Peter York on Ads: Just what the Always-In-Touch brigade really need

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The Independent Online

There's nothing like an empty amphitheatre in the classical mode to get you thinking big thoughts. We had an open-air theatre at school - about the size of a suburban lily-pond, but it looked big to me then - where you could settle down with Tanglewood Tales and go Olympian.

But the modern impulse isn't really standing and staring - it's to think how the place would look if it was repopulated by computer, Gladiator-style. It's to wonder how, conserving the old structure, you could do a bit of wealth creation through urban regeneration, a touch of the Aegean Poundbury's - a nice new hill town with all mod cons built in the vernacular tradition, using local materials wherever possible. (Those new repro brick houses with knapped flint panels they run up in Sussex sell like mad.) But, above all, the modern impulse is to take a snap and buy something.

The Intel Centrino - a sort of smart power-pack for laptops - allows you to go one up from photography. The Centrino commercial starts with a bit of standing and staring in a deserted A-list amphitheatre, the Teatro Greco in Taormina. You're set up for the Italian Tourist Board, so when the voice-over (Home Counties enthusiastic, think Will Carling) says "No wires, no plugs, no power", you assume he's talking up The Great Escape for fogey Lite. Actually he's describing a desperate problem for the Always-In-Touch brigade. And he's setting up Intel to solve it.

"What a perfect place to connect with a laptop powered by Centrino. You can put on quite a show wirelessly from your own private amphitheatre," says Guildford man.

The new natural impulse is to make and transmit your own slightly jerky, marginally pixilated TV programming to nameless lands beyond the clouds, quite wirelessly.

Let's not get too fogey about all this. Wouldn't, say, Freya Stark or Wilfred Thesiger have given their eye teeth to send lovely pictures of noble young tribesmen straight to the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington Gore? So go with the flow.

Intel is a valuable brand - the new Top 100 global brands survey confirms it. There they are at No 5 with the brand valued at a very precise $31,112m (£17,000m). That's £31bn just for a component, a widget - Intel Inside! Intel's Direct-to-Ultimate Consumer marketing has paid off. Like the synthetic fibre brands of the Fifties - Orlon, Acrilan, Terylene - they've made themselves interesting and memorable and important way out there beyond the IT geek horizon. Line up a Channel 4 vox pop in Horseferry Road and get them to sing the Intel Inside sign off. They'll all remember it. So now lads, brought to you by Intel, direct from the Ancient World, Naked Olympics.