The last few days have been something of a roller-coaster of emotions for me, as I continue my struggle to establish whether or not there really are thousands of uses for Blu-Tack.

Firstly, having recovered from my shocking discovery, I contacted UHU. Their English language site is still under construction, and although they have a very small UK site, the contact form on their website doesn’t seem to work very well (or at all), and I wasn’t able to find an email address. As a result, I had no choice other than to fill out the Kontaktformular on the German website:

Hi,

I recently bought a pack of UHU White Tack and noticed that according to your packaging, White Tack has “thousands of uses”. I was just wondering if you perhaps had a list of all these uses, as I have struggled to think of more than fifty possible uses for your product and so am obviously missing quite a few.

Thanks,
James

I didn’t have much hope of getting a response to be honest, so I was thrilled when a couple of days later, I saw an email appear in my inbox from someone at UHU. My excitement quickly turned to frustration, however, as soon as I read their response.

Dear Mr. Ward,
Thank you for your inquiry on UHU White Tack. There are really multiple applications of UHU White tack such as fixing posters, postcards, memos, pencil boxes, decorations, photos and much more but we do not have a real list of applications at hand. Maybe our German UHU patafix Web-site (UHU patafix is the brand name use in Germany for UHU White tack) can give you some inspiring ideas of how to use the product in a creative way of which you right now have not thought yet. If you click on “I love patafixer” you will find our 4 patafixer teenagers who really use patafix in a creative way (http://www.uhu-patafix.de/). I hope this will be helpful for you.

Best regards,
Simone

Sound familiar? This is exactly the same story Bostik tried to fob me off with. Yes, I KNOW there are multiple applications for White Tack; as I said in my original email, I had counted more than fifty (this is actually based on the number of uses I had established for Blu-Tack a while ago. I’m assuming all of these also hold true for White Tack as well). I’m not asking whether or not White Tack is versatile, I know it’s versatile, I just want to know if there is any truth to their claim that it has “thousands of uses”. And so it begins again.

Fortunately though, there has been some good news. I feel like I’m really getting somewhere with Bostik. Michelle and I are really bonding. I think it’s safe to say she admires me. Perhaps even loves me slightly. I’m sure she looks forward to my emails.

After her last email to me, I wrote back and explained precisely what the issue was:

Hi Michelle,

Sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply. I’ve been a bit busy, you know how it is!

I thought the artwork you sent through was very creative and illustrates the many ways in which Blu-Tack can be used, but at the same time, it highlighted the precise point I’ve been trying to make all along.

The artwork you sent me describes Blu-Tack as a “multi-purpose re-usuable adhesive”, this is certainly true. My problem is that your packaging states that Blu-Tack has “1000s of uses”. This is a different, and specific, claim. I still haven’t seen or heard anything which backs up this claim. Blu-Tack does have many uses, it is very versatile, but does it have thousands of uses, rather than simply hundreds of uses or dozens of uses? This is what I am trying to clarify.

I noted with interest that another product, WD-40, makes a similar claim, however, they have actually compiled a list of over two thousand applications for their product (http://www.wd40.co.uk/media/images/a/8/LIST_OF_2_000_USES.pdf).

Perhaps Bostik could follow their example and produce a similar list?

Regards,
James

Now, in all honesty, the WD-40 list leaves a lot to be desired. Many of the uses listed are pretty spurious to say the least, and I’ll be raising this issue with WD-40 in good time. For example, I question whether or not this can really be considered a valid use for WD-40:

This seems overly specific:

And surely this:

And this:

Are just specific examples of this:

I didn’t mention any of this to Michelle of course. Some might say I was acting disingenuously, I would say I was being strategic. And I think the tactic worked. Michelle replied today:

Hi James

I hope you have had a nice week and looking forward to the weekend.

I am really glad to hear that you agree that Blu-Tack is indeed a multi-purpose product but obviously disappointed that you do not agree that Blu-Tack has indeed 1000s of uses – or at least maybe you do agree, but want to see these in writing?

We have been asked this question many times before but most have been appeased! – but please bear with me.

The thing is that Blu-Tack uses tend to be so personal and so random to the user that it is hard to identify specific uses. I can only say that by way of the numerous letters and emails we have received over the years stating their uses, that this gives us full confidence that Blu-Tack does in fact have 1000s of uses.

The thing is – Blu-Tack is all about fun, creativity and imagination – this is what we say about the brand. Now if we were to come up with 1000s of suggestions for people then it would kind of take a little bit of that magic away. Also on the same note, we kind of feel that who are we to suggest what to do with your Blu-Tack? I hope that makes sense.

It’s not about stating a random claim just to “big up” our product – as I said we’re a genuine company.

What we have done as part of our website http://www.blu-tack.co.uk is to put an area on the site where consumers can load up their own suggestions for Blu-Tack as well as their models and animations (other good uses for Blu-Tack). Please check it out – I hope you like it.

I was not long ago sent a rather large list of uses by a customer which I would forward however, quite a number of them were not really suitable for publication – but were read with much interest and amusement the team here.

However, having said all this above if you are still not satisfied then I can do something further. This week I spent a day with my counterparts from Bostik Australia and Bostik South Africa. Both have said that they have lists of thousands of uses for Blu-Tack by way of competitions they have run and both said they will send me a copy once they return to their respective countries.

Therefore, when I will receive them, I will happily forward the lists which I hope will then give you the confidence in us that our 1000s of uses claim is correct.

Kind regards
Michelle

I must say, when Michelle mentioned how listing the thousands of uses for Blu-Tack would take away some of its magic, I was quite moved. And such modesty! Even Bostik, the people who make Blu-Tack, don’t want to prescribe how it should be used. I look forward to receiving the lists from Michelle’s international counterparts; but when I get the list, I might not read it. I want to keep the magic alive.

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