Advertising: This is far stranger then fiction

Now here's a one. One I really did think was an Egg spoof commercial from its Brilliant Ideas series. One you might've come across in, say, a mildly satirical '70s novel set in adland. It's a just-what-you-always-wanted commercial for a product of apparently dazzling irrelevance, the reworking of a Victorian novelty made for a more deferential print-bound age. It's The Miniature Classics Library – a collection of Classic books so weeny you can put them in your pocket.

It kicks off with Shakespeare in gloomy profile saying "to be or not to be?". Then he gets in a packing case in a dark cellar and shuts the lid on himself. "Now the classics take up less space" says a voiceover. Cut to tiny bookshelves with tiny books bound in hand-tooled Gnomitex and an enthralled man checking them out, partner-woman behind, way across the room. It's "the greatest works of literature in an exquisite unabridged miniature books collection". The opening offer is a two-up (in supermarket terms, a BOGOF). It's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and A Christmas Carol for £3.95. Tiny on-screen print tells you it's normally £3.95 per title. They're two British Empire 19th century Christmas pot-boilers; and it's 2003 now.

It has to be a spoof. There'll be a final frame, for Egg or Pot Noodle, a stop-the-show Ikea intervention. Something. But there's just the irony-free pack-shot, followed by the publisher's brand, and it's called del Prado. It's got a little TV branding device, an early '80s vertical bar that moves down to the horizontal, putting a sort of lid on the logo. The sort of device you use when you're a household word – the another-good-thing-from-the-home-of device. But I haven't a clue who del Prado is and I don't think you have either.

Experience says if it looks like a spoof and it isn't then it's a Euro-commercial, dubbed and fiddled with for cost-effective pan-European marketing. I should've known from the beard and the jersey. The male character has a serious dark beard, the kind you simply don't have in British commercials for user-chooser roles. A beard so deeply southern European, it's almost Moroccan. And the jersey – it's a black zippered job with such an emphatic texture it's practically pleated, almost a Fortuny of pullies. It's someone from a culture where Tiny books mean something and Stevenson and Dickens are really exotic. Sounds foreign to me.

Peter@sru.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Social Media Director (Global) - London Bridge/Southwark

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Social Media Director (Gl...

Personal and Legal Assistant – Media and Entertainment

£28,000 - £31,000: Sauce Recruitment: A Global media business based in West Lo...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice