There were a few surprises on the opening day of the ECR Europe conference in Glasgow, not least the shocking sight of Unilever's Antony Burgmans and Marks and Spencer's Luc Vandevelde striding on to the stage in kilts. I am glad to say the kilts ­ made of a newly created ECR tartan ­ were quickly replaced by more conventional attire. And I am reliably informed the kilts were not supplied by M&S. The award for most fortuitous product placement goes to TM Retail. One of its new McColl's c-stores is located slap bang in the middle of the SECC. Perfect showcase for all those retailers, suppliers and consultants. At the Superbrands Tribute Event 2001, there were a few gems about the power of brands. David Haigh, chief exec of consultancy Brand Finance, told the story about a shopkeeper faced with Tesco on one side and Asda on the other. Renaming his store Entrance solved his problems. But at the start of the awards ceremony, TV presenter Alice Beer who compèred the event, mysteriously intimated she had clashed with one of the winners on the BBC Watchdog programme. Only at the last knockings did Coke's director of communications Andrew Coker own up that he was the one interrogated by Alice when he worked for Tesco. Thank heaven it wasn't Anne Robinson. If we were giving our own awards, Gary Rhodes would have got the monster ego of the year award for chastising the audience for being there instead of watching him on TV, for plugging his restaurant and smarmily angling for another Tate & Lyle deal. Yuk! {{COUNTERPOINT }}