Courtesy of David Brain, a YouTube video of my favourite ever (non-footy related) advert. While this piece of above the line advertising certainly does a great job of raising awareness for the product – I certainly would’ve bought a can to see what it tasted like – I’m not sure if I would’ve bought one every time this beauty came on. Although I definitely would’ve chuckled again. And again.
Besides being just hilarious, this ad does one thing very, very well.
By playing the patriotism card, the ad manages to unite all Brits against the French exchange student, Sebastian, in defence of black currant tango (BCT). The thing about the English is that a hatred or distrust of the French has been burnt into our DNA*. It’s in our history (the 100 Years War) and in our culture (Shakespeare’s classic St Crispin Day’s speech). Our leaders are heroes for defeating the old (not auld – that’s the Scottish) enemy – Wellington for Waterloo and Napolean for Trafalgar. It is a peculiar irony that when entering England from France by Eurostar, your first stop is Waterloo, named for Wellington’s greatest triumph over Napoleon.
So suffice to say, not matter how much a Englishman dislikes Black Currant Tango, they will dislike the French even more. The ad does everything that it can to reinforce that. From the stirring music through to the harrier Jump Jets in the background to the white cliffs of Dover it is a quintessential piece of propaganda. Not for the product though, for Britain.
There is a tribe in South America who’s philosophy goes something like:
- Me against my brother.
- My brother and I against our cousin.
- My brother, our cousin and I against our village.
- Our village against our people.
- Our people against all others.
If creating a community or tribe is your goal, you’ll find the easiest way to do it is to unite against something, not for something.
Enjoy the advert.
* I should point out that the English’s distrust of the French is entirely two sided. We call them “frogs” after their national dish, and they call us ‘le rost beefs”, after ours.
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