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Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog! Cheeky Weekly ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Ads – John Menzies

The shops of retailer John Menzies were, in terms of stock, very similar to those of WH Smith. Books, magazines, comics, records and stationery filled the shelves in outlets of both companies. WH Smith placed 11 adverts in the pages of Cheeky Weekly, only one of which featured in two issues. John Menzies placed two ads in the toothy funster's comic, both of which were the same.

  
The above ad appeared in the run-up to Christmas 1978 (issues dated 18 and 25 November), and a glance at the banner would suggest Menzies were promoting toys linked to the Star Wars phenomenon which had developed since the first film made its UK debut a year earlier. However, there's not a Vader, Skywalker or droid to be seen - the ad promotes a selection of boxed games. Pursuits of this type would be usurped by the silicon-chipped gadgetry proliferating in homes across the country before too long.

The highly inflationary economy of the late 70s meant that retailers often included small print intimating that prospective purchasers may like to pack some extra cash before venturing out, as the prices shown may no longer apply by the time they got to the shops. WH Smith did the same in their Cheeky Weekly ads.

The Scottish name Menzies is, I understand, often pronounced 'mingiss' by those north of the border. Most people in the London area pronounced the name to rhyme with 'frenzies'. The company provides their own pronunciation guide here.

Debate on the high street over how the name should be spoken became somewhat irrelevant after John Menzies' retail outlets were bought by WH Smith (wisely choosing a name over whose enunciation there was little dispute) in 1998. Menzies continue to operate distribution and aviation businesses.

2 comments:

  1. When I was growing up in Epsom the town had a Menzies not a Smiths - and it seems any corporate guidance on the name had not made it to the staff on the shop floor. Visits to my grandparents in Edinburgh meant occasionally using the large Menzies there - and I can't recall hearing "Ming-iss" at all in those days or being corrected when I said "Men-Zees". It was only when Menzies Campbell became someone that the media had to feature regularly that this one gained much attention down south.

    The reason behind the different spelling and pronunciation is because of sloppy transliteration in the early days of print. The name was spelt with a character called a "yogh" but early printers substituted a Z and this has led to the alternate pronunciation gaining a degree of correctness through use. More detail at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4595228.stm

    My local Menzies was so similar to Smith's that when bought out they had no grand transformation or change in what was sold and instead just discretely replaced the facade logo then used natural replacement to handle stock, labels, uniforms and bags. Even a year later you could still find price labels that had used the Menzies tool.

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    1. Interesting. I seem to remember something on QI about how the 'y' in the antiquated word 'ye' was a replacement for a now-extinct character which was pronounced 'th'.

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