PETER YORK ON ADS; To Corfu with Smith's and four Lyndhursts
No 144: WH SMITH
Lyndhurst first presents as a family at the airport, checking-in in descending order of height: Dad (basic Lyndhurst), Mum (long brown wig), teenage daughter (hat with Quant daisy and fair wig), kid brother (red baseball cap). Poor Dick Emery and Benny Hill - the antecedents of this particularly English form of fun - never had this technology.
It's a brilliant stroke because Lynd-hurst, in his quiet way, has become just about the best-known ordinary Englishman there is. He's been around for nearly 20 years, starting out as Wendy Craig's teenage son in Butterflies, working through Only Fools and Horses to his star vehicle Goodnight Sweetheart. Patient, undramatic, he looks and sounds like every Local Government Officer, every clearing-bank bloke, every youngish Dad on the High Street.
And it's the High Street he's updating, since the message is that Smith's is the place for family fun - for books, records and magazines. "WHatever you're into, get into WH Smith." It's not a new message, but it's presented in a determinedly mainstream way that moves Smith's on from the suburban Parade to the 1990s shopping centre.
In the boredom of the plane to Corfu, Mum Lyndhurst hands out a selection from the purple Smith's bag (there's a move on from the old brown and orange livery!). Dad gets Ken Follett; the daughter gets Big magazine; the son gets a pop-up; she keeps George Michael's Older for herself. "Oh wicked," says the son.
There's a lot in this ad's favour, but the most delicious moment by far is Tiny Nick asking, in that most particular British runt pronunciation, "Will we see elephants on hollyday?"
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
Top Gear live to go ahead: Jeremy Clarkson to join Richard Hammond and James May... just don't call it Top Gear
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans