French without knickers

Ads: No. 87; Martini
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The Independent Culture
IN THE Sixties and Seventies, Martini ads made the mass fantasy- lifestyle statement. In the cinema and on TV "anytime, anyplace, anywhere" meant James Bond country: rich, attractive people on ski-slopes and in balloons. Now Martini has re-emerged, re-thought, with all the characteristic self-conscious concerns of Nineties ads - not wishing to be thought dumb or humourless. So it has period pastiches and humour and black-and-white. And a most daring bottom.

We start in the waterside territory of a French Sixties film pastiche. The key indicator here is the girl: she's got a blonde puffball and very exaggerated black sex-kitten/Cleopatra eye make-up. She's sitting with an old man with prominent glasses, cast as an Onassis lookalike, but strongly reminiscent of Ronnie Corbett. But she's vamped by a young school-of-Belmondo buck with a ruthless Roman cut, wraparound sunglasses, huge lips and a bottle of Martini. Furious contrapuntal raging-hormone lip-action follows, drinking, licking, parting, guying in Comedy Store fashion. The kind of stuff you used to get in those ads. And when our girl gets up to follow her stud, her knitted dress catches on the table and systematically unravels, demonstrating beyond peradventure, in a surprisingly tight shot, what one felt all along, that she's not wearing any underwear. And it's this shot, run in every tabloid, that's worth the whole budget and justifies the whole conceit. It puts Martini back on the agenda and gives it currency (it will undoubtedly be spoofed itself in comedy programmes).

Young sex-drive beats old money with added bottom is a classic combination; but the high-spoof style means this campaign, unlike the original, won't last more than a decade. But then, nothing does anymore.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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