Let's Do Lunch Inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
Stuart Pearce must have got himself a new agent. After years of penury as a top Premiership footballer, "Psycho" Pearce has clearly decided to cash in on his reputations as a hard man and a useless penalty kicker. First he'll star in a commercial for the Ford Escort in which he threatens a traffic warden, then drives off without getting a parking ticket (misses a penalty, geddit?). Next he'll be in an ad for Pizza Hut, with Chris Waddle and Gareth Southgate, playing up their inability to score from the spot.

Poor old Blackcurrant Tango. They bring out an ad in which an actor playing their marketing director threatens a French exchange student, they expect controversy, and bingo! Nothing happens. Now, that's not good enough for the fizzy drink that makes tabloid headlines with each new commercial, so PR agency Freuds is called in to round up a few Tory MPs' views and whip up a bit of a stink. Before you can say Jacques Santer, journalists get faxes with pro- and anti-Europe quotes about the ad from the likes of Edward McMillan-Scott and Tim Devlin respectively. There still hasn't been a sentence written. So what's next?

Adland's favourite read is Douglas Chirnside's Basket Case. As in Primary Colours, the fun is to spot the real-life ad people Chirnside has based his hard-drinking, swearing and shagging characters on. The three greatest mysteries are Karen Myhill, "the most difficult woman in TV", Duncan Cairns, known as "Wingco" because of his anally retentive, military manner, and Basket Case himself, the senior agency man surprised in flagrante who protects his identity with a waste-paper basket. Answers on a postcard please.

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