25 October 2007

"Or, if you're really posh....!"

What on earth has happened to the butler in Joanna Lumley's ads for Privilege car insurance?

It used to pay off with "Or, if you're really posh, have your butler do it!" at which point a bloke in butler's outfit, holding feather duster, would be seen ringing the Privilege number and saying "Hello?" in a mildly snooty voice.

Now he's gone; Lumley's pay-off is the line and the line alone. The visual aid is absent, and the joke (okay, more of a droll observation) has ceased to work.

Repeat fees, maybe? Perhaps the actor was unhappy with playing a character who had to look effeminate in marigolds, with tickling stick, and withdrew his permission. Or maybe the genuinely posh were unhappy with the stereotyping and moaned to Ofcom. After all, only royalty and Shaun Woodward MP have butlers these days.

It's a bit late to get worked up about it, I know. There was a similar issue a few years ago with the "Kev! Bev! Bev! Kev!" ads for cheap motors, when after the initial "meeting yourself in new car" scenario, the actress playing Bev changed. Even the most ardently gullible consumer (at whom these ads are aimed anyway) would have seen the lack of gravitas in the ads if a change in actress had been forced. It's not as if they found a new Bev who was a) physically similar to the previous one; and b) attractive. Especially as she had to cope with acting alongside Kev, aka Stewpot from Grange Hill, whom, the girls in my class all wanted after his heroic snogging session in the book cupboard with Clare Scott.

This is just meaningless wittering now. I really need to pay more attention to the programmes either side of these ads.

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