My great-great-great grandfather, a York Quaker called Henry Isaac Rowntree (that’s him on the left), set up Rowntree’s chocolate company in York in 1862. He was an amiable young man, ‘perhaps the only Rowntree with a sense of humour’ according to one historian. He had a parrot who liked to shout obscenities from under the Read more…

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I went to the book-launch of a new book on well-being policy yesterday, which brought together some leading figures in this nascent movement – including David Halpern of the government’s ‘nudge unit’, Canadian economist John Helliwell, psychologist Maurren O’Hara, and Juliet Michaelson of the new economics foundation. The book – Well-being and Beyond – is Read more…

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Nothing worse than when adverts try to get spiritual, shortly before stuffing their product in your face. This advert for Hiscox insurance really goes for the holier-than-thou tone – the voiceover (by Benedict Cumberbatch) tells us the world is ‘somehow broken…institutions have let us down…a person’s word has lost its worth…but we still admire honesty, Read more…

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Check out this new advert for PRADA, made by Roman Polanski, starring Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham-Carter. The implication is the therapist, once intended to free their patients from false illusions like consumerism, becomes himself seduced by the luxury experience. Because it isn’t an illusion – glamour is real (such is the message anyway). It Read more…

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The Centre for the History of the Emotions’ Mark Honigsbaum, who studies the social and emotional experience of epidemics, might find this somewhat trashy advert for Lynx interesting (then again, he may not). You can see how the admen are trying to tie their product in to the cinematic language of plague / zombie films. Read more…

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