Why Richard E takes his brother for Granted

PETER YORK ON ADS: No 236: B2
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The Independent Culture
IT'S PERFECTLY obvious to the meanest intelligence that Hugh and Richard E Grant are brothers. I ask you: same social types, same narrow faces, similar voices. It must be some adolescent thing about defining individuality, making it on one's own. But I think they should forget all that and do a joint spread in Hello!. Liz could be mashing their tea.

One difference has emerged however: Richard E's done a commercial. It's not 100 per cent clear what this particular commercial is selling, though we can see that it's a form of financial services. But what exactly? And who makes it? And what are its defining advantages?

Instead of a cast of thousands, there's just one actor - Richard E. Instead of banality, there's a kind of beauty - sea, sand and sky. And instead of common people, there's Richard E. Meaning the whole thing's a bit more thoughtful, upmarket, New Age and concerned than finanical- services advertising usually is.

It looks nice. There's a lovely deserted horizon, a big blue sky, bright white sand and Richard E's lanky silhouette. "If the stock market tumbles, a lot of people could lose a lot of money," he muses, running sand through his fingers. Very true, Richard E.

His advice, as it emerges, is to avoid the dangers of global stock-market movements by buying an advance savings account from B2. With B2, you can change the way you save (rather like Oil of Ulay, which offers something to "change the way you wash").

We all know that mass financialservices brands are awful, and that their providers are mistrusted, and that everyone in the industry wants to invent something to repel the onward march of M&S and Virgin. And we all know you're supposed to be a bit oblique and moody to appeal to a younger, cleverer crowd. One can overdo these things, however.

But no blame should attach to Richard E. He moves through it as in a dream - a floppy-haired Grant family characteristic, after all.

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