TELEVISION / York on ads: No 20: Yellow Pages

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IT'S THE sign of a really big advertiser that he can afford short-shelf-life 'specials' run up for topical events; especially ones with famous people in them.

Yellow Pages has joined these masters of the advertising universe with 'Tel's cake', a 50-second playlet built around the theme of Terry Venables' accession, starring Terry himself, plus Bobby Robson and Graham Taylor.

Bobby - looking particularly Ernie Wise-ish - calls Turnip to suggest a little gesture for Terry. Broad beams all round. Graham rakes through Yellow Pages for a local Jane Asher-style cake-maker. Some banter on tracksuit colours follows with the cake-shop lady ('Do I not like orange,' says Graham).

We end on the cake being delivered to Terry's substantial Essex spread. 'Now that's nice,' says Terry, reading the legend 'Good luck from Bobby and Graham'. And the cake is indeed a masterpiece, featuring a blue-tracksuited Tel with his head in a marzipan English Lion's mouth.

All the conventions of an ordinary Yellow Pages commercial are observed: the domestic setting, the tune, the thoughtful telephone call, the helpful retailer, the poignant pay-off. But the combination of fame and topicality, together with the curious blend of real people and staged events, is distinctly distracting. All sorts of questions come unbidden to mind: how well do Bobby, Graham and Tel really get on, for instance? And are those their own houses or an art director's idea of the kinds of houses England football managers live in (something tells me it's the latter . . .)? And how many takes did each of our celebs need for his cameo?

Videos supplied by Tellex Commercials, 071-916 2221

(Photograph omitted)