Business Diary: October 8

Beckham lookalike that Asda is using its its ads.
Beckham lookalike that Asda is using its its ads.
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Asda doesn’t like paying over the odds for anything – least of all its advertising campaigns.

So when the latest ads appeared for its new George clothing range there were a few raised eyebrows.

How on earth had the marketing department got away with recruiting multi-millionaire and former England skipper David Beckham?

Maybe the accountancy bods at Asda House had the day off, Diary wondered.

But the truth is far more simple.

Asda has recruited a David Beckham lookalike to star in its new campaign.

Asda said it was just a coincidence that the model is the ex-footballer’s double.

Arch-rival Sainsbury’s apparently isn’t impressed as Becks is an ambassador for them and has featured regularly in Sainsbury’s advertising campaigns.

Some shoppers thought Becks had switched sides when they saw the autumn-winter catalogue for the George range.

Asda spokesman Leah Spears said the supermarket cast its own models and added: “We hadn’t actually noticed this before. It’s just pure coincidence but we have to admit he is a very lucky guy. He does look a bit like Beckham.”

Asda shopper Iris Mary Burtwell posted this on the group’s website: “He’s better looking and hopefully not covered in hideous tattoos.”

Another shopper June Hicks said: “I thought it was David. Will the men in my life look like this if I bought the jumper? Lol.”

We can but hope June...

A rough time...

MEMBERS of a Leeds business networking group were no doubt a little less alert than usual at a recent meeting – after having arrived straight from a night spent sleeping rough in the city.

The sponsored ‘sleep-out’ was organised by charity Simon On The Streets, whose general manager Helen Beachell joined the BNI Network Central business networking group three months ago.

She was delighted when nine other members offered to join her for a night in sleeping bags and cardboard to raise money for the cause. The networkers all went directly from the sleep-out, which took place from 9.30pm, to their weekly 6.30am meeting the following day at Weetwood Hall.

Network Central’s membership secretary, Keeley Edge, of Key Appointments, was one of those who took part in the sleep-out.

“Some people think we’re crazy to meet that early every Friday, but there is a great atmosphere at the meetings and – as this event demonstrates – all the members are really supportive of each other,” she said.

“The motto of BNI is ‘givers gain’, and that is something that all our group members take very seriously.”

Keeley explained there was no question of the nine members missing the meeting.

She continued: “It was a new experience for all of us to go to a networking meeting without sleep or showers, but we got a great reception from the other members and visitors.

“The sleep-out was a fantastic event to take part in and definitely makes you realise how hard it must be to sleep rough every night.

“Although it was a fairly mild night I could not get over the cold. I was wearing three layers and had a sleeping bag and ear muffs and could not get warm.”

The Network Central members raised more than £2,500 towards the total of £14,500 that was generated by the 120 members of the Leeds business community who took part in the event.

An independent man

WHEN he arrived in Bradford, on a chilly day in 1960, Amjad Bashir wondered where the sun had gone. Eight-year-old Amjad, who couldn’t speak English, missed his home in the Punjab.

His family, along with thousands of others, had come to Bradford to find work in the mills. Fifty-three years later, Mr Bashir is a respected entrepreneur at the helm of the Zouk restaurant chain.

He’s now entered politics, and will probably become a familiar face on our TV screens in the run-up to the General Election.

Mr Bashir has been appointed UKIP’s Small Business spokesman by the party’s leader Nigel Farage.

Announcing the appointment recently, Mr Farage said: “To have somebody with such a shining track record in the creation and running of small businesses as our spokesman on the subject shows that we as a party are talking the language of those we hope to represent.”

Mr Bashir said: “As someone who has created a number of businesses from scratch I am very well aware of the difficulties our entrepreneurial class face.”