Volvo has launched a great initiative called LifePaint. It’s come from their belief that road safety shouldn’t just be for the few, but for everyone.

Like all great ideas this invention is brilliantly simple.

It’s a spray can that has smart water in it. You spray it onto your clothes or your bike frame. It’s invisible during the day, but becomes highly reflective when headlights hit it. It’s water-soluble and it lasts about one week from when it’s sprayed on.

Now you see it, now you don’t

It’s part of Volvo’s stated aim that: “By 2020, no person will be killed, or seriously injured, by a new Volvo.”

And you can’t argue with the results.

The spray makes cyclists far more visible. And that’s surely got to be a good thing.

Highly visible when headlights hit the spray

Highly visible when headlights hit the spray

Or so you’d think. While researching this article, I came across a group of people who think that this is a bad idea. And they’re all cyclists. They argue that this is part of the automotive industry’s plan to blame everyone except car drivers. Which I just don’t get. Volvo doesn’t appear, to me, to be blaming anyone. They seem to be genuinely trying to make a difference.

Surely anything that makes cycling safer has got to be a good thing?

Some protesters have suggested that Volvos should be sprayed with LifePaint. Others argue that the paint isn’t particularly effective.

Even the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) seem to be against the paint.

Rosie Downes, Campaign Manager at the London Cycling Campaign, says:

“Life Paint and its accompanying marketing campaigning is a slick idea, but will it reduce road danger? We don’t think so: collisions aren’t caused by cyclists not wearing reflective paint.

“The video tells us that cyclists need to make themselves visible, but neglects to mention that drivers who are not paying attention can and do hit anyone, whatever they are wearing. The money spent on this campaign – and on the product itself – could be much better spent on concrete measures to reduce road danger, by improving street design and tackling driver behaviour – not giving drivers a reason to take less care.”

I don’t see it as giving drivers another reason to take less care.

I see it as a great idea that’s part of the solution to making roads safer. I absolutely agree that driver education is the way forward. But enforcement by the police would make a big difference.

How often do you see people on their phones? How often do you see people in slow-moving traffic texting or using their phones to get online? How often do people drive without paying attention?

These are the things we need to eradicate.

Here’s a great advert from Tower Hamlets that shows how dangerous texting is while driving (it’s as dangerous as driving drunk!). They’ve simplified the problem and then exaggerated it, creating a hugely powerful image that hammers home the point.

Simple yet hugely powerful

Simple yet hugely powerful

Volvo has a history of safety firsts. They’ve been responsible for many safety features we all take for granted nowadays. The first three-point seatbelt. First rear-facing child seat. First to offer side-impact airbags. First to offer a blind-spot information system (that really benefitted cyclists). The list goes on. They are true innovators. You can see more of what they’ve created in this timeline video.

This history of innovation in safety has underpinned their advertising for a long time. I think LifePaint is another area where they’re trying to use smart thinking to make the roads safer. Here are some previous examples:

Designed to crumple and protect the occupants

Designed to crumple and protect the occupants

Volvo cotton wool

Simplify, then exaggerate

A great thought that won loads of awards

A great thought that won loads of awards

One of my writing heroes, putting his money where his mouth is

One of my writing heroes, putting his money where his mouth is

There are a huge number of things we need to improve to help make our roads safer. Driver behaviour and concentration have to be at the top of the list. But anything I can do to improve my chances of being seen while I’m cycling is a great idea by me.

And I think that LifePaint is a great idea. Let’s not forget, Volvo is under no obligation to do this. So let’s try and not be cynical. Let’s embrace a great idea that will help cyclists be more visible and safer.

Hi. We’re Americans and we can’t see the link between having lots of guns and there being lots of people killed by shooting.

It’s a puzzler!

I noticed that a group in the US has started trying to make a difference and shock people into waking up and smelling the cordite. They opened a shop in NYC and started selling guns for the first-time buyer. The twist was that as the salesman told them about the gun he also told them its history and who it had been used to kill. Which is pretty powerful. You can watch the video here.

Not your average gun shop

Not your average gun shop

They produced this clever advert, using the commonly recognised target outline.

Guns destroy families

Guns destroy families

I despair virtually every week when I read of another senseless slaughter in America. You see families ripped apart. The people who are left, trying to make sense of it and wondering why their loved one (normally ones) isn’t (or aren’t) around any more.

There’s a simple solution – get rid of guns.

It’s that fucking simple.

Fewer guns mean fewer deaths.

It’s. Not. Rocket. Science.

There have been some great adverts done in the US to try and get gun controls implemented.

God bless America indeed!

God bless America indeed!

The line reads: All in favour of gun control raise your hand. All against, raise both.

The line reads: All in favour of gun control raise your hand. All against, raise both.

And before you get started on “It’s our unalienable right” blah blah blah, I’ll address that head on.

The Second Amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There, apparently, are two ways to interpret this. The first way (let’s call it the moronic, selfish way) is to argue that an amendment (we’ll come back to that word later, stay tuned) written in 1791 is still valid today and means that lots of people who are of dubious mental state can keep an assault rifle at their whim.

The other way to interpret it (let’s call this the enlightened way) is that it was a law passed to counter the times they lived in (back in 1791). Transport was much slower and communities were far more isolated. So it made sense to have a militia to protect local areas. And arming them made sense too. Law enforcement back then wasn’t around, as such. They relied on local sheriffs who had little in the way of back up. And once criminals left the area there wasn’t a network of officers across the country to tackle them. So protection on the ground was important (and sensible).

Nowadays it makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Twisted logic

Twisted logic

The US has the highest rate of firearms-related homicide in the industrialised world. One study shows that people who carry guns are 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to be killed, compared to unarmed citizens.

On Friday, 2nd October, The Guardian newspaper in the UK printed figures that showed there had been 994 mass shootings in America in 1,004 days. (They defined a mass shooting as four or more people being shot in one incident.)

And it seems Americans just can’t see it.

Here’s a story of something that happened in 1987 to illustrate how fucked up the approach in the US is.

Seven-year-old Michelle Snow was killed in Riverside, California by a stray lawn dart that was thrown by her brother’s friend. The dart was part of a game, aimed at children, in the 1970s and 80s. The game involved throwing large, weighted darts with sharp metal tips at a target placed flat on the ground.

After the accident, Michelle’s father began campaigning to have the dart game banned. He argued that a full-scale ban was necessary – if you banned them in your house a neighbour’s kid could still chuck one over the fence. And he managed to get a US-wide ban (and they were banned in Canada too). It’s still illegal to even assemble a lawn dart in either of the countries. They used the fact that lawn darts had been responsible for over 6,000 emergency room visits in the previous eight years.

It made sense, and the government listened and banned the darts.

Just to recap – that’s one death caused by these darts and a total ban was enforced.

Yet the very same people can’t see that guns present a far greater and immediate danger to their children.

In 2013 a five-year-old boy in the US shot and killed his two-year-old sister. Which is horrific. He did it with a gun that was marketed to children. It was called ‘My first rifle’ and was a .22 calibre gun. Any normal person might expect a public backlash against guns and the consequences of owning them. But no. The NRA (and what a sane, rational lot of folks they are) held its annual meeting where it continued to market firearms and other associated paraphernalia to children. They had NRA bibs for children, ‘youth model’ firearms and books to make your own little psychopath a proper killing machine. And that’s not right, surely?

Let’s call it what it is – it’s fucked up. Totally, utterly, completely, mind-blowingly fucked up. And a huge part of the problem in America is the power of the NRA. And I don’t understand it. They’re outdated, out of touch and desperate to hold on to the big metal dicks in their hands.

The leader of the NRA is often heard stating the same mantra:

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The NRA has 4.5 million members. And they can rely on the backing of arms manufacturers across the US – and we know they’re making plenty of cash. Production of guns in the US saw more than 10.8 million guns manufactured in 2013 (that’s double the total of 2010).

What’s really, really scary is that after a big shooting, the NRA’s membership seems to go up. The Huffington Post reported that, in 2013, “The National Rifle Association’s paying member ranks have grown by 100,000 in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.” This shooting killed 26 people (including 20 young children). And the response? More guns. Yee ha!

And, as the Second Amendment is an amendment, surely that means that there’s scope for a further amendment to change the way the law works? Well, yes and no. They’ve tried to pass laws to make it harder to obtain a gun. And lost. They’ve tried to ban assault rifles and lost. (They managed to get a partial ban for 10 years from 1994, but then the law expired and they’ve not managed to get a new one passed.) And it will keep on happening until someone with a big enough pair of balls stands up to the gun manufacturers and the NRA and faces them down.

Too many US politicians see that the gun industry has financial power and if there’s one thing politicians like, it’s power. So they tend to do what the money tells them to do. Much like politicians around the world – they seem to have forgotten they are elected to represent the people.

Not the companies.

Not the lobbying groups.

The people.

The very same people whose life expectancy is vastly lowered by having so many guns in the country. Perhaps one day a US politician will actually give a fuck and actually make a difference. At the moment they seem to have decided that the NRA is too powerful to challenge, so they’ve stopped even trying.

If someone told you that your child had a better chance of survival if you banned guns, would you ban guns?

Come on people. It shouldn’t be that difficult.

The heart-throb singer from 1D (that’s One Direction for those of us outside their target demographic) has done an awesome thing on the stage at his gig.

While they were on tour in Philadelphia Harry noticed a fan holding a sign that read:

“Hi Harry! Your so nice”

It was held by a 16-year-old at the concert, Taelor Ford.

Harry asked for security to bring the sign to him.

And then he took a marker pen and corrected the spelling.

Excellent work sir.

Harry Styles the teacher

Harry Styles the teacher

If people who youngsters look up to can show that language is important, it’s fantastic. I realise that I’m at risk of sounding like a stickler for spelling and grammar, but come on – it’s not that hard.

Especially your versus you’re.

One indicates possession.

The other’s a contraction of you are.

Here’s another example of how punctuation can derail what you’re trying to communicate.

The power of punctuation

The power of punctuation

It’s a very powerful example of how meaning can change depending on your punctuation. And why you should make sure that every mark you place on the page is doing a job for you.

But it can also cost you a fortune. There’s a legal case from Canada where two companies were arguing over a contract and the outcome came down to the position of one comma. The outcome meant a $1 million (Canadian) windfall for the winners of the case. All because of one comma.

Punctuation is derided and made fun of – marginalised by many and ignored by a few. But it’s a vitally important part of how we make sure we’re understood. And few things look worse than incorrect punctuation on your company’s website (belonging to your company, not many companies – something a few people online fail to notice on a regular basis).

Get it right. Otherwise you’re sure to lose business (and face). Then we might have to send Harry and the boys round.

There are a few simple things you should always do before you think a job is completed.

Read everything out loud. That’s right – out loud. (It forces you to read properly, rather than the skim-reading we do when we generally read.) If you can, get someone else to proofread what you’ve written too. But more than that, try your piece in the place it will be appearing.

I know that it’s easy to think that you’ve thought of everything and covered all the bases.

But until you create your advert / leaflet / app you’ll never know how it actually works.

Here’s a great example of a Conservative election candidate not paying attention to his electoral literature until it’s far too late.

Picture 1: smiling and happy

Picture 1: smiling and happy

Picture 2: Perhaps accurate, but not ideal

Picture 2: Perhaps accurate, but not ideal

Perhaps he was running in Scotland and he thought that self-deprecation might win them a few more votes? Although I suspect it’s just that no one paid enough attention to the leaflets. After all, they’re only leaflets.

However, these leaflets would have been placed through the door of every property in his voting area. And once you add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the others, a small mistake can take on epic proportions.

‘Measure twice, cut once’ is a good friend’s way of making sure this sort of nonsense doesn’t happen to him.

So always make a mock-up of your communication.

Sure it might take a while, but better to spend time on a mock-up rather than ending up with a complete cock-up.

P.S. I checked and Matthew Hancock won the West Sussex seat for the Tories in 2015. He enjoys a 15,000 majority and the next closest party is UKIP. Perhaps they’re just used to having cocks for MPs down there?

I just don’t get why people would post things that simply serve to illustrate their own stupidity.

But it’s amazing how many things that are on Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn etc are not just wrong, but truly idiotic. The internet is like a giant collective memory. So anything you publish online is likely to follow you around forever. Your views are available to anyone who can tap a keyboard. Which is why it’s even more astonishing what you find on social sites.

Last summer, when the Commonwealth Games were on in Glasgow, ScotRail did some lovely advertising to strengthen their sponsorship link with the Games. Here are a couple of the images.

Cambus-langjump

Cambus-langjump

Pole-vault

Pole-vault

They’re lovely. They didn’t cost a lot, as they only changed one sign at the station (so they didn’t confuse visitors to Scotland). I only managed to take a couple of pictures of the stations myself, so I went looking online for the rest of the pics. And on Facebook there were people quite happy to revel in their own stupidity. Comments like “councils wasting money” – thus demonstrating they have no idea how our transport network operates (and is funded).

There’s even one saying “That’s the wrong spelling! Why?”

Now I’m used to people bitching and being nasty / stupid while remaining anonymous online. But to do it logged in as yourself? Let’s hope when they go for a job interview their prospective employer doesn’t look too hard at their online footprint. It’s the online equivalent of running down the street where you live with a dunce’s cap on.

And I saw another example on Frankie Boyle’s Election Autopsy programme. Here are the screen grabs that tell it better than I ever could.

Poland Day 1

Poland Day 1

Poland Day 2

Poland Day 2

Poland Day 3

Poland Day 3

Poland Day 4

Poland Day 4

How dumb are some people? I guess you could put this one down to a simple mishearing. But why wouldn’t you Google something just to make sure before you unleash your stupidity on the world?

I’ve also seen some spectacular examples on LinkedIn. Which, if anything, is even worse. It’s a social site for business. So what you’re doing there is advertising your stupidity not to your pals, but to potential employers. There was a lady a couple of weeks back who was, in all seriousness, stating that a bus advert that was sexist, crass and as far from being creative as it’s possible to get, was a great advert. Her rationale was that no publicity is bad publicity.

I’d argue that, in her case, annoying the very people who are meant to be your audience is not a smart move. Sure you’ll get on the news for a day, but people will still think your company sucks. And it will be online forever.

So before you commit anything to the eternal online world, check you’re not going to look like a giant idiot before you hit ‘post’. Or don’t, if that’s how you choose to live.

I suppose it gives the rest of us something to laugh at.

Everyone knows that it’s useful to have a stretch before starting exercise. But very few people think about doing it with their minds. The brain is thought by scientists to be like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

And that’s why I’d suggest trying a little exercise before important meetings (actually before any meeting, but little steps first).

Read something unusual before you enter a meeting and start presenting your ideas, or trying to convince people of your viewpoint. Try On the Ning, Nang, Nong by Spike Milligan (for example).

On The Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong

Where the Cows go Bong!

and the monkeys all say BOO!

There’s a Nong Nang Ning 

Where the trees go Ping!

And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.

On the Nong Ning Nang 

All the mice go Clang 

And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!

So its Ning Nang Nong

Cows go Bong!

Nong Nang Ning

Trees go ping

Nong Ning Nang

The mice go Clang

What a noisy place to belong

is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

A lovely piece of illustration by Mr Milligan

A lovely piece of illustration by Mr Milligan

It makes your brain actually think before you say the words. Normally your brain looks at the shapes of the words you read, and their context compared to other words, and ‘guesses’ what the words say. If you read something that’s not ‘ordinary’ it forces your brain out of its comfort zone and makes you think.

There’s some amazing research that Cambridge University did that proves your brain reads shapes. So it doesn’t matter what order the letters of words are in, you can still read them. (This is also the reason that block capitals are harder to read than upper and lower case letters – see road signs for proof – no capitals there and they have to communicate really quickly.) Read the copy in the image below. It has all the letters (except the first and last ones) jumbled up. And you can still read it easily. The brain is an amazing thing.

Cambridge University research - your brain is amazing

Cambridge University research – your brain is amazing

So, to make sure your brain is thinking and not just ‘filling in the blanks’ it makes sense to read something that isn’t easily scanned.

And being in a position to think is the perfect place to have your brain for a meeting. I know some people will be thinking “I’m far too busy to do silly things like read Spike Milligan”. Fair enough.

However, I’d counter with “How important is the meeting you’re going to if your brain working well isn’t a prerequisite?”

Try reading something that your brain can’t scan easily. Chaucer, John Cooper-Clarke or Irvine Welsh. They all offer your brain a bit of a challenge. You can try anything that jolts you from the usual comfort zone in which we tend to live.

Just make sure you don’t pick up any language tips from Mr Welsh – not unless you’re on really friendly terms with your audience.

Where to start with John Lennon?

A god to many. An innovator. A philosopher. A rascal. An astounding songwriter. A witty man. A pacifist. A dreamer. A leader. I could go on.

He did so many amazing things before one of life’s obsessive, unstable, out-of-control brigade came along and ended his life.

I recently came across this quote from him. It’s such a great way to look at the world.

John Lennon's fantastic approach to life

John Lennon’s fantastic approach to life

It reminded me of a Great George Bernard Shaw quote:

“Some men see things as they are, and say why?

I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

I love the laser-like single-mindedness of John Lennon’s quote. I love that he stuck to his beliefs and rebuffed his teacher who told him to think the same way as everyone else. We need people who see things differently. We need dreamers and people who see the good in everything. We need more people like John Lennon.

Try it today.

The first problem that comes along, just roll with it. Don’t let it upset you or throw you off your stride. Just step up, deal with it and move on. You might even want to try whistling as you go, just to show others that it’s always possible to remain happy.

It’s just a state of mind. You can be happy too if you think that way.

There’s a lovely example of how tone of voice works in an episode of Have I Got News For You. They’re discussing the class system, and how a new survey has identified seven classes in the UK as opposed to the traditionally acknowledged three.

Alexander Armstrong, who is hosting the episode, asks if anyone is working class and one wag replies “Rather!”.

Cue hysterics from the panel and the rest of the audience. It’s a superb joke because the person who shouted “Rather!” is playing against accepted norms. We would expect someone from the upper reaches of the socio-economic scale to shout “Rather!” as opposed to a person from the so-called working classes.

In this instance they were looking for people to laugh at their uttering. In this case, the inappropriate language is amusing.

It can be dangerous for a company to deviate from their tone of voice. Unless it’s a) done well and b) for a good reason.

If you pull it off you can make it really work for you. Like this ad for The Economist. Traditionally the Economist used a red background with simple white type on it. Here they changed one simple thing and created something much bigger – the advertising equivalent of synergy.

Full of surprises - rather!

Full of surprises – rather!

Tone of voice can seem simple. However it can be hard work to make sure that all your communications speak with the same voice. But it’s always worth doing. Brands that succeed do so in no small part thanks to getting their tone of voice right. But beware, simplicity can be deceptive. With hard work and diligence it’s achievable, and it can lead to great rewards for your brand (and your profit margins).

“Writing is thinking on paper.”

William Zinsser

We all know how to think. And most of us are reasonably OK at talking. We should try to write as we talk. Every business, every organisation and (I believe) every individual needs to influence, persuade and convince people on a regular basis. Life is a series of competitions, so we need to be clear what it is we offer that’s different/better/faster/greener than anyone else.

We have the ability to shape these discussions using words. They’re free, everyone can use them and there’s almost no limit to how you can arrange them to carry your message. Stay true to the way you speak and you’ll not go far wrong. And never fall into the trap of thinking that shouting louder is the way to go. In the long run it will only hurt your brand.

Wise words from Bishop Desmond

Wise words from Bishop Desmond

Our tone of voice is the way we write and speak – it’s what we say and how we say it. Your individual company will know what it wants to say (or it really should know).

How you say it should be determined by your company’s personality. And you can decide how you want to sound. Fresh. Fun. Intelligent. Knowledgeable. Attitudinal. Even dull. That’s right, dull.

Leica Cameras has just made “the most boring film ever”. It’s pretty much 45 minutes of an engineer polishing the aluminium frame of one of their cameras. But it’s a stroke of genius. I’m pretty sure they don’t really expect people to watch the whole 45 minutes. But it does say very quickly that they’re a company that does things properly. Laboriously, meticulously and, yes, boringly. The antithesis of the modern tech companies. And justifying (probably) the vast cost of their equipment. (They’ve also had a huge amount of media coverage due to their unusual approach.)

You need to know your vision. How does your company see things? Where are you heading? And how you want to get there. You need to know your values. What are the principles that your company stands for?

A green energy company will have vastly different values, principles and aims than an oil company. But they may share a number of these, too. Once you take all your values together you’ll be able to work out who your company is, and how you want to communicate with your customers. Once you know that, you can develop your personality.

Imagine the company as a person. How would they act? What would they say? Would you want to have a chat with the company if you met it in the local coffee shop? Ask yourself simple questions about how you want to talk to your customers and you’ll not go far wrong. One place that companies seem to enjoy having a playful tone is on their 404 errors page. Here are some lovely examples.

The North Face 404 message - beware the goats

The North Face 404 message – beware the goats

Space Invaders 404 error - making mistakes more fun

Space Invaders 404 error – making mistakes more fun

Pants down 404 error message

Pants down 404 error message

They’re all different, yet all playful. They realise that this is an opportunity to show that they’re humans – and that they have a sense of humour. As a slight aside, I hate when an error message says “You may have typed the address incorrectly.” What that’s saying to your customers is that you think it’s their fault. For me, that’s a really poor way to handle things. If you must cede some of the potential blame, then try to do it nicely. Something like: “If you typed the address into the address bar, check that it’s spelled correctly.” Or, better still, don’t blame your customer. Help them solve the problem. Give them a link to contact you so you can help them.

It’s a smart move to always put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you’re selling pacemakers it’s unlikely that a cockney barrow-boy is the tone of voice you’ll be aiming for. Likewise, if you’re selling sports shoes you’ll probably not want to sound like Lord Hailsham. Or perhaps you do. It’s up to you. Just make it true to your brand and make it genuine.

And always, always talk to your customers truthfully. The public are like elephants when it comes to lies – they never forget. Which leads me neatly to a great quote from one of my favourite art directors. Helmut Krone worked at DDB in the 1950s and 60s. He is responsible for much of the groundbreaking Volkswagen advertising that changed the way a whole industry talked to its customers. He said: “A little admission gains a great acceptance.” You can see this philosophy at work in a lot of his advertising. Here are just a few of the beautiful VW ads that he gave to the world.

VW. Lemon.

VW. Lemon.

VW. Think small.

VW. Think small.

VW. Makes your house look bigger.

VW. Makes your house look bigger.

And what he meant was that by acknowledging you’re human and that, occasionally, you’ll make a mistake means that your audience see you as a person like them. And that way they’ll be more trusting of you and your messages.

Innocent Drinks has a tone of voice that is often held up as being perfect for their audience. It’s fun, playful and shows that they’re not too worthy. Like this little idea they’ve added to their cartons. (Innocent Drinks went from start-up to selling the company to Coca-Cola within 15 years – making each of the three founders a reported £33 million each. So there’s money to be made from getting your tone of voice spot on.)

Innocent Drinks. Making bottom jokes.

Innocent Drinks. Making bottom jokes.

Try it. Talk honestly to your customers. Give them the warts and all story. You’ll find they’ll like you more for it, as will your finance director as your profits increase.

An 11-year-old boy from Lurgan in Northern Ireland is in the running to win the SPFL goal of the month award for January. Jay Beatty’s penalty is competing with another nine goals for the title. It’s the first time a goal by a fan has been included in the competition.You can watch the goals below.

He was a guest of Celtic at their game against Hamilton Academical. He was in the dressing room before the game giving an inspirational team talk to the Celtic players. And at half-time he took a penalty and scored in front of over 6,000 people. Both sets of fans at the game sang his name as he scored. Which, in itself, is amazing.

What’s even more amazing is the Jay has Down’s Syndrome. And the most lovely bit of it all is that people are referring to Jay as Jay, not as the boy with Down’s Syndrome.

Jay celebrating his goal

Jay celebrating his goal

He’s currently trending on social media and the clip has been watched almost 300,000 times. A quick look at previous goal of the month clips on the official SPFL channel shows they’re watched between 4,000 and 5,000 times.

Someone, somewhere has had the great idea of raising awareness that people with Down’s are still people. And it’s worked – in an astounding way.

Jay has a history with Celtic. It started when Georgios Samaras, the former Celtic striker, became friends with Jay due to his unstinting support of the team. Samaras celebrated goals with Jay and took him on the team bus. He even presented Jay with his league winner’s medal and took Jay on the lap of honour after they’d won the title. And Jay took it all in his stride.

When Greece were about to play their final group game at the 2014 World Cup against Ivory Coast, Jay sent a message of support to them due to his friendship with Samaras.

Greece won 2-1 with Samaras winning a penalty in injury time and converting it himself. Samaras then talked about Jay in the post-match interviews and thanked him for his inspiration and support. The Greek fans then started a campaign to get Jay to Brazil for their last-16 match. Unfortunately Jay and his family were just about to go on holiday and couldn’t accept the invitation.
It’s an amazing story.

There’s a lesson for us all here – treat everyone with respect. Every single person has feelings and we should all try and be a bit nicer to each other. Difference is what makes the world we live in an interesting place. If we were all a little less selfish and followed Georgios Samaras’s example the world would be a far better place.

Share Jay’s story and inspire more people to be better people in their day-to-day lives.

You can help add another amazing chapter to his story by voting for Jay to win the goal of the month award. Vote here and put another smile on an amazing kid’s face.

P.S. Judging by the comments under the video wee Jay is a shoe-in for winning the goal of the month award. Well done wee man.

P.P.S. Jay got 97% of the votes cast – so he not only won it but had the highest winning margin. Ever. Of any goal of the month award. Anywhere on planet earth.

I guess my only question is: ‘How bitter are the 3% who didn’t vote for him?’