Did you invite some friends round for a curry last week to raise money to fight HIV and AIDS in India? Or were you made increasingly aware of Endometriosis, a enigmatic disease of the female reproductive system? Or did you make a special effort to investigate Jewish literature? Probably not, but last week was officially Spice Up Your Life Week, Endometriosis Awareness Week and Jewish Book Week, so maybe you should have done. The country is awash with special awareness weeks, not all of them as worthy as the three I've just mentioned. For example, October is blighted by National Sausage Week, June plays host to National BBQ Week while July sees International Bog Day. Many of these campaigns are merely shameless attempts by corporate PR departments to get us to buy something. All it takes is a headline grabbing survey, a couple of evangelical press releases and a three minute appearance on the GMTV sofa. Anybody could do it, and anybody does.
Here are ten current marketing campaigns. Seven are genuine, while three I've made up. Can you spot the fakes? (either work it out for yourself, or use the very wonderful online resource that is the Count Me In Calendar)
National Ideas Day (14 March): A special day to focus on creativity and innovation in the workplace on the anniversary of Einstein’s birth (and, by coincidence, tomorrow there's a one-day seminar which you might like to attend). Commonwealth Day (14 March): A well-meaning attempt to keep alive an outmoded institution by remembering people from other countries who win more Olympic medals than we do. Water Conservation Week (14-20 March): A national campaign to encourage us not to take baths (but shower instead), not to clean our teeth (with the tap running) and not to flush the toilet (quite so often). Obesity Awareness Week (13-19 March): Eating too much can make you wobbly, which is why TOAST (The Obesity Awareness & Solutions Trust) are launching a special National Obesity Hotline today. National Outdoor Week (12-20 March): Apparently going outside and taking part in various outdoor leisure activities keeps you fit and healthy (although personally I think it just increases the possibility of sustaining a nasty injury and ending up in hospital). National Science Week (11-20 March): A nationwide programme of science, engineering and technology activities - clearly organised by ignorant scientists who really ought to know that a week has seven days, not ten. Mini Roundabout Safety Week (14-20 March): A desperate campaign to teach UK drivers how not to kill passing cyclists when confronted by a small white circle painted in the middle of a road junction. National Bed Month (1-31 March): The annual cynical attempt by the 'Sleep Council' to persuade us to buy a new bed, usually by running a pointless survey hinting that our current bed isn't big/comfy/modern enough. National Frozen Food Month (1-31 March): It's American, this one, based on the frankly feeble premise that "there's no better time to check out your grocery store for some of America's leading freezer favorites". Diamond Geezer Awareness Day (14 March): A recent survey revealed that 99% of the British public have never heard of this blog, let alone read it. You can remedy this shameless state of affairs and increase levels of national optimism by linking to this site today.