Friday, 17 August 2012

Commercial break

Five TV commercials from yesteryear with a football theme. Click the titles to view the ads...

Penguin (1977)

The unlikely tale of a kids football team playing a Flightless Bird XI from the Antarctic and losing – in humiliating fashion. Having presumably exhausted all other options where local teams were concerned, the children in red-and-white stripes played off on a never-more-Seventies muddy pitch in front of a baying crowd that strongly support the birdy outfit (judging by their hats and scarves). The kids never stood a chance. The referee and various members of the crowd were heavily influenced by the allure of chocolaty Penguin bars and before you knew it, our feathery friends had put the ball in the back of the net. Cue rapturous scenes and a guard of honour as the winners waddled their way off the p-p-p-pitch. Exciting stuff.

Sugar Puffs (1996)

Kevin Keegan, playing sensation of Newcastle United and, in 1996, a manager of equal renown lived for footballing glory. The secret of his success?  The deployment of a seven-foot furry monster as the kind of Supersub that would make David Fairclough feel inadequate. From the comfort of a Wembley TV studio overlooking the famous hallowed turf, Big Kev explained the reason for his most recent success. With a Cup Final heading into extra time, only one monster could win it for his team. On he went and instantly leapt like a salmon to head the ball in from close range. Jonathan Pearce's shouted commentary conveyed the feeling of excitement all around as The Furry One finished a quick bowl of Sugar Puffs and grabbed the trophy from out of Kev’s hands. An extraordinary finish to an extraordinary match.

Tottenham Hotpsur (1984)

In 1984, Tottenham Hotspur won the UEFA Cup beating Anderlecht 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw on aggregate. This should come as no surprise to anyone studying the video footage that remains from the era, including this TV advert which is enlightening to say the least. In it, we see Ossie Ardiles leading out the team at White Hart Lane, resplendent in their clean white shirts… but what’s this? Not only do we find the likes of Clemence, Crooks, Brazil and Archibald but also the elderly Mrs Riddlington, a new wave band called The Sharks, comedian Peter Cook and a cast of thousands. Thirty-five thousand according to the voice-over. No wonder they had a successful side back then, and they were still asking for more people to join in. Then again, Queens Park Rangers were never likely to be a big draw under any circumstances.

Hamlet Cigars (1977)

In this day and age of £140 million lottery jackpots, it’s difficult to remember the weekly ritual that was the Football Pools. Every week, you’d pick up your coupon, scribble an ‘X’ next to the ten matches you thought would end in a draw, pay your money and wait for 5pm on a Saturday. It’s at this point we join the becardiganed hero of our story, played by Brian Glover, listening in to the classified results on the radio. Amazingly he needs only one more score draw to win the jackpot, but when the final result begins “Stenhousemuir 5…” his hopes appear dashed. Thank heavens, then, when the radio announcer finishes the result with the words “…Cowdenbeath 5.”  Elated, our common man reaches for his coat to take a celebratory Hamlet cigar out of his pocket – but in doing so reveals the unposted coupon as it falls to the floor. At least he still had his cigar…

Long Life beer (1985)

If you think FIFA like to tinker around with the beautiful game in all its detail, we can let you into a little secret. Many of their ideas come from Ind Coope, the makers of Long Life beer. Proof of this can be seen in a television commercial where various potential improvements to football are pondered through the narration of Jim Rosenthal. Bigger goal nets, smaller goal nets, square balls, bendy balls, odd balls – all of them are demonstrated here, and amazingly some of them even work. None of these ideas, however, can hold a candle to Long Life beer – the only beer brewed especially for the can (so we’re told). Whether that means it contains extra chemicals to counter-balance the metallic taste, we’re not sure, but either way it must have had more people turning to alcohol out of admiration for its humour and creativity.


  1. Apparently sales of Sugar Puffs in Sunderland plummeted after that ad, got a couple of Mackem mates who won't touch them on principle.

    1. REALLY Rich?!!? Jeepers... the power of mis-advertising, eh?!?