York on ads: No 23: Pizza Hut

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The Independent Culture
ADVERTISING is in the 'borrowed interest' business: famous or beautiful people and spectacular locations are regularly borrowed to add interest to somewhat basic product offers.

Now Pizza Hut has gone one better: it's borrowed a television channel. More precisely, it has 'appropriated' - as a certain type of intellectual likes to say - the BBC2 logo, in its large, plain, anodised-aluminium form. If you've had the feeling that you're in the wrong place recently when watching ITV or C4, it's because the BBC2 logo has appeared. It sits in its wind tunnel and is swept with green paint, as usual - but then a yob appears and splashes the camera lens with paint, too. It's a very disconcerting, memorable media-age joke.

Then we Hit the Hut. The yob and his partner are in casual dining mode when the BBC2 logo does its other trick of falling into the table on its corner. 'Could've had someone's eye out,' says the yob in a desultory way. This too is memorable because it isn't really ad-speak. The possibility of nasty accidents is usually confined to COI-sponsored adverts.

But what will Pizza Hut gain from the BBC2 logo in the fast-food wars - now the cause of very big UK ad spends? First, of course, the novelty impact of the trick, adding sheer cheek to the slightly Animal House brand-values of Pizza Hut. Second, the rather smarter, cooler values of BBC2 itself, both mocked and desired. Could it be that Pizza Hut is trying to move just that shade upmarket?

And what will BBC2 and the logo's designer, Martin Lambie-Nairn, do about it? - Videos supplied by Tellex Commercials, 071-916 2221

(Photograph omitted)