Peter York on ads: Michael's a winner with his new game wallet

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The Independent Culture
What does Michael Winner actually, so to speak, do? This is a question I have had occasion to raise before when he appeared in a commercial opining as a film director. I thought at the time he'd been transformed into a gastropod and knockabout polemicist in the mould of the late Woodrow Wyatt. But now here he is in a Sun commercial as a cross-dressing comic after Stanley Baxter or Dick Emery. There's no end to that man's talents.

He got the Sun job because he's called Winner, however, because it's their "everyone's a winner" promotion that's being advertised. See? And it's got the lovely old "Hot Chocolate" number too. The whole thing couldn't be neater or more thoroughly synergistic in its design and execution. Agency creatives are up at nights now raking through Seventies pop culture (but the smart ones have invested in Flock of Seagulls and Blancmange tracks for release in about April too, and they're signing up models who look like mid-period Tony Hadley).

But back to Michael Winner. I've never seen him in a dress before, but he looks like Vanessa Feltz's granny in pink marabou feathers and jewellery. He's a most unconvincing paperboy in shorts, an OK milkman and a passable Colonel Bloodnock.

But I still can't understand what this promotion's actually all about (in the depressed Thirties the Mail and Express used to give away sets of Dickens and the like to get committed deliveries - but does the Sun get delivered?)

Anyway you get a game wallet, and you're supposed to know what to do with it because it's the new everyone's-a-winner game wallet so you'll have had some practice. It's an absolute festival of goodies. Open it up and you're guaranteed a prize.

"Instant cash from fivers to fifties." And/or 23 goes on the Sun Syndicate and/or the week's Sun Bingo numbers and/or bottles of champagne and/or weekends in Paris. I'm worried about the and/or aspect, though. Is everyone guaranteed at least a fiver or do most of them just get a few bingo numbers?

But for those Independent on Sunday readers who also get the Sun delivered (and there's a sub-group for you) it'll be entirely familiar, reassuring and no doubt strangely compelling.