4th June 2010
According to Aviva, life's no different today than it was a decade ago.
Its ‘in-depth' study of 10 years' worth of data shows that Mr and Mrs J. Average have two cars (one of which is a Ford Fiesta), like to holiday in Spain, don't smoke, but do like to eat dinner in front of the TV.
On a 32 inch Toshiba apparently.
What a load of old rubbish. I know this was perfectly timed so that it was splashed all over the papers the day after the bank holiday, when lazy news editors would be willing to fill the pages with anything they can, but this sort of PR puff must make even Daily Mail readers squirm.
David Tyers, director of marketing at Aviva was quoted as saying : "With a new form of government in Number 10 and the economic situation still in turmoil it obviously feels as if everything is changing around us.
"So in some ways it's comforting to know that over the past decade some things have remained very much the same."
Doesn't that make you feel all cosy and warm?
No? Me neither.
As Matthew Vincent in the Financial Times had the wherewithal to point out; having already spotted that this sounded more like the plot of an episode of Midsomer Murders: "behind these chintzy exteriors lies a dark secret: Britain's households have changed enormously in their levels of debt-fuelled spending."
Everything's changed. Our spending, our saving, our use of technology (heard of the iPad, Aviva?).
So come on, Mrs Smith might like to watch Eastenders, and Mr Jones no doubt likes a swift half at the pub with Mr Edwards once a week, but life's not all chocolate box cottages and simple pleasures.Next they'll be expecting us to believe that BP has only the world's environmental interests at heart.
A hell of a lot's changed over the past decade. In fact, a hell of a lot's changed over the past 18 months alone. And it's showing no sign of settling down into the Aviva idyll. Ever.