PETER YORK ON ADS

No 111: WORTHINGTON'S
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The Independent Culture
HARRY ENFIELD does a lot of commercials; and some of them are quite good. The new ad for Worthington's Best Bitter derives from two ancient and much-loved Light Entertainment traditions - Dick Emery-style drag and dog-food commercials - and is altogether amiable. The central joke here is the notion that young men are just like cheerful dogs: energetic, positive and completely stupid - the Men Behaving Badly theme (the first series of which starred Enfield in the Neil Morrissey part). The sub-text gets to grips with equally well-off Essex vulgarity, people with every comfort in Teresa Gorman country.

Thus Harry, as Mrs Paula Fenchurch of Barking, says: "I've been breeding men now for 30 years." He's in a Sixties blonde bobbed wig, leopard-print leggings and blonde fur jacket, a Mum forever young.

The "breeder" joke then runs through all the conventions of the traditional dog-food commercial, with shots of men running outdoors, shots of men as car mechanics making a mess, and shots of awful leather jackets ("Look at their lovely shiny coats"). It's punctuated by Harry tossing his wig in slo-mo, backlit, together with views of the lovely Fenchurch house - large, with a Mercedes in the drive.

There are some nice little lines:

"Who said the way to a man's stomach was through his mouth? They were right."

Or:

"Hark how they lap it up; I'm impressed by the lack of marrowbone and lumps of rabbit."

And:

"I like to think that Worthington's helps towards giving them a happier life."

Despite themselves, women will like this ancient message in its new form. It should help Worthington's brand share in the take-home market, if the girls decide to get a few cases in for their boys.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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