YORK ON ADS: Angling for grannies with sweeties as bait

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AMERICAN advertisers have learnt to be shy about showing their home-grown ads in Britain unless a) they're slick global campaigns, or b) they're selling Americana. Otherwise, mainstream "quality" American advertising looks very klutzy to us, very dated, very Seventies, very different. Short on irony, short on clever design tricks.

Not so with the makers of Werther's Orig-inal, an American packaged sweetie that looks like butterscotch. This is their song: "On an ordinary day, a child's bright laughter fills the air / One loving word, one loving glance, there's sunshine everywhere./Your Werther's is his Werther's too, so glistening with its golden glow / So sweet and creamy, a taste so good / You're so al ike, the two of you / Werther's and that feeling, that you will never forget / When one who loves you says to you, you're someone special too."

This is sung in Bobby Goldsboro mode over the story of a cute little kid going fishing with his grandfather (imagine a grizzled, fishing-hatted old character from Burt Reynolds' Evening Shade). They share sweeties, catch a fish and cuddle. Love is in theair and in the rousing swell of the music. It's the kind of thing that causes English people of all kinds to shift about most uncomfortably. The stickiness, the lyric, the cuddling.

If this were British, grandad would've been Tango-ed by now. But do Werther's know something we don't? Is there a trick to their targeting we haven't quite grasped? Is this a very clever example of Third Age Marketing, aimed at getting OAPs to buy their grandchildren traditional sweets they don't especially want? Is it a tried and tested formula, one which delivers grannies by the million throughout the known world? Or have they just got it wrong?