I'm going to return in this post to one of my favourite topics - adverts. I've shyed from this subject for a while, simply because The Guardian Guide does demolition jobs on them so well. In a way, I feel writing on the same or similar topic feels just like aping, even though it's a tried and tested literary thing. Now, of course Advertistan is a fairly easy target, comprised as it is of stereotypes, models, cliches, fantasies, lazy thinking and fatuous claims, all played out under an eternal sunshine, but it's a sunday evening after a long tiring day and I can't be arsed aiming at anything else. Besides, I just want to put my own point of view on something.
The object of my ire is Boots' 'Here come the girls' advert. OK, it was a memorable ad a couple of years ago, but this year's version (and the scary thing is that this campaign seems destined to run and run) pokes a finger through the thin membrane of what we laughingly call reality and finds nothing inside, save a little dirt (apologies to Joseph Conrad for that stretching of a phrase). In other words, it's totally unrealistic. Here's the premise: an elderly couple are having a meal in an otherwise abandoned restaurant, possibly Italian. Next to them is a large table, clearly reserved. Suddenly, in burst a group of what are mainly women, obviously on an office do. I say mainly, as there does appear to be at least one bloke among them. They give each other gifts. One of the women is pregnant, and gets a gift of two 'In the Night Garden' hand puppet, to which all the women coo. the token bloke gets a beard clipping kit, the waiter (Italian? Greek? Spanish? but clearly Good-Looking Dopey Foreign Bloke) gets a present, even the elderly couple who have had to endure all the festive bonhomie on the table next to them get presents. The waiter gets a note from one of the women. Then all the girls march out, arms linked and four abreast, singing 'Here come the girls'.
And it's bollocks because?
Not a single one of them is honking, screaming, gorilla-butt drunk.
In reality, they'd all be off their tits on lambrini and Bailey's and vodka and Cava ('cos that's class). They'd be throwing food round the restaurant. Two of them, previously best of friends, would be beating seven shades of shit out of each other, while The Fat Ugly One With Chafing Issues would be seeking to be the peacemaker. The Mousey One would have trapped the Token Office Bloke in a corner, earnestly telling him about her cat and her stash of chocolates and her box collection of Ally McBeal and her mum who calls her up twice a day, while trying to relieve him of his trousers. Meanwhile, two of the really fat office ladies would have Good-Looking Dopey Foreign Bloke pinioned down in some dark corner of the restaurant, doing and suggestig unspeakable acts. Finally, they'd all stagger out, chanting 'here come the girls' while any men with any sense would flee for their lives. and trousers. Then our troop would move into the nearest nightclub to cop off with blokes called Wayne, or Carl, or Danno.
And this is why Advertistan is crap.