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York on Ads: At the end of the day, it's a middle-class mockery: No 44: News of the World

SPOOF, irony, the commercial with attitude rather than an old-fashioned Unique Selling Proposition is now becoming the norm. Things have come to a pretty pass when the News of the World decides to sell its football coverage with a flurry of nods and winks.

Tabloid newspapers usually exhibit the extreme form of short-term tactical advertising: no frills, no production values, just tomorrow's star confessions and 20 Vauxhall Cavaliers to be won. But the makers of the News of the World's new ad have been watching the BBC's Fantasy Football, taking in Red Rock and Sega and anything starring Leslie Neilson, and have come up with this.

The setting is a lurid blue sports-programme studio, nearer Sky than the terrestrial channels. A presenter with a suit and tie but hair to his shoulders introduces a colleague in a virulent intarsia V-neck called Frank Bracegirdle who looks a bit like Frank Skinner and talks awfully like Adrian Edmondson. And he makes the handover in the wrong direction because this is Chaos Castle.

'Alan, Paul, Vinny, George,' recites the Skinner type to the NoW's new celebrity correspondents, two in studio, two on inset screens, 'is it true the News of the World now has more pages of football?' And one of the inset-screen boys can't hear it; he's fiddling with his earpiece, just like real life.

More nods, winks and raised eyebrows follow and the sign-off involves the News of the World banner circling a globe shrunk to a purple carrot (more shades of Medomsley Road, Consett).

This 'fun-filled football fantasia' is TV satire gone full circle, an advertising take from middle-class mockery of the conventions of tabloid football coverage. It's a funny old world. Peter York

Videos supplied by Tellex Commercials.

(Photograph omitted)