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.
In pictures: Saturn images from Cassini probe as it prepares to turn lens towards Earth
Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
FBI finds possible human remains at former home of late gangster James Burke - the man who inspired Goodfellas
'Theres something quite unpleasant going on': Nigel Farage confronted for second time on visit to Scotland
World news in pictures
- 1 Bankers could face jail after report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Richard Nieuwenhuizen death: Six teenagers and 50-year-old father convicted of manslaughter in shocking case of referee killed over a game of football
- 4 Exclusive: Newcastle's star talent-spotter on brink as Joe Kinnear sparks walkout
- 5 Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
£200 - £250 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Java Developer- £200-£250 London...
£20,000 - £23,000: Co-Venture: This is an exciting opportunity to work for a v...
£20,000 - £45,000 OTE: Co-Venture: Working on international markets without ge...
£20,000 - £45,000 OTE: Co-Venture: Working for this company will give you a ch...