Media: Let's Do Lunch: Inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
How's an agency to have fun if its client is some dull pension outfit? The answer is provided by Barker and Ralston, the Soho agency that advises Abbey National Life. Creatives Richard Carman and Julian Scott just pretended the client was some fun lifestyle entity instead. One new ad, destined for women's fashion mags, shows a model in fancy clothes; another, for new-lad titles, presents a bottle of ale (the small print reads: "How putting away 12 pints-worth will help you enjoy later life").

In 1994, when Trevor Beattie dreamed up a campaign for Wonderbra in which Eva Herzegova's cleavage was flagged by the slogan "Hello boys", he was swiftly identified by clever people as the greatest genius in British advertising. Now, the curly-locked creative director at TBWA plans to do the same for legs as he did for breasts. He is plastering the country with massive, 64-sheet vertical billboards, dispensing with words altogether and showing off a pair of perfect legs dressed in Pretty Polly tights. Question for police to consider: should Beattie be nicked for slowing down traffic?

You may not have heard of ambient media, but you come across it each time you step out of the house. It's the fancy name for advertising on petrol pumps, at the bottom of a golf hole, on the back of bus tickets - and even disgorged with your money at a cashpoint. Earlier this year, a needy dairy farmer flogged space on the side of his cows, and the first billboard in outer space was erected on the Mir space station, for the use of Pepsi Cola. Another notable innovation saw TBWA, the agency behind Wonderbra, projecting an image of Eva Herzegova's cleavage on to the side of Battersea Power Station. All good fun, certainly, but industry observers have become increasingly concerned that punters may sicken of it all. Just to put them right off, here's an idea "Let's do lunch" has uncovered, which didn't get beyond the discussion stage: analgesic promotions on the back of a packet of condoms ("so the lady can never say no").

Phil Woodford, a copywriter at Austin Knight, is standing for Labour Party at the next general election. Aha - so he's set to become an influential voice, a champion of the industry, a Person To Know. Perhaps so: he's a founder of Labour 2000, a group of modernisers who want to inject more razzamatazz into the party conference, US style. Or then again, perhaps not: Woodford is standing in Epsom and Ewell, where the sitting Tory MP, Sir Archie Hamilton, had a majority last time round of 20,021. Hello and goodbye, Mr Woodford.