13 August 2007

Advertising eggsplained.

A pub near my office in London promotes a commuter breakfast, using a fondly-remembered advertising slogan that has now passed into popular culture: "Go to work on an egg with our breakfast special". It could be argued that the strapline has greater resonance than some of the more celebrated works by its famous author, Fay Weldon, who created it back in the 1950s. Seeing it still being used, years after the campaign ended, brought a smile to my lips.

By coincidence, this campaign is 50 years old. And to celebrate this milestone, the improbably-named Egg Information Service wants to re-run the original 1957 campaign that featured Tony Hancock. But such a move has been blocked by the even more obscure Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC). BACC spokesman Kristoffer Hammer said: "Dietary considerations have been at the centre of the new rules for advertising and in consideration of this we felt that these adverts did not suggest a varied diet." (full story here.) Strangely this accusation is not also levelled at the manufacturers of breakfast cereals who actively promote such monotonous behaviour in the name of well being.

Modern Britain is often accused of dumbing down; our exams are too easy, Mastermind admits questions on David Bowie, Des O'Connor gets to present Countdown. But I don't think anyone has ever accused advertisers of creating selling propositions that are too complicated. I'm surprised they didn't also canvas the AA for an opinion about whether it would be possible to travel to work aboard an egg. It makes as much sense as banning Ford commercials because they don't tell you about Volkswagens.

A recent YouGov poll showed that nearly half the population does not eat breakfast at all, which must be the ultimate unvaried diet. Such people are less alert and less productive in the morning. Given the choice between going to work on an empty stomach or a free range soft-boiled, surely the latter is preferable, if only to enable the less-sluggish commuters to be able to safely interpret any advertising campaign they might come across, without intervention from a public watchdog.


PW said...

I was looking again at some of the original Tony Hancock TV commercials that ran with Fay Weldon's famous tagline. In at least one of them, the esteemed funny man refers to eating two eggs at breakfast. This is certainly excessive and a real danger to health. It certainly didn't do Hancock much good.

Hoffy said...

Though I hardly think it was the eggs that killed him...