hard sell

A middle-aged man in windcheater stands proud in front of his suburban house, holding his hosepipe. "Morris Valdi of Aldrich Crescent did it on Tuesday," purr the suggestive tones of Angus Deayton. "I did," confirms Mr Valdi. "Mrs Valdi is still in shock," Deayton tells us. "I'm in shock," Mrs Valdi concurs from her bedroom window.

Sex and food go together in advertising better than a horse and carriage. Think of Cadbury's famous Flake fellatio, or Clover's "spread for spread" ad in which vegetables aroused by a Charles Aznavour-ish Frenchman singing "Love Is In The Air" undress to be caressed by melting margarine. Then there are Bird's Eye cod fillets, for which the "hunky" frozen fish strip and strut on stage a la Chippendales, or British Meat's Food For Love ad, in which a chap wins over his sulking partner with his steaming steak sandwich. Sex is a kind of poor substitute for food in advertising - something this commercial for Bird's Eye's Pan Flair trades on.

So after the suburban Valdis, we're taken to the inner city and introduced to another couple who have "done it" - groovy twentysomethings Lorraine and Frankie (we know they're urban-groovy because she's got ironed blue hair and he's a skinhead in a pin-stripe suit). The punchline, flagged long in advance by the teasingly fruity-but-respectable Angus, is delivered when we are introduced to a 30-ish working woman: "Despite working late, Ms Kate Springs did it ... with Pan Flair." "It" turns out be be heating up frozen chicken and vegetables.

In case we should think Ms Springs did "it" by herself, in the last scene we see her standing behind her slightly dazed man, who is tucking into Pan Flair: "It was so good, Karl didn't believe it," says Angus.

But for all its double entendre, this ad plays as much as any other "sex" food ad on the consolation factor of foodstuffs. Sex is a poor substitute for food in adland, and also a poor substitute for love - at least in products aimed at women. Nobody doing "it" here is single - not even Ms Springs. Solitary pleasuring is not on the menu.

Like Cadbury's milk chocolate, which is always advertised by a young couple very much in love, advertisers of frozen food meals are keen to show it is never eaten by sad single people. This is the point - when you buy Pan Flair you don't buy a TV dinner. You buy love. So if you are a sad single person, you're more likely to buy the product, having been made sadder by this kind of advertising. And if you do have a man in your life, Pan Flair assuages any guilt you might feel at serving him a frozen meal - Pan Flair, you see, isn't cheating on your man - it's the very opposite.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam