Peter York on Ads: Charmlesss and bitter - the berries, not Burke

Ocean Spray
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She was on Big Brother's Little Brother with our Dermot the other week, wearing galumphing sandals, obviously following the show closely, and showing good judgement about the characters. She's in real danger of becoming a National Treasure.

She's got a very singular voice too - north London (Irish) Cockney, very pre-estuary. I often wonder how she'd sound alongside Danny Baker's Rotherhithe taxi-driver tone. They must know each other - all famous people do.

Miss Burke is immediately recognisable as the voice-over on the Ocean Spray cranberry juice commercial. It's not just the voice, it's that she's saying very Kathy Burke-ish things.

The commercial is another 1970s spoof. At least I think it's intended as 1970s spoofy. In a world so sun-dappled that it looks completely bleached out - always a spoof sign - some Pan's People-ish lovelies (the proper 1970s word) are drowning in cranberries. Ocean Spray may be full of anti-oxidants and Vitamin C, says the Kathy voice, but don't kid yourself it'll make you look like them.

It's amazing how we've come round to the cranberry. It used to be something Americans had with their turkeys; rather charmless, faintly bitter little berries you could buy in tins at Selfridges Food Hall if you wanted to make American house-guests feel at home. I was once told that cranberry juice was an entirely marketing creation; designed to mop up American farmers' fantastic over-production. And that it had to be hugely subsidised to compete with such delicious things as Tropicana orange juice.

But somehow, just somehow, all the marketing and the PR about mixer drinks and sophistication and the health stories just hit critical mass, to the point that every decent bar has the stuff now. Is this apocryphal? - I've no idea.

Rather disconcertingly you can now hear our Kathy voice-overing Sprite too. Sprite is an American soft drink from Coca-Cola, an updated version of Hooper Struve's fizzy lemonade with no redeeming features whatsoever.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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