Advertising: BT and a boy in the hood

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The Independent Online

A whole minute of Quiet Jake, the Morose Middle-class Teenager, could drive you spare. He's worse than monosyllabic; it's sign language – nods and shakes – for everything. His family are worried already. At home – it's got that white southern middle-class feel, the Barnes/Twickenham/updated Brit sitcom look – you can see his mother's wondering if he's got a big problem.

A whole minute of Quiet Jake, the Morose Middle-class Teenager, could drive you spare. He's worse than monosyllabic; it's sign language – nods and shakes – for everything. His family are worried already. At home – it's got that white southern middle-class feel, the Barnes/Twickenham/updated Brit sitcom look – you can see his mother's wondering if he's got a big problem.

And he's the same at school, dreamy and removed. At the chippie, in a hoodie plus a woolly (the middle-class romance of the last surviving prole caterer in SW18), he's just as bad. And when his mother picks him up in the car, he stares out the window while she natters on, his woolly pulled down over his ears. He can't say a thing to a soul.

And back home in the evening it's no better. He's into the middle distance like the fish in the tank (project for culture studies: examine the role of domestic fish tanks as symbols of alienation in British television commercials 1993-2003).

But at the end of this immensely long (60-second) commercial, Jake's on a brown leather sofa, on the telephone, totally thawed out, jabbering away like a girlie, involved and gossipy. "Oh, it was so good, and then Johnny had to go..." And only BT telephones can do this – it's the latest in the BT "bringing people together" series.

So if you've got a mid-teen boy, confused by surging hormones, paralysed with shyness, utterly unable to look anyone in the face, find him a phone pal and let him develop a massive telephone habit. Let him monopolise the line as your daughter used to, and let him get in touch with his feelings. Indeed, get downright incontinent.

It's powerfully affecting, a familiar problem, nicely cast and nicely made. But, but, 200 per cent of mid-teens have mobiles and that's what he's going to be doing, surely, in the garage or the shed.

And now that there are so many telephone providers it's getting harder – not impossible but harder – to brand the generic advantages, as against service, schemes and new tech.

Harry Enfield's Kevin and Perry are central to all this. They seem to have borrowed the family (Mum could even be the same actress) and social setting, the mood swings and the hoodies and woollies. But Jake, pale, goofy-toothed and floppy blond, is an absolute ringer for the young Robin Gibb.

peter@sru.co.uk

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