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The Independent Culture
IS EATING a stonking great metaphor for sexual congress? Was the blow-out scene in Tom Jones really a huge turn-on? Can a man and a woman ever break bread together platonically? Above all, what possible relationship is there between 91/2 Weeks and the current Walker's Doritos ad? Cleverer souls than me claim to see a direct line of descent from that allegedly erotic film and this 30-second promotion of a British-made, Mexican-style corn chip. I don't buy it 100 per cent myself.

Certainly the Doritos commercial involves a certain amount of restraint, but of a very modest kind: a green batik scarf round the eyes of the man. No chains, handcuffs, bruises, moody lighting or moody faces. There is a certain amount of joyous writhing to be seen, but none of it mutual. And the protagonists aren't remotely Mickey and Kim; rather they're Woody Allen and early Barbara Hershey.

The real point of the Doritos ad is in the look of it: in the bright polyester surfaces of American "pop" design of the mid-Sixties, and the music that went with it as America absorbed and responded to Britpop Mark I. So instead of cool, moody Eighties interiors, we have a bright- yellow, New York fun kitchen, c 1965; and instead of heavy breathing we get the Newbeats' falsetto "Bread and Butter" ("I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam") re-rendered as "I'm into Doritos".

Our smooth-skinned brunette starlet wears a black pinafore with a white T-shirt, black patent-leather boots and daisies everywhere - as earrings, on her Alice band, on her dress. She could be the daughter in a Jack Lemmon comedy.

In my book, the main actions - blindfold feeding, ecstatic writhings - reflect nothing naughtier than the joy Americans in the Bloomingdale's- deli catchment take in minor snack-food novelties and fun accessories, a joy more durable and sincere than any notion of gourmet sex derived from airport bestsellers. And that's the joke in this rather amiable little ad.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.