Peter York on Ads: Something very strong just fell off the back of a lorry

Cillit Bang
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Thought not a patch on the Rev Canaan Banana, Cillit Bang, the international, all-purpose cleaner, is certainly up there in the second division of memorably funny names. Cillit's a crystal, like bath salts or caustic soda and a mass of ancient generics, and like crystals, it just might have magic powers.

Thought not a patch on the Rev Canaan Banana, Cillit Bang, the international, all-purpose cleaner, is certainly up there in the second division of memorably funny names. Cillit's a crystal, like bath salts or caustic soda and a mass of ancient generics, and like crystals, it just might have magic powers.

"I'm Barry Scott," says a decidedly all-purpose presenter (remember "Hi, I'm Ed Winchester" from The Fast Show). Barry is in direct line of descent from Barry Bucknell, with a touch of Brian Conley. Very Essex. Very slightly Essexy. But Barry's not going to work the personality too hard tonight. Instead he's straight down to informercial-style demonstration. It's versatile (quartered screen, lots of applications); it's easy (simply mix with water); it makes masses of cleaner from one tub (a row of orange buckets to infinity).

"Bang and the dirt is gone" is the Cillit construct. Now that's a really compelling line, a little bit 1950s, a whole lot Victorian enamel sign.

Cillit Bang makes filthy floors sparkle, and it does ceramics, plastic and glass. And ovens; it's fantastic with baked-on grease. There's practically nothing it can't do. But, I hear you asking, will it magic up my encoignure, buff the boulle or fluff up a sweaty chinchilla? The text is silent on all these Independent on Sunday readers' concerns. What it does say is that Cillit Bang needs water to activate the powerful oxygen-based cleaners (I've always loved "activate", it adds dignity and meaning wherever it touches, rather like "utilise").

"Or Bang it straight on," says Barry. Go on, just spoil yourself. "Inside or out dirt's no longer a problem." It's the essence of style; spotless floors so Bang to rights you could have sex on them. What has Cillit Bang got over, say, Flash ("cuts cleaning time in half") or Mr Muscle or any of those multi-purpose cleaners that no one gets excited about nowadays? A wonderful name, a hint of organic chemistry, a big Bang metaphor, Barry Scott, the housewives' sex god, and the suggestion that something very strong just fell off a lorry.

Maybe Cillit Bang means all-purpose cleaner type 23 in Bulgarian. But it still doesn't measure up to J Armitage Fuggle, the distinguished classical conductor. What news of him, readers?

Peter@sru.co.uk

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