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Desert Island Brands - David Gray

A chance to pick five brands that you would like to find washed up on the beach if you were a castaway. What would you choose and why? Design consultancy Pemberton & Whitefoord asks David Gray, planning director of Creative Leap.

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1. Survival essential
Making a shelter, finding food and attempting to escape are going to be high on your agenda -- so which brand will you find most useful in your attempt to tame the great outdoors?
As a bit of a closet outdoorsman/survivalist I would want to take my (Army Model) Swedish Firesteel. A minimum of 12,000 guaranteed sparks to create life giving fire to warm those lonely nights and grill my wide selection of freshly caught fish. It even works in the rain!

2. Last taste of civilisation

The island has a plentiful supply of nuts and fruit, not to mention a healthy population of fish, so you will have plenty to eat. But which one food brand are you really going to miss from your old life?
PG tips - The first, by no means the only but still the best drink of the day.

3. Best reminder of home
Successful survivalists always claim that it is mental attitude which sees them through. Belief that you will get back home is going to be vital -- so which brand will sum up home best?
My Komin Yamada Global Knives: The kitchen is the heart of our home and as chief cook and bottle washer, I take great pleasure in preparing and enjoying food with my wife and two children. Having my knives would be both a powerful reminder of family mealtimes at home and a very practical compliment to the Swedish Firesteel.

4. Most welcome online brand
Eventually you manage to rig up your own connection to the internet using bits and pieces found on the beach but you have only one chance to log on to a website before it goes down -- which online brand will you choose? I'd ask Virgil Tracy to bring my family out in Thunderbird 2 with a pod full of supplies and essential items for an extended holiday.

5. Ultimate luxury
Self indulgence is hard to come by on a desert island, so what brand would you be most excited to find washed up on the beach?
A case of The Balvenie -- a bittersweet reminder of home to while away the long evenings around the camp fire and a highly combustible "cheat" if I'm too bladdered to get the Firesteel to work in the rain!

6. Transferable skills
You already work in the jungle of marketing so there are probably skills which you have acquired through your job which will come in handy -- or you may have other hidden talents. Which of your personal skills will help you to get to grips with life on a desert island?
Surviving the challenges of living on a desert island will not doubt require the same sort of combination of inspiration and perspiration that are needed to deal with the varied and complex issues that are thrown at us business. I'd actually really rather relish the challenge (that survivalist/alliteration streak again) and I'm sure those breakthrough ideas would flow more easily without the constant interruption of email and mobile phones.

Designer and desert island survival expert Adrian Whitefoord comments:
What a cool choice is this Swedish Firesteel -- I want one of these. So, now we know how rain-soaked squaddies on Dartmoor survival courses still manage to brew up and perhaps, if they are lucky, even cook the worms they have collected! You can't beat this. Only £12.95 and easy as pie to use - just scrape the metal striker down the firesteel to generate a shower of sparks hot enough to ignite tinder dry materials and it's also guaranteed to work 12,000 times. God that must have been a soul destroying job road testing the prototype -- "that's 11,999 and still sparking sir!" I'm pleased that David is going to put his sparky device to good use - freshly caught fish over an open fire -- can't beat it. Oh, by the way, the Firesteel is also apparently favoured by survivalist Ray Mears -- but never mind I still like it.

PG Tips - here's a man after my own heart. Keep it simple and keep it down to earth. No speciality flavoured teas here for David. Sorry Twinings, you lost out this time, but to a worthy opponent.

Global Knives are an iconic choice. Not just beautifully designed but also incredibly well made -- a 3D dictionary definition of the word "ergonomic". The Japanese designer Komin Yamada looks to nature for his inspiration and creates a genuine harmony between the person and the utensil. David is obviously looking at these with the appreciation of both designer and chef. The pure harmony of a clean lined design with the values of a good, professional tool are irresistible. They are indeed a very practical compliment to the Firesteel -- so far David's chances of survival are looking pretty high as a result of these very practical choices.

You are obviously a big 'Thunderbirds' fan David so I'm really sorry we aren't marooning you on Tracy Island. But, using the trusty Firesteel you'll probably organise a beacon fire in next to no time and I'm sure the international rescue boys would be able to scoop you up in one of their fantastic machines. Oh! stop it Adrian you know it's only a kids TV show - but you can still dream can't you? Anyway, good choice David - I've always loved 'Thunderbirds' since I was a kid and if I was marooned I'd love to be able to log on to a website and it just so happens that is for sale. Fancy a joint venture creating the best Thunderbirds site ever?

The Balvenie is a fantastic drink and the brainchild of William Grant who, legend has it, always whistled loudly when he moved around his distillery, especially when approaching a warehouse where he might have stumbled on one of the workers extracting a dram from a convenient cask - bosses like that are pretty thin on the ground aren't they? I agree David, a bottle of this and you'd stop worrying about whether your fire is still alight or whether Virgil Tracy is going to reach you in time.

So what are David's chances of survival? Pretty good I'd say. Here we have a man that is practical and down to earth but who is also capable of meeting a challenge head on and coming up with a few nifty ideas that will help get him off the island sooner rather than later. See you at the next 'Thunderbirds' convention David.
Creative Leap is one of the UK's leading branding and communication agencies. The company specialises in corporate and packaged branding for clients such as, COI, Capita Group, Mars Four Square, Reckitt Benckiser, Pfizer, Pernod Ricard and Alliance Unichem's Almus brand -- winner of a DBA Design Effectiveness Award.

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