Yes, I REALLY like to watch the adverts!
Part of the joys of listening to Half Man Half Biscuit for me is spotting the B-list celebrities and other popular culture references within their lyrics. Though I’m able to get most of the references, some younger listeners may be at a loss with some. Especially the adverts of long forgotten products.
East of the M60, within the realms of this post, aims to inform anyone born after 1979 of its advertising references.
1. “The Krona rumour spread but they didn’t tell the bread…” (99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd): Krona was a popular butter/margarine brand of the mid 1980s, as well as a Swedish currency unit. Its adverts cut through the stereotype of Krona being a Danish brand. Therefore it persuaded people to think that it was a British brand. Krona (the margarine) was launched in 1978 using a blend of dairy cream and vegetable oils.
2. “A million housewives everyday pick up a can of beans and say…” (Venus in Flares): The opening line of HMHB’s ‘Venus in Flares’ is borrowed from the Heinz slogan which continues with ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’. Messrs Blackwell and Crossley’s take on this is “what an amazing example of synchronisation…”.
3. “I walked across the road with a peach in my hand…” (Architecture, Morality, Ted and Alice): This relates to a Public Information Film from 1976. Entitled ‘Eyes and Ears: It’s Your Lookout’ it raised awareness of road safety by showing a man carelessly crossing the road. Shortly after the car hits him, the film cuts to a shot of a hammer hitting a peach.
4. “You Can Really Taste The Hops!” (CAMRA Man): As the real ale movement gathered momentum by the late 1970s (thanks to CAMRA and a bunch of Mancunian journalists which founded it one night at The White Lion in Hyde), some leading breweries revived their real ale brands. Or they created imitation traditional brands, in keg form. The final line in CAMRA Man refers to the slogan used in the Ben Truman Bitter advert dating from 1979.
5. “Gob full of tapioca, I sit and I watch you excel…” (I Left My Heart in Papworth General): Another beer reference. ‘Watch you excel’ refers Whitbread Tankard, a popular 1970s keg beer whose advertising slogan would typically use ‘your chance to excel’. The cartoon character used to advertise the beer went by the name of Stanley.
But Wait, There’s More…!
Feel free to add to our quintet of advertising slogans in Half Man Half Biscuit songs. Post early…!
S.V., 07 September 2012.