Probably not the best

A new era of honesty and self awareness has been ushered in by the revised Carlsberg advertising slogan.  Where the private sector leads will the public sector follow? 


Most people know the slogan whether or not they drink larger. The companies self confident claim to be the best in the world is given a jokey twist by inserting the word “probably”. Now the cleaver people at Carlsberg have updated their advertising slogan in line with a more cynical public by adding just one word after probably-Not. 

A second look at the wording indicates the board may have been nervous about appearing to rubbish their own product so Probably the best larger in the world  now becomes probable not the best beer in the world. So if you wished to you could still argue it was the best larger but not the best beer. Then again it wasn’t being sold as a beer but a larger.


Now that sounds to me very much like a conversation where officers are trying to explain to members why we are changing a way of doing things we previously argued was the best way of doing things. Or the cabinet member and senior managers addressing an audience of concerned cares to explain why they are closing much valued day centres to be replaced by day services which probably won’t offer them as much support but will be better. The same day centres that only a few years ago were the first to get Investors In People status and a big splash in the local rag complete with picture of the leader, cabinet member and local MP ( who has a particular interest in people with a leaning disability as his daughter attends one of the centres). 


Members of course support openness and honest even if the news is unwelcome. But, they ask, does this mean that there are other services that are not as good as we have previously been led to believe? No not at all, officers reply, it’s just that people’s tastes and preferences have changed along with our ability to afford old style services, so in making them more efficient we have also used the opportunity to increase choice and flexibility because that’s what our consultation exercise revealed people wanted. 


What about this plan to bring services in-house which we previously outsourced. 

Are we saying that wasn’t the best decision? It was the best decision at the time. Now a better decision would be to bring them back in-house.


So how should this be presented to a critical media, a demoralised staff and concerned service users , members ask. The leader looks at the chief executive and they reply  “probably not the best we can do “. 


Blair Mcpherson former Director, author, blogger 



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