Andrew Mickel’s Big Idea: lots of things

This is the end of the road for the Big Idea, but Andrew has enough confusion left for one last round of ad bafflement...

This is the last week I’m planning on doing the Big Idea. This is hardly fair, considering I’m suddenly avalanched by potential subjects, despite having to spend the last couple of weeks scratching around, writing about orange juice.

So what has been going on in the advertising world? It’s time to say goodbye to the ads…

– Whiskas have started to advertise cat milk again, yet still won’t tell us which animal the cat milk is coming from. That’s Cat. Milk. Without meaning to get all ‘grade school’ on you, Mirriam Webbster’s calls milk the secretion ‘for the nourishment of their young’. Until Whiskas start rebranding it cows’ milk, then let your imagination run rampant.

– A late-night ad for Party Poker tells a joke involving a Zimbabwean playing online poker. Which Zimbabweans apparently love, between starving to death and having their homes bulldozed. Coming soon: North Koreans extol the benefits of Gala Bingo Online.

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– KFC let Mum ‘have the night off’ from her busy night of cooking, to sit back and paint her nails (because that’s what Mums do in their spare time!) and let Dad order a bucket of mechanically-recovered poultry.

Because mothers apparently just cook, while fathers are busy down the pit, or the factory, or some other form of manual labour. In summary, according to KFC, all parents are one-task drones who should occasionally ‘have the night off’ from said monotony.

Carrie and David’s Pop Shop adverts have been rattling around on Cbeebies. Despite being a desperate retread of Maureen and Melvin’s Musicalgrams (upsettingly, the second time the programme has had a mention on the site in a fortnight), it fails to even rhyme its theme tune, despite supposedly teaching children about music. In their world, this is rhyming: ‘It’s the place we want to be/ It’s Carrie and David’s Pop Shop’. We’re breeding a generation of musical degenerates.

(Incidentally, while I’m on something of a distracted shoddy pop moment, I was in the queue for the loos the other day with someone whose mother had gone out with one of Black Lace. True story.)

– And then there’s Actimel. According to their adverts, the ‘nation has been voting’ for a new flavour of its favourite prebiotic drink (we need something to vote on until the European referendum becomes a viable political topic). And what did we choose? Vanilla. That’s what sums up Britain today. Vanilla. ‘Vanilla’. We may as well have chosen ‘beige’ as our defining national characteristic. The one fact to cling on to is that no sane person would vote to choose the new flavour of Actimel, and if ‘smokey bacon’ had been declared the new flavour I would currently be writing about how daft it is that people don’t have something better to do with their time than vote for kooky flavours of fake elixirs.

– And lastly but not leastly, there’s Muller Light. Any keen followers of blogs will have seen the furore about on the Guardian’s travel blogs a fortnight ago. It followed Max Gogarty, who started a blog about his ker-azy adventures on a gap year abroad for the Guardian. The blog was the epitome of skinny-jean cool, by someone who lives ‘on top of a hill in north London’.

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When the entry first came up I remember thinking: Christ, who are the people taking this seriously? It’s a joke. Obviously. The guy writes for Skins. He’s beyond parody.

Not only was he real, but he embodies the current Muller Light ads to the point that I suspect that they must also be an enormous joke. They follow some gap-year sod around various destinations, as he tries to find something healthier and tastier than the nation’s favourite gelatinous gloop.

This would be easier to follow if the gap-year sod we follow wasn’t such a hollow-eyed wraith, wafting across the screen like a semi-dead wafting. Low fat is the last thing this boy wants – he needs all the pork fat in chocolate he can get his hands on, before he gets blown away by a light draft.

But it would hardly suit Muller to send a porker off on a health mission, so we need a semi-present ghost to explore ‘healthy’ ‘tasty’ snacks for us. Take my advice, Britain: go down to Greggs and buy a half dozen steak bakes. Your fatty nation needs you.