Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lionel Richie & Gary Lineker, Walkers Extra Crunchy


And lo, Conspirators of Pleasure opens its proverbial doors for the first time to a product being endorsed by not one, but two celebrities with the advertising campaign for Walkers Extra Crunchy as Gary Lineker is joined by Lionel Richie.



Lionel is singing an altered version of Say You, Say Me, his Oscar-winning song from the film White Nights. White Nights is about an American tap dancer and a Soviet ballet dancer who have defected to one other's countries. I've not seen the film, I'll just wait for the modern update, Street Tap 3D, which will almost surely feature a scene in which our tap-happy protagonist recreates Fred Astaire's tap dance up the walls and on the ceiling. He won't tap dance up any old wall though, he'll do it up the FOURTH WALL! TAPPING ALL UP IN OUR FACES! Anyway, White Nights has got Helen Mirren in it, so we can be fairly certain she takes her clothes off in it, as that's what she does in everything: Caligula, The Cook, The Thief..., Calendar Girls, The Queen. I'm fairly certain that her DBE was for services to boys' wet dreams. I'd say I guess her habit of disrobing is a result of education at a Catholic girls school, if my (non-Catholic) mother weren't educated at the same school, and she is thankfully not so prone to the same syndrome.



I'm not too sure about Lionel's appearance in the advert. While I can applaud that he is happy to send himself up, I feel that it seems to put him in the same ironic bracket as Mr. T (Snickers) and Ray Parker Jr (118 118). But this is the Lionel Richie whose Hello was number one in the UK at the time of my birth, so I don't see how I can score him anything over than a 10. If you doubt this judgement, one only needs be reminded of the classic video, about an arts teacher and his blind pupil, neither of whom have clearly heard The Police's Don't Stand So Close To Me.



Back to the advert: the first time I saw it, I thought that it signalled the end of the partnership of famous Leicester exports, until the face of Lineker appeared. It's a face whose complexion these days has me reaching for the remote to adjust the colour settings. The main problem with the Lineker Walkers adverts is that they've gone on so long that everyone's forgotten that the original intention of his villainous role was to sendup his 'nice guy' image. He has become so insufferably smug these days that I expect the adverts are now largely autobiographical. Further, his nice guy image was in part predicated on his never having got a yellow card in his football career. As Brian Clough once said, "show me a man who never got booked, and I'll show the guy the door for not trying hard enough"(or maybe I just made that up).



Lineker's pun in this behind the scenes video is less Walkers Extra Crunchy, more Walkers Extra Clunky, and as a result I can't possibly bring myself to score him even a single point. Way to bring the average down, Gary.

The marketing of Walkers Extra Crunchy focuses on how they are "made to share". How does their Extra Crunchiness (as a result of being sliced thicker and cooked longer) make them better for sharing? If these crisps are made for sharing particularly while watching television or a film, then I fail to see how Extra Crunchiness (and therefore extra loudness) can be desirable. I think that it's all rather a marketing ploy to corner the booming sharing sector of the crisp market while suggesting we shouldn't binge on their product to appease Saint Joliver. I ate a whole bag by myself in a single sitting just to spite them.

Flavour-wise I found even the more enticing Cheddar & Sour Cream and Flame Grilled Steak to be pretty bland and insipid, while the Extra Crunchiness doesn't deserve Lionel singing about it. I'll stick to Kettle Chips in future, thanks.

Lionel Richie: 10/10, Gary Lineker: 0/10, Average: 5/10
Walkers Extra Crunchy: 3/10
Total: 8/20

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