Advertising: A work of genius comes out of a Pot Noodle

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The Independent Online

What is it about Pot Noodle that keeps bringing me back to it? I don't mean to. I want to find new commercials for upscale brands, sunlit ads with high production values and European yearnings, but then this everyday tale of underclass folk with vile degraded habits lures me in. Let's face it, there's a Pot Noodle World now. The advertising's established its own territory and it's a much darker one than dear old David Lynch's artful acres.

Those American-style ambulance-chasing compensation lawyers are a natural Pot Noodle subject. The advertising – presenter-led with tacky backgrounds of call centres and victim vignettes – looks spoofy from the start, and you just know that it'll appeal to the Pot Noodle sensibility, with its message that you can fall over in the street and earn yourself a couple of grand.

So we get this desperate-looking presenter pitching the Ewen Court claims company, where every day they win compensation for all kinds of people, like Little Ashley from Staines. (Two thoughts here: first, when a child's introduced as "little" anything, you just know it's going to be a monster; second, the people of Staines are deeply divided about their post-Ali G reputation as urban badlands. It's a comfortable Thames-side suburb and they're worried it'll bring house prices down.) Anyway, little Ashley from Staines – conceived during the Christmas 1992 re-run of Gone with the Wind on a World of Leather sofa – is in an oval vignette looking seriously traumatised and picking his nose. Little Ashley, you see, found Poodle in his Pot Noodle.

Now that's a line of towering genius, a match for any of those historic Sun headlines, and the writer should get a massive City-sized bonus straightaway; because there's a bit of intellectual property that could run and run, like FCUK. You can see it now. I bet they've registered the Poodle Protection League already: a front organisation that'll field manic spokeswomen for TV and radio, protesting about a heartless joke that could provoke motiveless attacks on poodles. Little Ashley's mum, who has more than a touch of the Kathy Beales, says that they're all still upset, but thankfully Ewen Court has won them 10 grand compensation. Here she fingers her coat's fur collar in a marvellously suggestive way.

"Come on," says that presenter. "Everyone's doing it." I often wonder if, somewhere, there's a Pot Noodle Estate, used by the producers of this campaign for research purposes. Their very own Gin Lane.

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