Saturday, 26 June 2010

David Beckham, Young's Admiral's Pie/Mariner's Pie

When I first saw these fish pies in my local supermarket, I was expecting this post to be in part about how Brand Beckham is so powerful that it can sell products even though he isn't at the World Cup, but he is, in his role as 'player liaison'. But what is he for, David Beckham: Player Liaison (not to be confused with Van Wilder: Party Liaison)? I haven't seen him liaising much during matches, so I can only assume he carries out this role in the England 'camp', though I wouldn't know as I switch my concentration off when we get reports on what's being going on there, be it from Gabby Logan on BBC or Gabriel Clarke on ITV (I do quite like how these correspondents have corresponding boy/girl names, and actively encourage this policy be used extensively by the two broadcasters - I look forward to a Chris/Adriana combo being employed on The One Show).

The main role we actually see Becks playing at the World Cup is that of iconic player-as-visual representation of how all England fans are feeling, as employed regularly throughout England's matches by the broadcasters. For the non-football fan looking to assimilate into the national hysteria, it's the equivalent of 'LAUGH' and 'APPLAUD' signs used for studio audiences - just copy the facial expression and body language of Becks and you too can look as emotionally invested in this circus as the deluded loons surrounding you! England aren't the only team to be employing someone in this role - Argentina made theirs manager.

As a teenage England fan, like many others I came to hate Becks for his childish act at France '98. By the time he completed his redemption (against Greece, 2001), I had largely stopped caring about the England football team, and now objected to him as one half of Posh and Becks. I found their level of celebrity too much to stomach. Alistair McGowan and Ronni Ancona kept their careers going off the back of David and Victoria, despite the fact they were both positively crap at impersonating them. The nadir came when Brand Beckham tried to break America in 2003, and failed, not realising that actually having something to promote might have helped. It was America's loss, as I'm sure Dane Bowers would've used it as a springboard to launch his assault on Yank senses. However, just as his absence from the England XI has made the country's hearts grow fonder, I've mellowed towards Becks over recent years.

I was mildly perplexed to see him endorsing these fish pies, and to be honest, I'd much rather have had scampi, but it turns out there's good reason Becks is a Fish Pie Liaison too. Young's have teamed up with GO3 (endorsed by Becks) to boost the Omega-3 content of some of their range. On the boxes, Becks says:

"Dinner is a family time for me and my favourite meal of the day. Fish pies are great to share, and with GO3 there is an easy and tasty way to get Omega-3 into the family too.

Now, whenever I see the quote the celebrity, I always like to play a little game: Celebrity or Copywriter. My scientific method in playing this game is to imagine the celebrity actually saying those words - if it sounds natural in their voice, then I conclude celebrity (even though I suspect the answer may almost universally be copywriter). So, with Loyd Grossman, even across such an extensive range of products, the words always convey an erudition that befits the Grossman persona. Even with Chris Hoy, the quote gels with the 'marginal gains' mentality of Team GB. However, when I read this 'quote' from Becks, I can only imagine him reading it in a stilted manner that is characteristic of his endorsements. So I can conclude without a shadow of a doubt: Copywriter. I can only hope you have as much fun playing this game in future as I do.

I'm pretty sure Omega-3 was only discovered like 5 or 6 years ago, because when I was younger and my mum served us fish-in-a-bag, the packaging made no mention of it. Now it's bloody everywhere. And if you were thinking that Omega-3 sounds like something from science fiction, it's probably because if you change the number, it is:

Reminding me of Galaxy Quest is no bad thing because Galaxy Quest is actually a better Star Trek film than the official ones, and anything that gets Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor, Ellen Ripley, Severus Snape, Adrian Monk, Warren Cheswick, Keith Mars, Susan Ross, Dwight Schrute and Squeak Scolari all in one place deserves your love.

When I was younger I was turophobic. Maybe that's a bit strong, I wasn't afraid of cheese, I just didn't like it really. Don't worry, I (along with almost all cheese-haters as I found out) am and have always been pro-pizza. These days I'd class myself as more of a mild cheeseskeptic (that is mildly skeptical towards cheese, not skeptic of just mild cheese), so I'd have to say I'm more enamoured of the Mariner's Pie (creamy parsley sauce with sweetcorn) than the Admiral's Pie (creamy butter sauce with cheddar cheese). Given that the fish is Pollock, I'd quite like to fast bowl one pie while flicking forkfuls of the other at a canvas (or perhaps combine the two in a manner akin to Michael Vaughan). If it were Haddock I'd be referencing a beardy Tintin character, but if it were cod I'd have to resort to making a James Pond 2: Codename Robocod reference. That or some awful puns of my own. Just thank cod you didn't have to put up with that.

David Beckham: 6/10
Mariner's Pie: 6.5/10, Admiral's Pie: 4.5/10 (Average: 5.5/10)
Total: 11.5/20

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lionel Messi/Didier Drogba/Fernando Torres, Pepsi Max

What is it with football? Unlike cyclists, who endorse foodstuffs like Bran Flakes (Chris Hoy) or Hovis Wholemeal (Victoria Pendleton - COP review forthcoming), football likes to associate itself with junk. You'd think that the effect of footballers endorsing healthier foods would be much greater than that of endorsing products that everybody likes already. Thus, I can't quite fathom why the footballing authorities and footballers themselves are so much in thrall to these mega-rich multinationals.

Even when I was a young lad, footballers would do more honourable things, like sometime-Phantom of the Opera lookalike Gary Mabbutt appearing in mid-nineties CBBC magical realist masterpiece The Queen's Nose...

...which tangentially leads me to my...

Close Encounters of the Queen's Nose Kind:
1. When I worked at a well-known fast food restaurant, the dad from the Queen's Nose once came in to eat. He is also lovingly remembered for voicing Marvin, the Paranoid Android, in the TV and radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

2. When I went on a skiing trip to France with my school, Harmony from the Queen's Nose was on the ferry there and back, going on a skiing trip with her school. She is also lovingly remembered for appearing in Jonathan Creek that one time and those adverts for Wrigley's sponsoring Hollyoaks.

Anyway, the accompanying Mega-advert for this promotion features a number of stars playing a game on a pitch outlined by Africans. Now, these Africans might look willing to do this, but I'm pretty certain that letting a load of black people form the bounds of the pitch for a bunch of multi-millionaires amounts to slavery.

There's not much to say about our trio of endorsers beyond their footballing talents, but it's perplexing that Frank Lampard hasn't been selected for the UK market, what with his blossoming romance with Christine Bleakley, the doyenne of early evening magazine shows (just look at Live From Studio Five - they need two women to fill her role). By the way, Frank, I understand and share your pain at losing a parent at a premature age, but I don't think you need to dedicate every goal to your mum - give her some rest, will you?

Now, when it comes to Pepsi or Coca-Cola, I don't really have any strong feelings either way. I'm pretty sure you'd agree though that the pecking order for either is

1. glass bottle
2. can
3. 500ml plastic bottle/top of 2l plastic bottle
4. bottom of 2l plastic bottle

And what about Coke on tap, you ask? Given its variable in-house mixture of concentrated syrup and carbonated water, often with some residue of Fanta/Tango/Sprite/7-Up/Sprunt thrown in, I think it's a bit of a stretch to call the stuff Pepsi or Coca-Cola.

So, I'd have to say that the Pepsi Max was not nearly as nice as the glass bottles of Pepsi Raw (made from all-natural ingredients) that I bought with it in a multi-buy offer. I'm not entirely sure whether this superiority is resultant from the natural kola nut flavour, or whether it is this glass bottle effect. On this point, currently featuring in the Uneven Geographies exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary is Cildo Meireles' Coca-Cola Project, glass bottles of Coke which he had printed slogans and then reintroduced into circulation. My overriding response was to want a nice cold bottle myself. I'm pretty sure that's not the correct reaction.

Lionel Messi: 8/10, Didier Drogba: 6/10, Fernando Torres: 7/10 (average 7/10)
Pepsi Max: 6.5/10
Total: 13.5/10