It's a whitewash

PETER YORK ON ADS: No 231; PERSIL TABLETS
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The Independent Culture
PERSIL TABLETS are little Alka-Seltzer-like wotsits which come in a mesh bag. They're advertised in what is a new way for Persil, in commercials which aren't idealised, but aim for verisimilitude.

The set-up is deliberately simple, with short commercials shot as straight "interviews", featuring a range of non-stereotypical women. People who choose and use detergents aren't just "housewives". They come in all shapes and sizes, they don't pride themselves on their washing, and are altogether different from their deferential, knit-your-own-Royal-Family predecessors.

So we get attitude, distinctive regional accents, and modern turns of phrase.

In one treatment, there's a long-haired Mancunian-footballer's-wife ex- beauty queen type who's just that bit confrontational, and the interview goes like this:

Interviewer: (serious documentary off-screen voice): "Why d'you think new Persil Tablets are so good, then?"

Interviewee: "Don't know."

Interviewer: "Apparently, it's the fizzing everywhere in the wash that helps get the clothes so clean ..."

Interviewee: "Is it? I couldn't give a monkey's - it works."

In another treatment, there's a young Geordie woman with a big fruzzle- do, who says that Persil tablets "look after my colours mega" and that "any friends who don't use them must be crackers".

You can just imagine the casting sessions - the ratings for "feistiness", regionality, command of vernacular, and so on. But no gay couples and lesbian mothers yet?

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