PETER YORK ON ADS: Yes, but where are the loos

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The Independent Culture
D'YOU remember "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk, that odd German band? Fashion people loved it; they played it at all the shows in 1979. Kraftwerk had a most arresting, art-school-cod-Futurist style, devoted to marvellous machines, mass media and all the rest. And they inspired a crop of early-Eighties video promos.

I'm forcibly reminded of all this by the new Eurostar commercial, with its images of speed, modernity and weirdness. Train noses merge in a heat-haze; a very modern huntress raises her steel bow and a train shoots off, in parallel with a black T2 running man (echoes of Carl Lewis in Pirelli), intercut with some everyday surrealism and art-school-type passengers. It's all done at great pace - the editing will have cost a fortune - and it all looks shiny, expensive, light and bright.

The music is a seriously clever choice: it combines the traditional train noises with a classical-modernist momentum, just like a Marinetti rendered in sound. This is Futur-ism for the under-10s - and over there is a kid with the Euro Disney mouse ears. It probably incites pestering quite effectively.

But the primary market is in adults - telling them all that Eurostar is open for business "not one day but today"; older viewers may well find themselves waiting for follow-up ads which do more than show a telephone number for a split second. They will ask if the train that moves like a speeding bullet looks like one too. What sorts of seats are available during those exciting three hours? Can they get more than a microwaved bacon roll? And are the loos fully automated? All those questions will play on the mind of the mature traveller who's bought the Euro-star schtick already but, boringly enough, wants to fill in the blanks.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.