Let's do lunch inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
In the museum of late-20th century Britain, one thing mustn't be overlooked. Not maiden aunts cycling to church, not warm beer, but a waxwork man with a phone in his hand, spewing forth from a tape-recorder implanted in his chest a series of loony complaints to the Independent Television Commission. Typically, British and usually amusing, as the latest round-up of ITC rulings suggests.

The ad that attracted most complaints recently was TBWA's homage to voodoo, in the "Ask before you borrow it" series for Nissan Micra. Altogether, 116 viewers complained about the film, in which a woman sticks pins into a doll that resembles her boyfriend. Not nice, but check out these complaints: 17 viewers felt the ad was offensive to Christianity, and 14 expressed belief in the powers and dangers of voodoo. Trevor Beattie, creative director at TBWA, should take careful note.

Meanwhile, J Walter Thompson has been cleared of using racist imagery in its recent Persil commercial. Thirty viewers complained about the film, which shows a dalmatian shaking off its spots, and an ice-skater dressed in white whizzing ahead of companions in black. Overruling them, the ITC pointed out that for most people the performance of washing powder on white clothes was important.

Still on the subject of loony punters, Campaign this week reveals the dangers of placing your tongue in your cheek. PepsiCo in the US recently ran a spoof promotion offering the chance to win a pounds 116m Harrier Jump- Jet, provided that consumers collect the necessary - and absurdly large - number of tokens first. One customer in Miami took up the offer, and when Pepsi refused him his jet, he began court proceedings.

The cable and satellite channel UK Living today revives a Seventies programme idea - the showcase for new ads. The once-a-month initiative, Showcase, features seven minutes of new work, selected by a panel of judges. To accommodate ITC rules on commercials within editorial, the airtime comes out of UK Living's advertising time, and agencies pay a nominal fee. When's it on? Unless you're up by 6.50am, you'll have missed it.

Calling idle office workers. Ogilvy and Mather has launched an interactive campaign that allows you to download a screen-saver for your computer.

"What's so special about that?" you ask. Many keyboard operatives already thrill to the VDU version of Guinness's recent film in which a chap dances round his pint. And Guinness is an O&M client. But while the punters enjoyed "dancing chap", O&M was less happy about it. The film had been made in Ireland by somebody else, and only appeared here because of a delay in the UK agency's campaign - whereas this latest screen-saver is O&M through and through.

Something sweet and frolicsome like "dancing chap", perhaps? Not as such. It promotes the latest shiny phallus-on-wheels, Ford's Probe. It shows the car as a tank-destroyer that blasts aliens. One for the boys, then.