Bunhill: Adland of hope and glory

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The Independent Online
My search for memorable advertisements was exceptionally fruitful. They range from the famous - such as the Shell ad here reproduced - to the tantalisingly obscure.

Norman Singleton remembers this from the Twenties, on a tea container: "Oh look at this picture of housewives to be/ The future consumers of Hornimans tea". And: "Take Iron Jelloids now and then/The tonic for women, the tonic for men (and children)".

William Mason, whose memory also goes back a long way, offers: "If you want to get ahead, get a hat!" (Dunn & Co); "Where's George? He's gone to Lyons" (J Lyons tea shops); "Friday night is Amami night" (Amami shampoo); "Sharp's the word: Sharp's the toffee"; "Out of the blue comes the whitest wash!" (Reckitt's Blue Bag); "Murray mints, Murray mints, the too-good-to-hurry-mints!" The History of Advertising Trust has sent me an ad that goes with this last: it has a sergeant major shouting "That man there!" at a contented guardsman who says: "I'm finishing my Murray mint!"

From Adrian Brodkin: "Triumph has the bra for the way you are"; "Which twin has the Toni?" (Toni was a home perm); and "Phyllosan fortifies the over-forties". D M Hill offers: "He seems to know there's thyamine in it (for a cat food); and "Settlers give express relief". James Dixon: "Benzine makes you go ..." (national petrol company in the Fifties). Mr Dixon says. "This memory usually occurs to me when I am stuck in a traffic jam and getting desperate to go to a public convenience."

Bill Fowler says that when Surprise flash-frozen peas came on the market an old country type said: "I'm just going into the garden for a surprise pea." Bit raffish for the Fifties, that.

Shawn Pullman and others offer: "Hoarse? Go suck a Zube", while Chris Sladen has alarmingly clear recall of this: "Barons, Barons, the cigarette for you/Barons, Barons, the cigarette for you/ They've got the fullest flavour/And they're a money saver/Barons, Barons, the cigarette for you." I suggest this should be submitted as our next entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

I have received a press notice with the following headline: "IBM introduces the first network-enabled global human resources solution." This is splendid: if IBM has found a global human resources solution, it must have found an answer to hunger, poverty, etc. And if it is network-enabled, jolly good ... I wonder if it knows what it is talking about.

British was best

Back to ads. Michael Cudlipp, who runs the History of Advertising Trust, cleared up the mystery of the "I'm backing Britain". Those of a certain age will remember this as being a popular patriotic campaign, when such things were still allowed. All I remember is sticking union jacks over the car windows, presumably to the delight of my parents.

I assumed it was stirred up by the papers. In fact, Mr Cudlipp tells me, it was a business campaign, set up by that splendid organisation the Industrial Society. Harold Wilson triggered it by saying, wittily, that "what we want is back Britain, not backbiting". The Society launched the campaign in January, 1968 and it gained great momentum before fizzling out in August. It even generated a rival campaign called the Help Britain Group. This failed, which was strange because it was run by a Labour MP with a remarkable talent for promotion - Robert Maxwell.

Do you think a new condition called Phone User's Elbow will emerge? Or will chronic mobile phone users just find their arms seize up with their hands near their ears - like the unfortunates caught by the lava in Pompeii?

I saw four people sitting round a table in the Bunhill Towers shopping centre, each on a mobile phone. I wonder if they were talking to each other?