In a recent article in Campaign magazine the “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” slogan was hailed as one of the most effective messages in the history of government communications.
Yet, “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives,” the sequel, failed to hit the mark causing chaos, confusion, and a flurry of pastiches. Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
In case you hadn’t guessed I’m a sucker for a good advert as it feels like my life has been punctuated by catchy jingles, commercials and political campaigns.
Today we are bombarded with marketing messages from the second we wake until the minute we close our eyes.
I’m old enough to remember the “Charlie says” messages from the Central Office of Information in which safety advice like “don’t play with matches” was relayed via a child interpreting the sage wisdom of his slightly terrifying cat, Charlie, (voiced by Kenny Everett).
And who can forget the tombstone image of “AIDS: don’t die of ignorance” from the 80s?
Politics-wise, Saatchi & Saatchi dominated the media landscape of my younger days, with “Labour Isn’t Working” and later M&C Saatchi’s “New Labour, New Danger”.
More recently we have all felt the seismic ramifications of Dominic Cummings’ controversial “£350m-a-week for the NHS” Brexit bus slogan for Vote Leave.
However, for some reason, biscuit adverts were the ones that really stuck in my memory; “Have a break, have a KitKat” or “Everyone Lubs a Club”.
Recently I did a double-take at a chalkboard outside The Old Bakehouse restaurant in West Linton, a simple play on words, “Fancy a bakeaway?”
I was right back in 1983 with cartoon characters and a cheesy rap. Adverts really stuck in your head in those days, “He was the meanest geezer in the city, uh huh real rough stuff, not too pretty uh huh, but he still remembers the fateful day that his Mum did say, ‘I’ll take away your Breakaway’.”
So count me in, the advertising worked. The minute I got home I had to check online and indeed the local eatery was offering a takeaway collection service, where you simply phone between 6 and 8.30pm on a Monday or Tuesday, place your order and are given a time slot for collection on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights from 4pm.
For safety, only three customers can collect every 15 minutes and the socially distanced waiting area is sanitised between those time slots. You make your payment over the phone.
So the family and I ordered from a slightly odd choice of menu options: vegetarian burger, chicken Milanese, spicy burritos and sizzling fajitas and even a Sunday roast, although there were no starters or desserts.
The young ’un quickly bagsied the herb glazed salmon fillet option, which was served in a creamy lemon and dill sauce with classy new potatoes and carrots, broccoli and a spoonful of shredded cabbage pickle with mustard seeds.
I ordered the vegetarian Goan coconut curry, which featured large chunks of sweet potato, aubergine and pepper mouthfuls with a scattering of earthy chickpeas.
It was served in a lightly spiced sauce with a diddy pot of homemade spiced onions and plump, salted basmati rice. An optional pot of supercharged chilli oil to rev up the intensity could be deployed if required.
The fella couldn’t see past the Bruiser burger (black, blue and red all over), a Cajun blackened 7oz patty of ground steak with oodles of melted Stilton, salad with side orders of salsa and coleslaw accompanied by chunky chips and an onion ring.
The elder girl fancied a fish tea, so fresh fish and chips it was, a sizeable haddock in beer batter with a pot of tartare sauce complete with jolly salty capers and tasty pickle pot and the weighty dilemma of whether to go for fresh or mushy peas.
As we were planning to eat plein-air, it was eventually decided that the garden version and chips would be best.
Then we only had a week-long wait for the weekend to come so we could collect the goodies.
Anticipation in the household was at Level Five (red) – a “material risk of being overwhelmed by hunger” so it was definitely a case of “Good things come to those who wait” (Guinness).
The marvellous aromas filled the car as we headed home, after a straightforward and speedy collection process. Our table was already set up outdoors and no-one felt short-changed by their selections.
The fish was declared good enough for the captain’s table (Birds Eye). The fella’s burger both “finger lickin’ good” (KFC) and “The best a man can get” (Gillette) whilst the feisty wee one declared herself satisfied with her salmon quoting Ronseal – “It does exactly what it says on the tin.”
So it would appear that advertising really does work, and our family plan to revisit the Bakehouse Bakeaway very soon.
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