Friday, 23 March 2012

Spiders need better PR

BFTF was on holiday from work today, and took the opportunity to spend some time in the garden - which proved to be surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable.

In fact, the sights and sounds of the wildlife all around were a significant distraction that kept diverting BFTF's attention.

For example, there was a robin who spent a lot of time at the top of a neighbours tree singing away. When not singing, he seemed to have a circuit of gardens to visit and would periodically pop by to snap up a creepy crawly before continuing on his way.

Robin in a tree giving it a bit of Tom Jones

The same Robin, about to take something out in clinical, Leon stylee

In fact, by the end of the day, BFTF was so attuned to the sounds of the different birds that it could tell the difference between a Robin and, say, the electric drill being used by the builders up the road. Impressive, no?

This Sparrow was taking on all comers, he was well 'ard

One of the tasks that needed doing was to give the lawn its first-cut-of-the-year, which proved harder than expected due to the need to keep stopping so that Ladybirds in the lawn could be picked up and relocated them somewhere safer where they were not in danger of getting Flymo'ed (as BFTF is rather fond of these wee creatures).

Lots of Ladybirds in the grass. . .

But why do Ladybirds have such a soft spot in peoples hearts? Why will people happily let a ladybird crawl over their hand, but would not be happy to have a spider do the same thing.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Ladybirds are slow so that there is no danger of them suddenly racing up your sleeve,

And of course Ladybirds do not bite. As a general rule, biting people will not get you into their good books (although BFTF did once share ownership of a Giant African Land Snail, which would gnaw on peoples fingers in a gentle can't-really-do-any-damage kind of way). The snail was called Sammy, by the way, because that works for both males and females, and snails are notoriously sexually ambiguous.

Sammy as a baby, on a slice of cucumber

Sammy a few months later, trying to give someone a manicure

Another factor that works in Ladybirds favour is the supportive press that they get. Having a range of childrens clothing named after you, or being the logo for one of the most famous childrens book titles is a PR coup that money simply can't buy.

So, bearing all that in mind, what advice can be given to spiders, for example, to improve their image so that peoples first reaction to seeing them is not to reach for the nearest newspaper. . .

Advice to Spiders
1) Move slowly
2) Don't bite people and cause them extreme pain. Seriously, the spider community needs to have a word with Black Widows because they are really giving spiders as a whole a bad name, and have been doing so for some time.
3) Spiders need to work on their PR. Here are some ideas to get you started:
i) Form a novely spider team that can spin webs that spell out public safety information messages like "Clunk Click Every Trip".
ii) Maybe get more involved in the community, volunteer to help at charity shops, old peoples homes. Become lollipop ladies, stuff like that.
iii) Get on telly. A spider as host of a chat show would do wonders for your image collectively.
iv) Get a new look. Ladybirds have that cool red-and-black thing going, but spiders are mostly black and a bit hairy. It's not helping. As a suggestion maybe spiders should take advantage of all those legs and go for for the urban Adidas look. Or alternatively they could work with Specsavers and develop an Uncle Spider image, it worked wonders for Worther's Originals.

A jumping Spider. Cute he ain't.

Image Sources
All BFTF's own except Jumping Spider

On re-reading this post, BFTF notes that it could be read in an allegorical way. That wasn't the intention, but does show just how powerful the forces of imagination and framing can be.

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