Thursday, January 03, 2019

Back After the Break - Yet Again

Only the second post of 2019 and already I'm resorting to old TV adverts.  I'm afraid that I've felt somewhat under the weather all day and, when not in bed trying to make up for a largely sleepless night, (thanks to aforementioned unwellness), I've been on the sofa watching DVDs.  So I've just not got the energy or inclination to come up with anything else for today.  Anyway, these ads come from 1982 and provide the usul selection of long forgotten advertising for long forgotten products.  Of course, many of the manufacturers are still with us, but with somewhat more sophisticated products and sales campaigns. Take Glade, for instance.  Is this the first of their air freshening products to be advertised on TV?  It certainly seems crude compared to their later products which plug into electrical sockets, don't have to be waved about by hand and make your house smell like a pine forest.  I remember the days when we didn't seem to care about such things - if your house was beset by the smell of burnt toast, or someone had let rip a particularly offensive fart, we just opened the windows and doors to let some fresh air in, or just waved newspapers around.  Most of the time, though, we just accepted that peoples' houses stank, but were too polite to mention it.

I have fond memories of those Green's cake mixes - my mother used to make a lot of them.  They came in various flavours and were a tea time favourite.  At one time we had a cat that liked sponge cake and would eat bloody great chunks out of the top if he found them unattended in the kitchen, while they cooled from the oven.  Even putting a cloth over them didn't deter him - the furry bastard somehow found a way of getting under the cloth, eating a chunk from the middle, then leaving the cloth looking undisturbed.  This, inevitably, caused much outrage and consternation when the sponge was uncovered for the filling to applied.  It's interesting to see the Post Office pushing its Giro Bank services so heavily but, of course, by 1982 Thatcher was in full swing, unemployment was rising and benefit payments were issued as Giro cheques.  It was also an era when a lot of people still didn't have bank accounts and the Post Office services were easier to set up and use.  (My Great Aunt, who died last year aged 96, never had a bank account, never trusting the banks. To the day she died, she swore by her Post Office savings account).  Those Cinzano Bianco ads with Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins were all the rage back in the eighties and new ones were looked forward to the way the John Lewis Christmas ad is looked forward to these days.  I now, hard to believe, isn't it? 

But times change: nowadays, it would seem unlikely that a retired former policeman would be viewed as a suitable front man for selling anything, let alone tyres.  But back in the eighties, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Robert Mark was still remembered as the man who had, a decade earlier, cleaned up the Met, cracking down on corruption, with two senior officers being prosecuted and hundreds of other ranks dismissed or forced to resign.  So, if he told you that a particular brand of tyres were the safest on sale, you knew he was telling the truth.  Even in 1982, advertisers were still relying on racial and cultural stereotypes to sell their products.  In the case of Heineken, a Dutch based brewer, it's all good natured stuff, but the combination of jungle back drops, black singers and Caribbean musical rhythms to try and indicate that a Cabana chocolate bar is, well, 'exotic', seems somewhat suspect by today's standards.  And finally, back to the post office and a plug for stamp collecting. Now, there's something you wouldn't see advertised now.  It's hard to remember now, but stamp collecting used to be a huge hobby back in the day, although I'm surprised to see it getting a plug as late as 1982.

So, there you are, another trip down memory lane via the medium of TV commercials.  Hopefully, normal service will be resumed tomorrow...

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