Golfing Crisis? | More Housing Please | Christmas Ads

Depending on what time you are reading this, many of the world’s best golfers will either be playing in the final round of a European Tour event in Hong Kong (??) or have been in Melbourne competing for the Golf World Cup. And there were also two who, on Friday evening, battled it out in Las Vegas (where else?) for a whopping US$9m. Opinion was divided over whether 'The Match' between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was ‘an entertaining showdown between two of the game's all-time greats or a simply a crass cash generator for two ageing millionaires which leaves the sport looking desperate for attention?’. Is Phil, the victor, bothered? Of course not. But it’s not hard to argue this match was fifteen years too late (given neither player is currently in the world's top ten), not to mention it being rather unnecessary given that Woods and Mickelson still earned more money last year than any other golfers - $43.3m (£33.6m) and $41.3m (£32.1m) respectively. Still, a nice gig if you can get it though!
It would be fair to say that the Government has been rather pre-occupied of late. It therefore should come as no great surprise that the latest house building figures were released with neither a great fanfare nor a significant amount of contention. Discussions about country borders, the free movement of people and customs unions seem to be more in vogue at present apparently! On the one hand, progress in terms of house building appears to be being made as there were 222,190 new homes delivered during 2017/18, the highest level since the peak of 2007/08 and up 2% annually. The counter-argument, of course, is that the level is still 26% below the 300,000 per annum target set by the Government, and the annual growth rate of supply has slowed to its lowest level since 2013/14. Furthermore, just 6,463 homes for social rent were completed in the year. Whilst this was a 10% increase on 2016/17, it is still the second lowest level on record. At this pace of house building, it would take 170 years to house the 1.25 million people currently on council waiting lists!
Whether you like them or loathe them, when it comes to Christmas TV adverts, one thing that’s for sure is that you can’t escape them! The phenomenon has evolved from a couple of high-profile set-piece campaigns into an industry-wide arms race. Adverts were first shown on British television in 1955, and it took forty years for us to first spot the Coca Cola truck. Today every retailer still left in existence appears to have one. But could this trend be coming to an abrupt end? Well, according to a survey by market researchers, System1, 2018’s crop of TV adverts aren’t hitting the spot. The data reveals that less than half the number of adverts compared with last year have scored three stars or more – with John Lewis’ advert featuring Elton John travelling back in time to the moment when it all started, only just scraping into the top ten. In fact, 2018 has been the worst year since System1 began measuring Christmas ads. For those Weekly readers intrigued to know the Top 3, Heathrow’s ‘Bears Return’ has come out on top, followed by Coca Cola’s classic ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert and Sainsbury’s ‘The Big Night’. Meanwhile, Iceland’s re-purposed Greenpeace film about palm oil exploitation, which didn’t make it on to TV but resulted in 50 million online views and a million-signature petition, came in last. All absolutely fascinating, I am sure you’ll agree.