Peter York On Ads: Europe, the great melting pot of yogurt


Euroland, can't live with it, can't live without it. Eurostar - the nice, easy bourgeois way to Paris, Brussels, Lille - easyJet, Ryanair. Weekend breaks, you name it. Amsterdam clubbing for teens and twenties: just an extension of Soho and Shoreditch. Ibiza: love that 1990s revival vibe. Positano: that posh retro Mr Ripley thing. And the Eurohouses - it used to be Buy One, Get One Free. A chateau the size of Chatsworth for £2.50. It's gone up a bit now we've all got one.

All of it easy, a doddle now. Convenient currency in most of the familiar places. And great tranches of Old Euroland speak English better than what we do.

Of course, gap-year people want to spend a month in a Vietcong tunnel and another in Islamabad - it'd look weedy to go anywhere your mum goes for Awaydays. But for most of comfortable Britain - Middle England, whatever - accessible Euroland adds hugely to the sum of everyday treats. And as for the New Europe, the accession countries and all that, Brits have taken to it too. Easy. Prague's on the Stag Weekend list. Go to Hungary to get your teeth done half-price. A house in Slovakia or Montenegro. (My friend Ronnie was buying up picturesque war-torn Europe 10 years ago.)

Lots of Europe is delicious. A lot of the ugly stuff is at least familiar. And we know the people from killing them so often. And whatever they say, there's still masses of money there. Any decent medium-big provincial town in Old Europe has a mini Bond or Sloane Street. And have you seen how the Italian rich live?

But whatever our experience, however warmly Chiantishire our feelings, we all take on a bit of American neo-con when we talk about the institutions of European-ness. Is there any one of you who hasn't exchanged at least one Euro-institution joke this year (straight bananas?). Weird regulations are best, and the Eurosceptic Press Bureau invents one a week. Brits like to hate the EU, the EC, the Common Agricultural Policy and the wine lake. They believe yesterday's Euro-stories today, and they feel thoroughly conflicted when they hear about "cheese-eating surrender monkeys". Lots of them bought Tobias Jones's book on The Dark Heart of Italy. Lots more will buy Jules Eden's and Alex Charles's funny new book Fifty Reasons to Hate the French to read in their gîtes this summer.

Which brings us to the Euro-pudding. It's usually a metaphor for a muddle, some kind of European lash-up, bad legislation or a co-production tax-loss film, but Europe actually makes masses of puddings, churned out by its huge pudding factories. Especially milky, yogurty ones. Mmm Danone, or Müller. Müller (a bit umlaut-y, must be German) does those Fruit Corner things, yogurt with a bit of strawberry jam stuff, which have completely taken over from those English brands of the 1970s.

Müller also makes something called Vitality, which presumably is another kind of milky Euro-pudding with added microbes - "good bacteria" are this decade's big thing in the Individual Portion Controlled Yogurt Sector. Its commercials are about a day in the life of an orange - or rather an orange-coloured ball that gets bounced around the city from hand to hand to Nina Simone's version of "Hair". Which city? You'll have to work it out. It bounces on to the bed of a couple half asleep in bright Euro-sun, then the wife bats it out of the window, over a pleasant garden and into a nice big family kitchen somewhere un-English, with pretty flaxen children. And from there to another couple in another nice high flat that probably has at least one bare brick wall. There they are, drinking little pots of Vitality, optimising their stomach flora.

On to a grizzled old black man who does a clever dance-troupe arms-manoeuvre with it, with a video-promo chorus in step behind him. As the camera draws back, we're in a big low-rise Euro-square, rather stony and Beaux-Arts looking and they're telling us to grab the day and lead a Müller life. No question, as we're all off back to Stansted at 7.30.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam