PETER YORK ON ADS; Burt Reynolds puts himself in every frame
No 169: DOLLOND & AITCHISON
It's a charming little celebrity commercial in a traditional narrative mode - no attitude - rather after the pattern of the recent Tilda Sauces ad with Madhur Jaffrey. We first see Burt wearing red silk lounging pyjamas - can this be right? - berating his four comic lackeys for not pointing out the absolute silliness of his new white specs, and insisting on a shopping trip to a British High Street where they do these things properly. So off he goes in a sleazy white stretch limo with shag-pile interior, clutching an airbrushed 8x10 of himself, to guitar-picking country music.
From then on the self-parody comes by the bucket-load: Burt signing the parking form as an autograph; Burt being told by a Jane Horrocks-type assistant that his cheekbones required a special frame; Burt trying frames that suit "your thick dark hair"and replying, "it's mine, you know"; the assistant doing instant set-ups of Burt wearing different styles on a computer screen and requesting his autograph, "for my grandmother". So we have the big-star joke, the vanity joke, the wig joke and the age joke all in 40 seconds.
But the message is clear enough. It elevates and glamorises spectacle- wearing, demonstrates new computer kit and the priority of design and puts Dollond & Aitchison, "where everyone gets star treatment", well ahead of the pack where the standard story is lenses in an hour or two pairs for the price of one.
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