The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #4: Courts

Judge for yourself…

Bad pun alert! Continuing the furniture thread from our second advent calendar window…

The Ad of Christmas Past

Whereas the Cavendish Woodhouse advertisement focused on aspirational newlyweds, the Courts advert focused on value led customers. This ad would have been shown nearer to Boxing Day, a traditional time for the likes of ELS, MFI and Queensway to advertise its sales.

We see the sharp-suited fellow walking alongside a Courts store extolling the joys of reduced price furniture and carpets. Though the advert dates from 1983, women were still cast as dumb sidekicks for nominal bloke appeal.

If you’re familiar with the voiceover fellow, you are old enough to remember the guy from the 1976 Dixons advert. Yes, that’s the same fellow seen with a ‘tache advertising bargain priced Pentax K1000 cameras and monochrome TVs. Any less irritating than the later adverts with an ermined Bruce Forsyth? Nope.

The Shop of Christmas Past

Courts was formed in Canterbury in 1850 by William Henry Court. In 1945, three Cohen brothers took over and introduced easy terms in 1946. By the 1970s, they became a national chain with most of the UK covered by the 1990s. In 1985, its expansion was helped by purchasing some of Cavendish Woodhouse’s showrooms.

As well as having a solid base in the UK, they opened stores in Caribbean countries and parts of Asia. Their 93 Caribbean stores are still trading today. In the UK, they entered administration on the 29 November 2004 and ceased trading. Apart from its well documented troubles in the early noughties, it is best known for its late 1990s adverts featuring Bruce Forsyth.

Here’s a Brucie Bonus for you! The advert hasn’t aged well, but Sir Bruce Forsyth has aged considerably better since then.

S.V., 04 December 2015.

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