Dear Boddingtons

Our most intimate moments of escape are to be invaded - the graffiti- decked walls of pub toilets are to be sold to advertisers as poster sites

By heck, Beryl. It's come to my attention that you and a couple of your brewery mates, Greenalls and Scottish & Newcastle, have been considering selling the walls of the toilets in your pubs as poster sites. If all goes to plan, by the beginning of next year some 6,500 pubs will have ad posters above the urinals in the gents and behind cubicle doors in the ladies. Gone, it seems, will be the days of being entertained by graffiti- splattered walls or, in more refined establishments, scanning through the day's papers pinned at eye level above the men's urinals. Instead of reading that Kilroy was here, we will be told that Persil washes whiter and that Sure offers ultimate protection.

Pub toilets, it seems, are an advertiser's wet dream. Where else can they be guaranteed the sex of the consumer they hope to target with such a degree of confidence? Where else can they be guaranteed such a captive audience? (They must have heard of Dr Tusch, the infamous and impossibly named New York haemorrhoid specialist, whose ads on the subway could send an entire carriage of caged commuters into ecstasies of synchronised squirming.)

I know, I know. Post-modernism cares not what you say nor any more, it appears, how you say it. Advertising poster-modernism, it transpires, cares only where you say it. But is the loo really the place to get your message across? Is the smallest room really the place to shout the loudest? Can you really imagine blokes - your regulars, Beryl, love - admiring an ad for the latest micro washing powder and turning to the chap at the neighbouring urinal to chirp: "I would never expect to see so much from such a small packet! How is it done?" I think not.

What next? Or indeed, where next? Under the toilet seat ("If you can't put this down, try reading the new John Grisham")? On the loo paper (one's mind turns to certain breakfast cereals)? How many more of the most private and intimate moments of life will advertisers invade if you sell your stalls? Next, I suppose, it could be our struggling health service. What if it were to stoop to flogging advertising sites on suppositories, so that Heineken really will reach those promised parts?

Please. Don't encourage these advertising people. Look what they have done to London's black cabs over the past few years. First there were innocuous little ads for the local tandoori restaurant on the bottom of those fold-up seats. Then small poster panels started to appear on the doors. Now there are fleets of cabbies which have little option but to drive around touting their trade in four-wheeled, two-ton copies of the Financial Times, or the Technicolor yawn of a Haagen-Dazs ad. So Boddingtons, a couple of pints of your best milk of human kindness, please. Resist this trend. And no loitering.

NICK WALKER

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