York on ads: Couldn't give a XXXX for the post-modern subtext: No 39: Tooheys Lager

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HOW LONG can lager advertisers spin out the Australian joke - the one about the traditional outback misogynistic philistine liquor-centric Oz men not giving a XXXX for anything else? Indefinitely, so it seems from the Tooheys commercial, providing you give it a post- modern edge with a media subtext.

The Tooheys ads are based on a plus ca change joke about a new Australian Life . . . which is philistine and liquor- centric - and that's only the women.

Tooheys flatters its audience with the running theme of an Australia dominated by a kind of daytime television show that makes Anne and Nick or Richard and Judy look like the Jonathan Miller Hour. We feel we know Australian media life is ghastly; now we can laugh at it.

This daytime TV show - Sydney replacing Liverpool in the background - is so sponsored with its Tooheys logos and cans everywhere that it's part of the snigger too. And in the manner of these shows we have a presenter pair carefully matched. A small, crass, fat slob whose feet probably don't reach the floor and a very beady blonde.

And the joke is - in all three treatments currently showing - they wouldn't give a XXXX for anything else but Tooheys. Thus, as news items and guests with a less than wholly lager-centric theme appear, our couple's five-second attention span shifts 180 degrees (there's something of Edna Everage in there too - remember how guests who don't provide a ready audience for her musings are swiftly despatched by Rottweiler and defenestration).

Neighbours, Home and Away and Sylvania Waters have given us a taste for a new mythic modern Australia we can adore, envy and feel very superior to at the same time. A gift to creative teams throughout Soho. Peter York

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