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ASK THE EGGSPERT

 21-06-2007

Can you believe that TV watchdogs have banned an advert advising us to “go work on an egg?” No? Nor can Mick Temple.

Psst … wanna score some quality gear? High grade organic, fresh, brown - and free range.

In one of my local pubs, the appearance of the egg lady selling what she purports to be lovely ‘farm-fresh’ eggs –‘they must be’ says Barry behind the bar, ‘look at the feathers in the box’ – might soon be a thing of the past.

OK, that’s stretching credulity, but the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), yet another bloody quango spending our money, has decided that Tony Hancock’s classic TV commercial urging us to ‘go to work on an egg’ cannot be broadcast now.

As the lad himself might have said, ‘stone me’!

The Egg Information Service (no, I promise you I’m not making these bodies up) wanted to use the advert as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

BACC spokesman Kristoffer Hammer (as the Master pointed out, there’s some raw work pulled at the font) announced that "the concept of eating eggs every day for breakfast goes against what is now the generally accepted advice of a varied diet and we therefore could not approve the ads for broadcast”.

As if the constant stream of adverts for cereals with high levels of sugar and salt were promoting a varied breakfast for the nation. My packet of sugar-saturated Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes even urges me to try the Crunchy Nut diet for two weeks. You might as well try the deep-fried Mars Bar diet.

How many of us had heard of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre before? Their job is to scrutinise all adverts and decide on their suitability for broadcast. Either the ‘egg-ban’ is a very clever strategy to get their name and function more widely circulated or it’s yet more evidence of the absurdity of the watchdogs that supposedly protect us from ourselves.

Harold Wilson was once asked what the function of government was and replied that it was to look after its citizens ‘from the cradle to the grave’. This is government!

They couldn’t organise a fish and chip supper at Harry Ramsden’s – guacamole dip anyone? - yet alone look after us throughout our lives.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Thatcherism had buried such sentiments but recent decisions banning adverts for milk and cheese from being broadcast during children’s television programming demonstrate that the mantra that the man in Whitehall knows best is far from dead.

The belief that we are too weak to resist the blandishments of advertisers or are incapable of making our own judgements about what we and our children eat underpins far more important governmental areas.

Iraq War? You’ll love it when you try it, come on, nanny knows best.

I know that spraying myself with Lynx will not produce thousands of sex-mad women desperate for a piece of my body although it might produce a wrinkled nose from any woman approaching sophistication.

If something is legal then let it be advertised and let us make our own mind up about whether we will buy it.

Meanwhile, if you’re desperate, I know a good source of eggs.

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