Disco Dad commercial: he's a star

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The Independent Online

New Year is fresh-start time. Over the years, the range of New Me advertising has grown hugely.

New Year is fresh-start time. Over the years, the range of New Me advertising has grown hugely. You used to get stomach remedies and work-out tapes, but now there's absolutely everything for the This Is Not A Rehearsal crowd. Holmes Place is advertising ("One life, live it well") and the rejuvenation pills are back.

Centrum seems just like another multivitamin and mineral supplement, but I have to say, the current Disco Dad commercial is delicious. Take an early Eighties sitcom setting in Guildford or Leatherhead (arched double front door, small nook window beside it, wide hall, sub-Voysey kind of thing). In comes Dad, who's got that CJ look, 47 going on 70. From upstairs, there's the insistent sound of drum and bass. "Robert, turn it up!" shouts Dad and launches into a little dance in the sitting room, which has that heavy cream-on-cream double-banked sofa look favoured in the nicer parts of Surrey. Very Kiri Te Kanawa at home.

He's well away, with a series of syncopated major moves, designed to shame women into action, if there were any around. He's hauling ropes, he's doing the Max Wall Egyptian love dance. Disco Dad, the oldest swinger in town, gets the china snails jumping on the low tables.

Centrum brings 31 vitamins and minerals into your life, so we know he's way down the rejuvenation route. Probably looking for a mail-order bride too. Centrum says this is a Feelgood Factor Moment, and introduces it with a Channel 5-style primary rainbow.

In another treatment, a mother and daughter in a big kitchen – all those knotty pine units; it must be the same house – get a new Smeg retro-fridge delivered in bubble wrap. You know, there's that thing about popping the bubbles – well, they dance around popping bubbles. Centrum gets to the Inner Child in a big way.

Vitamin supplements are insurance. Nobody really knows if they need them, and nobody really knows if they work. But they were always reckoned to be harmless, so why not get pilled up. Somewhere there might be the pill that hits the spot and kick-starts the pituitary.

But, just a few years ago, the big safe pill industry was hit by a report suggesting large doses of supplementary vitamins – including that saint among vitamins, C – might be positively harmful. They fried your blood or lacerated your liver. These days, entertaining Inner Child commercials or not, nobody's quite sure if they should keep taking too many of those tablets.

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