I keep an emergency jar of instant fairtrade coffee in my cupboard. Having recently encountered several emergencies the stock was replenished, this time with Traidcraft Medium Roast.
On the back of the jar is a curious request to your average ethically-aware caffeine consumer: ‘WARNING: Do not go to www.geoactive.co.uk‘.
This is clearly the Pandora’s Box of product labelling. Asking not to visit the web address without giving a valid reason is just asking for coffee drinkers the world over to ensure this is EXACTLY the first thing they do when arriving home.
Had Traidcraft added we should not visit it because it was, variously, a competitor’s website, had been taken over by porn merchants , was an intricate scam designed to purge the liberal middle-class of their guilt by encouraging them to part with cash for non-existent products, or just simply slightly crap, then that would have been fine. We would have nodded sagely, understanding, and the traffic to this site would have markedly decreased.
Naturally I typed the address into my browser as soon as I’d turned my computer on to see why I should desist from visiting, and was sorely disappointed. There were no obscene images , nor did it appeared to have been designed by a 3-year-old with no grasp of HTML.
In fact it looked suspiciously similar to Traidcraft’s ‘official’ site. I checked their news section to see if geoactive was an elaborate scam. Nothing. Not a sausage, fair trade or otherwise.
Now here comes the supposition on my part. If this was a marketing tool designed to up site traffic it was an incredibly clever one. Whilst the human race is supposedly intelligent, it is also stupid enough that if you leave them in a room with a red button with instructions that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are they to touch this button, they’ll press it the minute you walk out of the door . And so it follows if you try to ban something by telling people it will corrupt their very soul to see it, naturally you’ll double first night ticket sales, and telling the consumer that, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, should they visit geoactive.co.uk, you’re guaranteed success.
Maybe I credit Traidcraft with too much marketing nous, but all it needs is one clever marketing man who understands the red button and knows not to touch it, and those who do not comprehend the red button duly follow, like sheep.
Of course, the evolution of the advertising campaign will ensure that some slightly less than bright spark, who comprehends the red button but knows nothing of its powers, will use this to create ‘irony’, after which the trick will be lost for ever . But then capitalism’s loss may just be intelligent life’s gain.
 I do apologise for this, even if I wouldn’t have the first clue have to make such technically skilled images, let alone find the models. I’m still ignorant as to how, but have spent a good deal of time apologising to people who viewed C&P at work and, no doubt, will continue to do so.
 This wasn’t the reason I was disappointed. Honestly! If I wanted that type of thing I’d just have to type ‘hot lesbian ass sucking’ into Google and could have clicked away to my heart’s content. Not that I’ve even done that either.
 This may be a reason why intelligent life has never properly made contact with us. After abducting a few hicks, Little Green Man 1 turns to his partner and says, “Ack, dfsakzaiau, it is no good. If they cannot even master the red button test there is no hope for them. Let us bequeath our technology to somebody who truly deserves it.”
 Stupid as the human race can be, they’ve evolved to such a stage where they can see straight through a company that claims to be your ‘friend’.