The best headline – ever

Posted on October 8, 2011

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I bet a huge proportion of bloggers use their first or second entry to say why they’re blogging. I’ll explain all that at some point. Just not right now.

Instead, wanted to get an anecdote off my chest, something that relates to current events in the business technology world but also that world in the late 1990s. And football, naturally.

This season when I watch Spurs games on TV I can’t help notice one of their sponsors is Autonomy. It’s also a big tech story this year that HP is buying the UK software company. Despite various woes at HP the deal would appear to be done. (My colleague @rupertg wrote a good piece when HP lost its last CEO a few weeks back basically saying that nothing as small as the boss going stood to derail the deal.)

Now – for those who don’t remember – HP was a Spurs shirt sponsor back in the 1990s. The real point of this post is to point out the wit of a colleague at the time, while we were working on tech publication silicon.com.

The news was that Spurs were dropping HP and going back to a beer company as sponsor (teams had beer endorsements back then the way they have betting exchanges now). The company was Holsten, arguably the club’s most famous sponsor. And at the time, Lord Sugar (don’t think he was  Lord back then) was the chairman.

So… as we thought about putting a hed on that particular nib (= news in brief), what did we come up with? Colleague and deputy news editor John Oates nailed it:

Sugar Turns To Alcohol

…which is not only a reference to the chairman, change and beer but – of course – Holsten’s slogan.

And now I can just get on with seeing how the whole HP-Autonomy-Cambridge-etc thing plays out.

PS As a footnote to this, nowadays any publication, certainly an online one, wouldn’t dare carrying a headline like that, crediting the reader with intelligence and having a smile. In terms of SEO – search engine optimisation, AKA getting eyeballs on your stuff – that headline would be no match for something as exciting as ‘Spurs sign Holsten and ditch HP as sponsors’.

PPS I don’t support Spurs.

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