Saturday, October 04, 2008

Why I love this advert, but not *this* advert. Why *Great* Britain is Great: it's all about bread'n'butter, apparently.

Ahhh, images of Britain. Ingerland, wherever, our green and pleasant land! Hurrah. 122 years of history. Great! I'm proud already. Except of course, as it's a Hovis advert, it's not the green and pleasant part we're celebrating, it's the gritty urban part.

The new Hovis bread advert. Let the voice of the Daily Mirror explain:

"[The boy's] travels take him down Victorian streets, past a Suffragette protest, and alongside soldiers heading off to the First World War. He gets a glimpse of the swinging 60s, sees the unrest of the mid-80s, and the fireworks to herald the Millennium. All the while, clutching his loaf of Hovis. The bike is gone. So, too, is the Dvorak music - replaced by a piece by Manchester act Working For A Free Nuclear City." [from]

Just wow. Dvorak replaced by a band with a name that even now makes me angry. Those signs that were dotted around Manchester city centre throughout the 80s & early 90s. Emblems of the completely pointless political activities of Manchester city council. Lefty that I am, there never seemed much point in the whole *Nuclear Free City* thing. I had a good mind to borrow a few missiles off the Soviets and store them in my wardrobe in my bedroom in Whalley Range. That wudda showeded em. Nuclear free my buttocks. Anyway ...

This advert. Great. Sweeping. Epic. Events. Up & downs. Celebrated by all the papers. The lefty-ish ones & the right-wing ones that hate virtually the whole world. Even I am impressed and I hate everything just for the sake of it. But this lovely thing...

Each decade represented by an appropriate event. Huzzah! 1970s = the Queen's jubilee & an Asian couple walking past a TV shop. And the 1980s gets the Miners' strike.

Yeah, that's right. Not some lame yuppie parody: a scene with housebrick sized phones being used by toffs in open topped cars like something from Ashes to Ashes - nahhh. Let's have a bit more of a revisionist representation of the time.

[The Hovis Ad Execs discuss their ideas for the campaign in their *Blue Sky Thinking* room in Soho, months ago]

- How about we get 200 burly blokes dressed up as angry miners and another 150 to dress up like angry riot police.

- Hmmm. This is a bread advert. Is that the sort of image we want to show. Violence? Class warfare? Blood. Scabs. Hatred. I mean poverty, I like. The romance of not having enough to eat, sure. But can we do something, something, I d'know, happier? Bread related?

- Then. Ok. Then! We get the running bread boy to scamper amongst them - just before they start killing each other - kinda like a reference to *Billy Elliot* right?

- Yeh. I get it now! Kewl!!! Can he dance a little too - or would that be copyright infringement. Marcia? Can you do a legal check for us? Are dancing proletarian boys copyright?

- It may be a little *close*, Giles. How about he just runs. Running is the new dancing, isn't it?

- Or cycling!!! The Olympics. Cycling is the new running. No? Or too retro? Leave the cycling?

It is odd. Cos the striking miners & plod are just about to really have it. Heads will be broken after the boy has scampered off. The ground is already littered with half-bricks (or are they discarded chunks of Hovis?). Either way, what an odd image.

To sell bread with. I give them *props* for either their apolitical naivity or for this blatant neo-socialist bit of propaganda.

*Never forget the time when we had to fight for our daily bread.*

[The Country Life Butter Ad Execs discuss their ideas for the campaign in their *Blue Sky Thinking* room in Soho, months ago]

- Nowadays, class is not an issue. Look at Cameron & Boris! Boris! People love the upper class fools, don't they?

- But they love idiot commoners too. Look how popular Eastenders is!

- Come on, Nikki, we can't set the new advert in the East End. *Country Life*? Hello?

Silence. Nobody moves.

- How about a prole dressed up as a toff? Eating butter?

- Or a member of the royal family having a *Chav party*? Smearing butter all over his shaved gonads. Yeah, sure! Ha ha ha. I wonder if we could get Prince Harry. He's a laugh. Up for it. Come on, guys. Cows riding pushbikes. It's a damn good idea!

-Here's an idea - why don't we get an old punk to dress up like Toad of Toad Hall? Yeh? I'm thinking Johnny Rotten. Y'know, him off *I'm a Celebrity*? Or else we go with Biggins.

- It's a thought. They're both old pantomine dames. O I know Johnny, he'll love it! I betcha he'll go for it. Nikki, you are a genius. I love you! What say we celebrate with a cheeky line?

- If we offer him enough money, he really might go for it. O, Country Life will never go for it, but let's fly it up the ole fly pole and see if it catches light... Guys? Hey you guys, do I not get any?

Well good luck to John L. No one can accuse him of selling out, cos all Johnny ever wanted was the cash. He was a pirate so no reason why he shouldn't get paid. Except this is an advert with a very short shelf life. Funny for about 12 seconds. Another odd one all the same...


  1. Wow. 30 seconds of John Lydon and I didn't feel the need to toss the laptop out the window once.

    Gotta be a new record.

    I like the Hovis ad, it's well done, although I'm waiting for Scottish Pride to do some Irn Bru-esque parody with startling events from Scottish history made funny. Jacobites, Bruce, Parliament, starring Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. Actually, I'd like that too.

  2. pedantic point: Ingerland is not not not not not not not a synonym for Britain.

  3. I totally agree, MD, Ingerland (my preferred spelling - after Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale) - not Britain, but whilst the Mirror (and other papers) say that the ad shows us 122 years of British history, there's not much sign of anything specifically Scottish or Welsh. It's the history of a mythical northern Ingerlish town.
    Whether that is acceptable in this day and age of devolution as a 'representative image' is another thing, entirely. I was merely flippantly mirroring the flippant interchange between Brit/Eng that the PR people for the ... O, I've lost the will to live... I am unable to explain myself in less than 1000 words. I wish I could just write a Haiku. That made sense.

  4. I think you should start communicating entirely in haikus. You'd need to be quick at composing them for face to face conversations, but hey, you'd be really memorable.

    The Hovis thing's always been northern, I guess they can get away with it. I would wager that our papers (Scottish Mirror, Scottish Mail etc) don't say anything about it at all because of that.