Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

'Chav-free holidays' defended

Huskies pulling a sled
The company claims its husky safari holidays are 'chav-free'.

Directors of a tour company which sparked controversy with an e-mail offering 'chav-free' vacations, have defended their marketing strategy.

Activities Abroad ran names it believed to be associated with 'chavs' through its database, claiming that none had been on one of its activity holidays.

An e-mail advertising the company's holidays on this basis was sent to 24,000 people, causing offence to some.

Director Alistair McLean said: "It was a tongue-in-cheek e-mail."

'Nuff said'

Activities Abroad made use of research suggesting certain names are often associated with particular demographic segments of the UK population.

They googled names associated with the word 'chav', ran them through their database of past customers and discovered that no Britneys, Dazzas, Biancas, Chardonnays or Candices had ever been on one of their trips.

They found that among common names of people who had were John, Sarah, James, Charlotte and Lucy.

The e-mail added a spin to these findings, claiming the company therefore offered 'chav-free activity holidays'.

It was sent to previous customers and those signed up to the company's mailing list with the sign-off line: "nuff said, innit?".

The e-mail triggered a wave of publicity and controversy after it was reported the email had offended some of the company's customers.

Mr McLean speaking on Radio 5 Live's breakfast programme said: "All this publicity has stemmed from one blog written by one person," he said.

How dare you define and typecast people by their name
Candice

"If you start going to various newspaper websites and the comment pages, we're getting some absolutely fantastic feedback, an immense amount of support and it kind of looks like a lot of people agree with us as well."

Mr McLean said he was standing up for the middle classes.

"Everybody else in our society seems to take from us whether it is incompetent bankers or the shell-suited urchins who haunt our street corners."

According to the company, only 18 people from the 24,000 emailed have written to complain about the e-mail.

Typecast

In response to the blog referred to by Mr Mclean, one 'Candice' wrote: "How dare you define and typecast people by their name.

"I own my own business, have a post graduate degree, an undergraduate degree, 4 A-Levels, an advanced diploma in Life Skills, a diploma in Performance Coaching, GCSEs, speak French and Italian and drive a Merc. Happy slap that".

Northumberland-based Activities Abroad offers trips such as dog sledding, searching for the northern lights in Lapland and white water rafting in Slovenia.



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