A name with buzz

When the Welsh aren’t busy gouging gonads, they occasionally find ways of making money off of what they do best. From everything2 comes the story of a Welsh entrepreneur who took his country’s most famous talent and turned a profit:

The Mosquito is the invention of one Howard Stapelton, Managing Director of Compound Security Devices of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, and is simply a device that emits a piercing high frequency sound which has been described as a “cross between fingernails down a blackboard and a dental laser” which is apparently only audible to the under-twenties. It is thus put forward as a possible solution to the eternal bane of the British shopkeeper; that small crowd of anti-social teenagers who have nothing better to do than loiter outside their shop and deter older customers who actually have money to spend.

With an effective range of between fifteen and twenty metres Compound Security Devices claim that “field trials have shown that teenagers are acutely aware of the Mosquito and usually move away from the area within just a couple of minutes” and “that is completely harmless even with long term use”. The Times reports that the device was first used at a Spar shop in Barry where the owner Robert Gough was enthusiastic about the device’s success in driving away the local youth that he found so disquieting. “Either someone has come along and wiped them off the face of the earth, or it’s working” he is quoted as saying.

Whereas this might appear to be a hoax or some kind of scam, it seems that there is a very real medical phenomenon known as presbycusis or age related hearing loss which, according to The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, “begins after age 20 but is usually significant only in persons over 65″ and “first affects the highest frequencies (18 to 20 kHz)”. Thus it seems quite true that it is possible to generate a high frequency sound that is audible only to teenagers.

The answer to the prayers of grumpy old men and women the world over, the Mosquito unit can be yours for only £495 plus VAT, with an optional security cage available at £35 plus VAT, all inclusive of postage and packing.

“Mosquito” is the perfect name for a product that promises to be even more irritating than a weekend in Swansea. Wales’ other successful businessman, Lucian James, can be buzzed here.

Further Recollections of a Cranky Old Man

Home electronics retailer Best Buy has pulled out all the stops in a winning effort to edge out Ikea for honors as this year’s most annoying retail experience. Yes, the Apple stores have over promised and way under delivered, and Ikea is so badly run that only the insane return, but Best Buy is an aggressively bad experience.

Yesterday Best Buy made four separate attempts to get my address and phone number. I went in to buy a satellite radio and a DVD player. They refused to sell me the Sirius receiver without me coughing up my verifiable home phone number, so no sale. They then offered me a 59-dollar warrantee on the DVD player, which of course required my address and phone number, so again, no sale. Next was my free subscription to some magazine, which of course would have meant an address and phone number. Finally, the clerk pointed out that my receipt contained a survey that if filled out with my address and phone number would enter me in drawing for a 500-dollar Best Buy shopping spree.

Get Sirius, fellas, that’s a lot of personal information to give out just to get the best buy on a
Religion Free DVD Player.

A Name of Shakespearean quality. Doh!

Igor recently named a new audio company. The job required a name that would help them own the idea of sound, carry some excitement, and imply a bit of the ol’ European / Germanic hi-tech audio expertise brand equity.

There was only one name that could capture all three of these ideas and that name is Zounds. From the Zounds website:

Zounds was founded by Sam Thomasson, who has a hearing impaired daughter. When he would hug his daughter as a young girl, her hearing aids would squeal, causing pain to her. For years, he promised himself and his daughter that he would develop a hearing aid that would address these and other related hearing aid issues. Zounds’ breakthrough technology is the fulfillment of a father’s promise to his daughter, and intends to be a wonderful gift to others globally with hearing impairments.

Here are a few other notable occurrences of Zounds:

  • From William Shakespeare, King John, act II, scene 1, line 466:

    “Zounds! I was never so bethumpd with words since I first call’d my brothers father dad!”

  • On an episode of the 1960s Batman TV show in which an evil character named the Puzzler kept giving clues in the form of Shakespearean quotations, one of which was “Zounds”:

    Batman: Obviously! That’s the puzzle. “Z” is the most enigmatic letter in the alphabet, old chum. Think of the words that begin with “Z”: zigzag, zither, zodiac…

    Robin: Zounds!

    Batman: Exactly! “Zounds” is a Shakespearean interjection of wonder or surprise.

  • Used as an interjection by the character Ned Flanders on the Simpsons (Lisa’s Wedding scene, aired 1995):

    Ned: Zounds, I did thee mightily smitily!

  • Again on the Simpsons (1999) in a quote by the minor character Professor John Fink:

    “Zounds, someone took our gazebo.”

In one of the stranger cosmic coincidences, “Zounds, someone took our gazebo” was the tagline we had independently created for our client.