25 August 2014

TMB lets the dogs out!

The Tripe Marketing Board has today launched its Tripe Dog 2014 contest as part of its autumn campaign to promote tripe.

Speaking at a meeting of the West Lancashire Womens' League on Saturday, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "Ever since we took to the social media, we have been promoting the idea that tripe isn't just for dogs.  Yet it's fair to say that the campaign hasn't had the impact it might have done. 

"Last year, we decided to change tack and play to our strengths, and launched our Tripe Dog competition."

Ralph, who featured in a TMB campaign last year, was one of over 60 dogs who put himself forward to be the canine face of tripe in last year's contest. 

The campaign involved posters being displayed in the Bolton, Bury and Wigan areas on municipal park fences, lamp posts and traffic lights after research suggested dog owners responded well to pictures of dogs on posters in precisely those places.

Entries for Tripe Dog 2014 can be 'tweeted' to the TMB's Twitter account @TripeUK, using the 'hashtag' #TripeDog2014.

Tripe retailers are being advised to increase stocks as the campaign gathers momentum.

Sir Norman said: "Everyone loves dogs.  Dogs love tripe.  We're hoping people will make the connection and that they'll come to love tripe themselves."

23 August 2014

Comedy Gold found in Hertfordshire

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has urged tripe lovers from across the south of England to gather together in Hertfordshire to celebrate tripe as part of the TMB's 'Autumn of Tripe & Comedy'.

Bill Tidy cartoon courtesy of CADS
Between 25 and 27 September, Corvus Amateur Dramatic Society will be staging their production of The Fosdyke Saga, a hilarious adaptation  by the late, great Alan Plater of Bill Tidy's much loved cartoon strip recounting the rags-to-riches story of a family of Lancashire tripe merchants, from the end of the nineteenth century to the early 1920s, taking in coal strikes, the Suffrage movement,  the trenches of World War One, and the Salford Ripper.

The performance, in the pretty Hertfordshire town of Royston, is expected to attract large crowds, so tripe lovers are asked to book early.

Speaking from his Lytham home this morning, Sir Norman said: "Our campaign to reassert tripe's role as the supreme comedy foodstuff is gathering momentum.  As part of this, people who are in what has been unfairly termed the 'tripe desert' of the south now have a chance to show their support for our product by attending a performance of what is acknowledged to be the finest dramatic incarnation of tripe ever written."

TMB to visit Wigan as part of autumn sales campaign

The Tripe Marketing Board has announced that it will once again be visiting its spiritual homeland as part of its autumn sales campaign.

The TMB's popular Men In White will be appearing alongside chairman Sir Norman Wrassle and other board members at the fourth annual Diggers' Festival in Wigan on Saturday 13 September, and Sir Norman has issued an invitation to tripe lovers and those who are merely tripe-curious to come along to meet the team.

   Speaking from his Lytham home last night, Sir Norman said: "I know there are many - particularly those who follow us in the social media - who question the very existence of the TMB and who have even accused us of being a 'spoof'.  Occasions like those on 13 September give us a chance to prove that we are indeed very real."

The Men In White are the shock troops of the Tripe Marketing Board. This  crack team of former male models and butchers regularly take to the streets of unsuspecting Lancashire towns in their distinctive white butcher’s coats and smart white trilbies inviting busy shoppers to take the Tripe Taste Challenge.

They also make unannounced visits to tripe stalls and butchers to check on the quality of their produce and award the prestigious TMB Seal of Approval to those which meet their rigorous standards for the highest quality tripe. 

Sir Norman said: "It's always a pleasure attending the Diggers' Festival as Wigan is the spiritual home of our fine product and the festival itself attracts a large number of vegetarians and vegans so it's a chance for us to hone our marketing strategies. The Men In White will be kissing dogs, stroking babies and trying to shift as many copies of the Forgotten Lancashire and Parts of Cheshire and the Wirral as is humanly possible. 

"They will also be encouraging people to celebrate World Tripe Day on October 24 and asking them to help make 2015 the Year of Tripe." 

The Diggers' Festival celebrates the life and ideas of Wigan born and bred Gerrard Winstanley and the 17th Century Diggers (True Leveller) Movement. For more information about the festival click here.

21 August 2014

An Open Letter to Mr Ken Bruce

From the desk of Sir Norman Wrassle

Dear Mr Bruce

I was disappointed to learn that, during today's show, you made a disparaging reference to tripe and even went so far as to suggest that nobody eats it.  From what I have been told, you were also quite offensive to brussel sprouts but, as I hold no brief for these, I will let that go.

It is a rare day that I miss your show (my wife and I are huge fans of your Popmaster quiz and it's unusual if we fail to score 23 or more), but I was otherwise engaged today, so unfortunately had to rely on one of my team to brief me.  I have to say, it is quite improper of you to use your position to air your prejudices against tripe.

The Tripe Marketing Board has been working ceaselessly to restore the reputation of a foodstuff which was once a staple on Britain's dinner tables, and your off-the-cuff comments threaten to undermine our hitherto successful campaign.  It is a tribute to our staff and our customers that tripe did not appear in the list of most disliked foods in the survey commissioned by our colleagues at BirdsEye.  This is in fact the first time we haven't featured in such a list - a regular feature of the 'silly' season - since 1972, and you can forgive us if we seem to boast a little.

Our own independent polling indicates that the typical tripe consumer is changing.  Their average age fell to 73 last year - an indication, perhaps, that tripe is more popular than you might believe!  In fact, it's more likely that the next person you meet who likes tripe will be a young, north London executive than a pensioner from Wigan.

People across the land are coming to appreciate that, when it comes to tripe, it's what's on the inside that counts.  I hope you will correct the impression you gave that 'nobody eats tripe'.  People are not only eating tripe but, from the feedback we receive, it's clear that they sometimes even enjoy it.

Perhaps you might be tempted to try a bit of tripe yourself? As we approach World Tripe Day in October, you might even want to feature it in your show, and ask someone like Fergus Henderson the acclaimed metropolitan master of offal to cook you some?  Are you man enough to eat tripe, Mr Bruce?


Sir Norman
Tripe Marketing Board

It's official: Tripe now more popular than anchovies

Tripe is now less hated by UK food consumers than mushrooms, olives, anchovies and black pudding, according to a survey of British attitudes to food commissioned by BirdsEye, the food industry giant published in the Independent.

The TMB's July poster campaign
Tripe failed to feature in the top 10 most disliked foods, which also included blue cheese, avocado, chicken liver, goats cheese and brussel sprouts - an improvement since the last similar survey in June 2014, when tripe ranked 7th.

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said even he was surprised by the results: "If these results are accurate, it appears tripe is now even more popular than salami and it vindicates entirely our decision to tackle anchovies and avocado head on during our summer 2014 marketing drive," he said. 

This was the first time tripe had failed to appear in a list of disliked foods since 1972, Sir Norman said.  He denied allegations in Offal Monthly that the TMB had 'leaned on' the survey compilers to exclude tripe from the pick-list that was offered to respondents. "It's ridiculous to suggest that we would do something like that.  It's more likely that our efforts in the social media are finally starting to pay off.  People are learning that you can come to not just tolerate tripe, but love it," he said.

19 August 2014

UK comedians challenged to promote tripe

The Tripe Marketing Board today threw down the gauntlet to comedians across the country to reclaim their traditional role of promoting tripe.

Sir Norman Wrassle
The move came after Wigan academic and expert in tripe Professor Richard Hawkins published the results of his ten year study into the role of tripe in comedy.  Speaking at a press conference organised by the TMB this afternoon, Professor Hawkins said:  "There has been a marked decline in tripe being the butt of jokes by comedians, in stark contrast to the heyday of the 1930s, when almost every music hall act and stage comedian made repeated reference to it."

TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle challenged comedians across the land to re-instate tripe into its rightful place as the King of Comedy Foodstuffs.  "Professor Hawkins' previous work has shown that the public already think tripe is funnier than bananas, kippers or cheese strings, so there's really no excuse," he said.

In congratulating Professor Hawkins on his study, Sir Norman said: "We know from private polling that merely mentioning tripe during a stage act does wonders to pique the interest of an audience - as well as making them laugh.  In our experience, if you make people laugh there's a high chance you'll be able to pop a piece of tripe in there too."

16 August 2014

Continued austerity "a boost for tripe" says TMB chairman

Sir Norman Wrassle
Indications that the UK economy may not be emerging from recession as speedily as had been anticipated were "welcome news", Tripe Marketing Board chairman told an audience of offal industry analysts earlier today.

Speaking at seminar in Reading this morning, Sir Norman Wrassle said: "When you consider the cost of other cuts of meat, tripe is still a real bargain. In some of the fancier butchers in London, you can pay up to £30 a kilo for steak.  When set against that, £5 for a kilo of tripe is a bit of a bargain, whichever way you look at it!"

Responding to criticism that sales of tripe had not taken off in quite the way the TMB had hoped, Sir Norman pointed to the success of the board's publishing division: "We may not yet have convinced enough people to eat tripe, but more of them are reading it every day," he said.

Sir Norman said he was hopeful that more people would be choosing tripe in the months ahead.  "It seems the UK economy may be facing years more of painful, grinding austerity.  As people look around for ways to make their money stretch further, that's got to be welcome news for tripe," he said.

13 August 2014

TMB abandons Tripe Media Initiative

The Tripe Marketing Board announced today that it would be abandoning its attempts to modernise the board's production and archiving methods by using connected digital production and media asset management systems. After a protracted development process lasting eight years and a cumulative spend of almost £300 between  2012 and 2014, the TMB commissioned accountancy firm Young Gifford & Black to carry out an investigation.

Sir Norman Wrassle
At a hearing held this morning,  evidence given by the then chief executive officer Mr Timothy Flaxton-Buoys that the initiative had represented good value for money was dismissed by chairman Sir Norman Wrassle as "worthless at best."

In announcing the cancellation of the Tripe Media Initiative, Sir Norman said: "I think we have been sold a pup with this project. We were promised an all-singing all-dancing media archiving system on the cheap.  It's clear to me now that we need to invest more significantly if we are to draw together our various media management processes."

The TMB's media monitoring unit, set up to provide a rapid rebuttal of negative uses of the word tripe in the media, would be reformed, and Sir Norman said the TMB would be redoubling its efforts to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding tripe.  "At some point in the future we'll be revisiting the digital archiving issue, at which point we will approach companies better-fitted to deliver this sort of thing".

Mr Henry Wrassle - Mr Flaxton-Buoys' successor as acting chief executive for a brief period - said in evidence to the hearing that he had also been disappointed by the failure of the TPI. "I hope that when the TMB goes out to tender they will look closely at the work of WrassTech, where we have been working to develop precisely the kind of IT systems needed for this kind of work," he said.

12 August 2014

Towel or Tripe?

The Tripe Marketing Board's latest poster campaign 'Towel or Tripe?' launches this week after successful trials in Bolton.

Speaking at the launch event in Preston this lunchtime, TMB chairman Sir Norman Wrassle, said: "Our marketing advisers tell us that a post-ironic approach is by far  the best way to promote tripe, and this latest push follows on from our hugely successful Tripe: Loath it Hate it campaign in 2012."

The campaign, which will run at selected bus stops across the north west, plays on a popular misconception that tripe looks, tastes and feels like a towel.  "Once people stop to think about it for a moment, they'll realise how ridiculous it is to suggest that tripe feels like a towel!" Sir Norman said.

The campaign is aimed at revitalising sales in what is traditionally a slow summer period for tripe, and tripe retailers were advised to order more stock in anticipation of an increase in orders.

7 August 2014

Boris Johnson Must Stand in Wigan says TMB chairman

Tripe Marketing Board chairman has challenged the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to "put his money where his mouth is" after the celebrated game show host announced he would be standing for parliament in the 2015 UK general election.

Celebrated chat show host and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
At a hastily-convened press conference in Preston last night, Sir Norman said: "On at least four occasions we know about, Mr Johnson has used the word tripe in public to represent something of inferior quality.  We think he's gone a step too far and it's time he put up or shut up".

Sir Norman gave as an example one of Mr Johnson's Daily Telegraph columns which clearly denigrated tripe.

"I would like Mr Johnson to stand as a candidate in the tripe heartland of Wigan. That way, we can show him that you can't mess with tripe and get away with it".

Sir Norman said the Mayor's comments threatened to undermine the TMB's attempts to improve the image of tripe precisely at a time when there were signs it was being rehabilitated.  He once again challenged Mr Johnson  to a public debate, saying: "I am prepared to appear in a discussion with Mr Johnson on a radio show of his choice - although I would prefer BBC Radio Cumbria or Hereford & Worcester, which have both proved to be friendly to tripe in the past."

More on this story. 

6 August 2014

Mayor Johnson to stand in election

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle has condemned today's announcement by Maurice Johnson, Mayor of Lytham that he has decided to stand for the post of chairman at the TMB's next annual General Meeting.

Maurice Johnson pictured outside his home in Lytham.
In a wide-ranging interview on Radio Lytham, the controversial white-haired advocate of fracking said: "I intend to put my hat into the ring at next year's AGM.  It's time the tripe industry was given a choice about its leadership".

Responding to the announcement, Sir Norman said: "The TMB is a democratic organisation and of course people must be free to stand in opposition if they think the direction of the board is wrong.  But I would like to point out that  Mayor Johnson has already been criticised for allegedly making up quotes whilst working as a columnist for the Lytham Telegraph and for a number of illicit affairs with members of the Lytham & St Annes Tuesday Luncheon Club.  And people won't easily forget the controversy in 2012 when he was pictured kicking a donkey on Blackpool beach".

Sir Norman said the proper response to such a challenge would be to redouble his efforts to make 2015 The Year of Tripe and that he would shortly be announcing the TMB's plans to achieve this goal.

Historic Day For Tripe

Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle hailed 5 August 2014 as "an historic day for tripe" after the TMB's Twitter feed yesterday notched up its 5000th 'follower'.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Speaking from his Lytham home late last night, Sir Norman said: "I never imagined I would see the day that our humble product would attract such attention on the social media. It is testimony to the work of our communications team that they have been able to achieve this after only seven years on Twitter".

Sir Norman denied rumours in last month's Offal Monthly that the TMB had 'bought' followers in an attempt to inflate its social media presence.  "We have used traditional means such as interacting with followers, giving away free gifts and courting minor celebrities in an effort to grow the account," he said.

Since it began its social media campaign, the TMB has given away 3,200 Tripe for Stamina badges, 550 fridge magnets, 240 copies of Forgotten Lancashire & Parts of Cheshire and the Wirral, 190 copies of The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock and six Choose Tripe t-shirts.  Chief executive officer Bryan Atkinson said: "Persuading people to try tripe is an expensive business.  But we have no doubt it will show through in the end with increased sales of tripe and books".

5 August 2014

TMB suspends intern pending inquiry outcome

The Tripe Marketing Board tonight suspended one of its interns working in the board's  Communications department, following allegations that she had been using Twitter to re-tweet old messages rather than composing new ones.

The TMB's Twitter Account
In a statement issued this afternoon, chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: "I understand that some of the tweets were over two years old.  From what I saw, they weren't even our better ones. Whilst most people will not have noticed, some of our more loyal Twitter followers might think we are scraping the barrel somewhat".

The unnamed intern - a graduate in marketing and applied dressmaking from the University of Wigan -  has appealed against the decision and Sir Norman has set up an internal inquiry to establish  the facts.  The TMB's Twitter account is close to reaching 5,000 followers, thought by many social media experts to be a 'critical mass'.

Sir Norman apologised on behalf of the board  and said he hoped it had not impacted too severely on people's perception of tripe.  "I would like to assure people that we're not in the business of re-hashing and repeating our work.  We're not the BBC, after all.  We're the Tripe Marketing Board," he said.

4 August 2014

Regulation is harming tripe sales says TMB

Over-regulation of the UK tripe industry threatens to stifle the potential for increasing tripe sales, Tripe Marketing Board chairman Sir Norman Wrassle told a meeting of industry leaders in Preston today.

Sir Norman Wrassle
Sir Norman was commenting on the first six months sales figures for tripe, which were issued earlier today by the European Office of Tripe Consumption.  He said: "These results demonstrate the resilience of our business model. Whilst regulatory uncertainty persists, our balance sheet remains strong and our continuing ability to generate capital supports both growth and our progressive dividend policy".

But Sir Norman said the industry was facing challenges from regulatory reforms around the world.
"The demands now being placed on the human capital of the tripe industry and on our operational and systems capabilities are unprecedented," he said.  "The cumulative workload arising from a regulatory reform programme that is unfortunately increasingly fragmented, often extra-territorial, still evolving and still adding definition, is hugely consumptive of resources that would otherwise be customer-facing."

The TMB spends £750 to £800 per year on regulation and compliance at the moment and Sir Norman said "there may be more money that needs to be spent on this area" despite almost getting to the point of a "steady run rate".

Questioned by journalists from the Blackburn & Hynburn Argus afterwards, Sir Norman admitted he wasn't entirely sure what all of that meant, but that his instinct was that tripe was turning a corner, and would soon feature prominently on the dinner tables of Britain.

2 August 2014

The Tripe Marketing Board and Gay Rights

The Tripe Marketing Board has clarified its position on the subject of gay rights after it failed to attend today's Liverpool Pride celebrations.

The Tripe Girls
Chairman Sir Norman Wrassle said: “The tripe brand has traditionally stood for old-fashioned values such as hard work, thrift and corporal punishment.   Normally we only attend events such as steam engine rallies, agricultural shows and Crufts.  However, in a break with tradition I was persuaded last year that we must move with the times and bring the Tripe Marketing Board kicking and screaming into twentieth century. That was why we were delighted to attend Liverpool Pride 2013 as we realise we must embrace all sections of the community, particularly those which have high disposable incomes”.

Sir Norman apologised that a prior engagement kept him away from today's celebrations in
Liverpool. "I hear it was a bit damp, but if I didn't already have a diary date to speak at the Longridge Women's Institute this afternoon, I can assure you I would have been there". 

Disappointingly, gay icons The Tripe Girls, who were scheduled to appear today,  had to cancel at the last minute when the senior matron at their St Annes nursing home refused to agree to them leaving for the day.