed into second place - despite extensive polling by the TMB before the event which appeared to show that tripe would be a clear winner.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Speaking from his Lytham home this morning, Sir Norman said: "Everyone knows tripe is the ultimate comedy foodstuff. All our private polling suggested we were on course to win last night, so I hope I can be excused for getting a bit over-emotional.  I have nothing against bananas and am pleased for them for making a comeback after many years languishing on the comedy sidelines."

Tripe was nominated for an award in twelve different categories but its only success was as joint winner with spleen of the Funniest Offal award.

"I have said in the past that tripe is the Jimmy Carr of foods, inspiring laughter and revulsion in equal measure. Now I think it would be more fitting to compare it to David Mitchell."

Sir Norman has also lodged a formal complaint with the award organisers after he was pelted with tofu by a group of militant vegans whilst attempting to enter the hall.

12 December 2013

Tripe Marketing Board 2014 Calendar

We are inviting submissions for our 2014 A3 wall calendar.

You don’t have to be a professional model nor do you have to be cooking or eating tripe in the photo as we have no wish to discriminate against vegetarians and we understand that many people do not like tripe. You could be wearing tripe (as little or as much as you feel comfortable in but please remember we are tripe merchants not porn barons) or using it in one of the many ways in which tripe has proven its versatility over the years-perhaps secured under a bathing cap as a cure for hairloss or as an emergency floor cover. The calendar will be available for purchase before the New Year so you can enjoy it for 365 days! 

Please send your tripe-related photos to steve@tripemarketingboard.co.uk by 5pm Friday 20 December. They must be 300 dpi and at least 1600 pixels across.

11 December 2013

TMB Poll "Bodes Well" For Tripe at Comedy Food Awards

Internal poll results (MSL Polling)
Internal polling by the Tripe Marketing Board suggests tripe may be about to pull off an unexpected victory at this year's British Comedy Food Awards.

Voting on Twitter shows tripe has taken a commanding lead in a poll commissioned by the TMB from industry experts MSL Polling.

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "We've long known the comedy potential of tripe and in fact use it to help promote our product.  But these results are beyond our wildest dreams and spell bad news for sprouts, haggis and cheese strings which have all taken a tumble in the ratings."

The MSL poll - which is still open - also found that 60% of people taking part thought of themselves as 'more Lancastrian' than they did this time last year and that only 8% of respondents were put off buying the TMB's 2014 Diary as a Christmas gift by the fact that it had been described by reviewers as "hilarious". Sir Norman said the poll result bodes well for tripe's chances at tomorrow's awards  with kippers, bananas and prunes all faring badly.

He said: "We'll be keeping an eye on blancmange, cow heels and turkey twizzlers, all of which have lost a lot of ground in recent years.  It will be a fantastic coup if we can pull off a win at the awards. As I have said before, and will no doubt say again, tripe is the Jimmy Carr of the food world.  It Inspires laughter and revulsion in equal measure."  

9 December 2013

TMB Denies Poll Fixing Allegations

The Tripe Marketing Board has strenuously denied allegations in today's East Lancashire Argus and Messenger that its recent poll to find the Greatest Lancastrian 2013 was fixed. The poll was won comfortably by Sky Cricket commentator and former Lancashire and England opening batsman, Mr David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.

The newspaper claims that it sent one of its investigative journalists undercover at TMB headquarters in Preston disguised as a cleaner.

The journalist claims to have seen the full text of a letter from TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle to Mr Lloyd, dated  30 July 2013, in which Sir Norman asks Mr Lloyd to mention TMB publications during his Test Match commentary.

Mr David 'Bumble' Lloyd

A redacted version of Sir Norman's letter has been published in the TMB 2014 Diary. The journalist claims that the last paragraph of the letter, which has been redacted from the published version, reads as follows (redacted text is italicised): 

"If you could see your way to giving the books a bit of good publicity we would be only too pleased to fix the results of next year’s Greatest Lancastrian poll in your favour (you came a very respectable eighth this year but some considerable distance behind the clear winner, the late Fred Dibnah.  If you don’t like the books, please keep it to yourself and dispose of them in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner."

A TMB spokesman said the letter was a joke and not meant to be taken seriously. He added that the TMB 2014 Diary is still available on Amazon and makes an ideal stocking filler.

8 December 2013

11% Pay Rise Defended

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has defended proposals to give TMB Board members an 11% pay rise after an editorial in Offal Monthly condemned the plans.

The rise will come as part of a package of changes to board members' salaries and benefits which sees some allowances scrapped.  The Independent Tripe Standards Authority, chaired by Mr Barry Wrassle, published its results last week.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Speaking at a meeting of the Lytham Round table last night, Sir Norman said: "An independent review has determined that our board members' salaries have fallen behind those of comparable organisations such as British Spleen, the Cowheel Marketing Bureau and the Association of Ovine Entrail Producers." 

As part of the review, board salaries will rise by an average of 11% and the 2p per mile mileage allowance for members using their own bicycles to travel to meetings will be scrapped.

Offal Monthly described the proposals as 'utterly incomprehensible' and said they should be reconsidered, claiming that the Tripe Marketing Board's strategy for increasing sales of tripe over the past few years had 'failed miserably'. 

Sir Norman said: "Offal Monthly is no friend of tripe.  This decision needs to be looked at in the round. We need to keep hold of talent, and the savings we make by getting rid of the bike allowance will go some way to balancing the increase in salaries.  In any case, this is not an across-the-board increase - it's only an average and some board members may receive less than this."

Sir Norman was speaking shortly before setting off on a two week fact-finding visit to Mexico, where he will be lobbying for more imports of British tripe.

3 December 2013

UK stagnates as Shanghai tops league table

The UK is falling behind global rivals in knowledge about tripe amongst 15-year-olds, failing to make the top 50 in the Office of Tripe Consumption's latest ranking.

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said consumption last year was "at best stagnant, at worst declining".

Within the UK, Lancashire outperformed England and underlined what Sir Norman described as the need for the TMB to "break out of the heartland".

Sir Norman said that the TMB's recent strategy of changing the name for tripe, giving greater autonomy to tripe retailers and undertaking a programme of education in Lancashire schools for poorer pupils, were designed to prevent England from "falling further behind" in the world league tables.

He highlighted the rapid improvements that had been made in tripe recipes in countries such as Poland, Germany and Vietnam and said the UK could learn important lessons.

Reg Varley, chair of Lancashire County Council's education committee, said the results were "extremely sobering" and showed that "we're preaching to the converted" despite massive investment in tripe education.

Sir Norman promised the TMB would be studying the findings in more detail. "65% of under 15s thought that tripe was a kind of fish. We have clearly got some way to go."

2 December 2013

Retailers Warned To Prepare For Tripe Tuesday

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has warned retailers to stock up on tripe in advance of Tripe Tuesday tomorrow - predicted to be the busiest day of the year for sales of tripe in the UK.

"This is going to be a blockbuster day for tripe, and I wouldn't want consumers to be left tripe-less," Sir Norman said.

He dismissed reports in Offal Monthly that Tripe Tuesday was a marketing gimmick designed to panic customers into buying their tripe earlier than they needed to.  "With modern technology such as refrigeration, people are buying their Christmas tripe earlier and earlier, and it's our job to make sure they can get the tripe they want when they need it," he said.

Sir Norman also launched the TMB Books' first  Christmas campaign, which sees stickers being fixed to traffic lights and lamp posts in selected towns across the country.

TMB Books - the publishing arm of the Tripe Marketing Board - currently has three books on offer and is working on more.

"There were people in the meat industry who laughed when we said we were moving into publishing.  Thankfully, they still seem to be laughing," Sir Norman said.

29 November 2013

Merger Talk Is 'Premature'

The Tripe Marketing Board has denied rumours that a merger with British Spleen could be on the cards by Christmas and has dismissed reports in the industry's trade journal, Offal Monthly as "premature speculation".

Sir Norman Wrassle
Speaking at a meeting of the Westhaughton Women's Institute this lunchtime, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "At this stage in discussions, speculation about a merger is premature and I would much prefer that to happen next week. It's true that a merger would offer both organisations significant cost savings, which could be passed on to the end user in the form of lower prices.  But it is far too early to be talking in terms of a full-scale merger when we haven't even decided who the chairman of the new organisation might be."

British Spleen has been in crisis talks with a number of offal marketing agencies after the Lancashire Evening Sentinel revealed that its president, Mr Reg Halliwell had submitted expense claims for over-the-counter cough remedies amounting to almost £15.

Responding to a question from the audience, Sir Norman said: "Whatever the outcome of the discussions may be, I want to assure tripe consumers that our 2014 Diary will continue to be on sale right through the run up to Christmas.  There's never been a better time to buy it and it has a Best Before date of 31 December 2014."

28 November 2013

TMB To Consider Plain Packaging for Tripe

The Tripe Marketing Board is considering the introduction of plain packaging for tripe in an attempt to stimulate sales to the coveted under 85 market.

TMB chairman, Sir Norman Wrassle, said: "No matter how much we tell people that they shouldn't go by looks, it seems that the modern consumer judges the products they buy on appearance.

The future of tripe?
"Historically, tripe has been sold on open display in butchers' shops and on tripe stalls in markets -  mainly in the north of England.  Perhaps by packaging tripe in a plain, simple wrapper we could tempt consumers to try tripe?  That way, the battle is half won."

Before introducing the new packaging, the TMB is conducting a survey to determine whether the strategy will work.  If the results are positive, plain-packaged tripe could be on sale as early as January 2014.

The quick survey can be found here.

Speaking at a meeting of the Lytham Round Table last night, Sir Norman said: "We have to admit that tripe isn't the best looking meat on the butchers' block, but what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in personality. We're open to try anything that stimulates interest in tripe. Even camouflage."

Sir Norman told the meeting that sales of the Tripe Marketing Board's 2014 Diary were going well in the run-up to Christmas, but that some people hadn't realised that they shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  "As we always say with tripe - it's what's on the inside that counts!  Our Diary makes the perfect gift, whether for the busy executive  or for someone who just wants to surprise a friend, relative or workmate with an unusual secret Santa present."

It's Official! David 'Bumble' Lloyd is the Greatest Lancastrian 2013

After a month of voting and over 1200 responses, the results of TMB Books' online poll to find the Greatest Lancastrian 2013 have now been collated.
The poll, which closed at midnight on Lancashire Day (27 November 2013), drew some surprising responses, with some iconic Lancashire figures such as Robert Peel and Mike Harding getting no votes at all.

And despite polling almost 100 votes, last year's winner Fred Dibnah was pushed into third place.  Fred's promotion of all things Lancastrian made him a popular choice, but it wasn't enough to win this year's poll.

In second place was popular Lancashire comedian Eric Morecambe, polling 140 votes and over 11% of the total.  Curiously, Eric's long-time partner Ernie Wise was in fact born on Lancashire Day in 1925!

But this year's winner was Lancashire's favourite son, former England opening batsman and Sky Sports cricket commentator David 'Bumble' Lloyd. David Lloyd surprised the world when he put the spotlight on one of Lancashire's favourite foodstuffs - tripe - during commentary on the Ashes in the summer.  He was later pictured wearing a Choose Tripe t-shirt whilst recuperating from a knee operation in hospital.

Mr Lloyd polled 154 votes and took a commanding lead from the start. 

Tripe Marketing Board chairman, Sir Norman Wrassle, said: "I have no doubt that the fact that Mr Lloyd took up the banner of tripe in the summer strengthened his Lancashire credentials. I would like to offer my fulsome congratulations to him - to my mind, after his sterling promotion of tripe during the Ashes, the result was never in doubt."

Other strong contenders in the poll were the Salford bard, John Cooper Clarke (84 votes), Gerrard Winstanley, the Wigan-born Leveller who polled 70 votes and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who collected 56 votes.

Sir Norman said: "This poll shows that tastes can change from year to year. Last year, Mr  Winstanley came a creditable second.  He clearly hasn't had much media coverage this year and has dropped from the public eye. Perhaps he needs to change his agent".

In a parallel poll, 83% of respondents said they hadn't eaten tripe in over 10 years. Sir Norman said: "We'll be drilling down into these figures to see what they mean for our marketing strategy in 2014.  At first sight they may not be encouraging, but the devil will be in the fine detail."

Sir Norman said he was heartened that almost 68% of respondents thought that the Tripe Marketing Board was the cheapest supplier of dates. "Our decision to link up with the Tunisian Date Marketing Bureau to publish our 2014 Tripe Marketing Board Diary has obviously struck a chord with the public. Being able to supply 365 dates for only £5.99 or less has put a shot across the bows of the major supermarkets, and no mistake!"


27 November 2013

Lancashire Day

Today is Lancashire Day!  All across the county the Tripe Marketing Board will be celebrating this historic day by asking Lancastrians to sample a bit of tripe and to take part in its poll to find 2013's Greatest Lancastrian.

Sir Norman Wrassle, chairman of the TMB, said: "What better way can there be to celebrate Lancashire Day than by tucking into a nice hot bowl of tripe and onions, the traditional dish that built the county?  If you haven't tried tripe before, there's never been a better day to do it!"

Sir Norman will be speaking later today at a meeting of the Parbold Women's Institute, where he will be signing copies of the Tripe Marketing Board's 2014 Diary.  Sir Norman said: "This is the first time we've made our diary available to a wider public and it makes a great Christmas present for anyone even faintly interested in Lancashire's most historic foodstuff."

Sir Norman will also outline plans for promoting the TMB Christmas Party Plan in an attempt to increase tripe sales in the run up to the festive season.

24 November 2013

Tripe Sales Fall

UK tripe sales were down for the third quarter of 2013 (July-September) as unseasonably cold weather hit demand, according to the latest figures from the European Office Of Tripe Consumption in Brussels.

Sales are also expected to be down for the fourth quarter (September-December) due to unseasonably warm weather. This means that tripe sales will have fallen for the last 225 consecutive quarters.

A Tripe Marketing Board spokesman said, “We know we can't count on the weather to help us promote tripe, but we can only hope it is neither unseasonably warm nor unseasonably cold in the next 56 years.”

Sales of the TMB's 2014 Diary are expected to increase slightly as Christmas approaches. Sir Norman Wrassle, chairman of the TMB said, "Everyone likes a few dates at Christmas and we've got hundreds in our Diary."

13 November 2013

New Face At The TMB

The Tripe Marketing Board has announced the appointment of Mr Thabo Mophring to its management board.

Mr Thabo Mophring
Mr Mophring is a keen user of social media and has declared his love of tripe on various occasions on Twitter.  Sir Norman Wrassle, chairman of the TMB, said: "We're delighted to have Mr Mophring on board at what is an exciting time for tripe.   When we inaugurated World Tripe Day last month, we realised that the time was ripe to appoint someone who would have special responsibility for international tripe relations."

Sir Norman denied reports in Offal Monthly that Mr Mophring's appointment might bankrupt the TMB if he claimed expenses from his South African home to board meetings in Preston. Sir Norman said: "I am assured that we will be able to use state-of-the-art technology such as Skype so that Mr Mophring can take part in proceedings without being physically present in the room, but I look forward to meeting him during regular fact-finding trips to Africa over the coming months."

Full details of the TMB's board can be found here.

10 November 2013

TMB Fears 'Perfect Storm' On Twitter

The Tripe Marketing Board was bracing itself for what experts have dubbed the "perfect storm" on Twitter tonight as British TV viewers hunkered down to watch The X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey.

Professor Arthur Bragg, head of media studies at Wigan University and TV pundit for the East Lancashire News, warned: "This really is the worst possible combination for the TMB.  Its media monitoring unit stands no chance of rebutting the misuse of the word tripe on Twitter tonight!"

The TMB's media monitoring unit - already being scaled down following budget cuts - said it would continue to monitor Twitter as part of its efforts to ensure tripe wasn't maligned by association with some of the TV programmes that are scheduled on Sunday evening.

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "Despite the cutbacks, it's important we challenge the way people bandy the word tripe around without thinking of other words they could use.  What's wrong with codswallop, for instance?"

Second Fridge Claim Was Wrong Says TMB Board Member

A member of the Tripe Marketing Board has apologised for claiming expenses for electricity to supply a fridge in an outhouse of his Blackburn home.

The expenses relate to Arthur Zahawi's second fridge and Mr Zahawi has voluntarily contacted the tripe industry's expenses watchdog after the Blackburn Mirror reported last week that he had claimed over £3,000 in the year up to March.  Mr Zahawi said that ITSA, the Independent Tripe Standards Authority, had included claims for the previous year and the figure was nearer £258.

In a statement issued on Saturday, he said: "I have been looking into this matter further and can confirm that all claims for fuel relate purely to my second fridge.  However, I have made a mistake with my electricity claims.  On investigation I discovered that electricity for a small fridge located in an outhouse was linked to my house."

"Whilst a meter was installed in the outhouse, I have only been receiving one bill; it was wrong to assume I was receiving two and to have not checked this sooner"

Mr Zawahi said he was "mortified" and said he would pay the money back to the TMB immediately.

Sir Norman Wrassle, chairman of the TMB, said he was satisfied that Mr Zawahi had made a simple mistake, and welcomed his offer to repay the money.  He said: "I am sure people will understand that this was nothing more than an administrative error on the part of Mr Zawahi.  Given the aroma of tripe, it is not unusual for people to want to store their tripe in a fridge outside of their main home."

5 November 2013

TMB Lets The Dogs Out

The Tripe Marketing Board has unveiled plans to test-market a proposed advertising campaign in the north west following "disappointing" second quarter sales.

Is Ralph the new canine face of tripe?
Speaking at a meeting of Formby Women's Institute last night, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "Tripe is stuck between a rock and a hard place. For the last 18 months we have been promoting the idea that tripe isn't just for dogs, yet the campaign hasn't had the impact it might have done.  We've decided it's time to play to our strengths, and the new campaign - if it goes ahead - will certainly do that!"

Sir Norman said: "We have to admit that sales of tripe in the second quarter of 2013 were disappointing - despite our best endeavours.  I'm cautiously optimistic that all the excitement around  World Tripe Day last month will - in time - show through in improved sales.  But until then, we cannot stand idly by and must redouble our efforts to make tripe the popular foodstuff it once was."

The Tripe Marketing Board has launched a campaign to find a new canine 'poster boy/girl' which has already had some success on Twitter, using the 'hashtag' #tripedog. Ralph, who features in the new test-marketing programme, was one of over 20 dogs who put himself forward to be the canine face of tripe in 2014.  The campaign will continue until the end of November, when Lady Cheryl Wrassle will judge the results.

The test-marketing involves posters being displayed in the Bolton, Bury and Wigan areas on municipal park fences, lamp posts and traffic lights.  "Our research suggests dog owners respond well to pictures of dogs on posters in precisely these places," Sir Norman added.

2 November 2013

TMB Chairman Denies I’m A Celebrity Rumours

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has denied rumours that he has been offered a three figure sum to appear on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

Speaking from
Perth, Western Australia, Sir Norman said: “There is absolutely no truth in these rumours whatsoever.  I’m out here as a guest of my good friend Mr David Lloyd to watch a bit of cricket and to establish good relations with our colleagues at the Australian Tripe Marketing Board. 

“I’ve eaten tripe for most of my life so the Bushtucker Trials would hold no fear for me. In fact, I think I would quite enjoy them. However, there is no way I would take my clothes off and shower for less than £1,000. If they want me to appear, they know where I am - the Parmelia Hilton, 14 Mill St, Perth. Telephone +61 8 9215 2000." 

Sir Norman appeared on a similar programme, Híres Vagyok Hogy Egy Darázs a Számba (I’m Famous Put A Wasp In My Mouth) on Hungarian TV in 2003.