BACKBITE

One of the prerequisites of hosting a column called Backbite, as I am doing for the first time this week, is people expecting you to stick the knife in. This won’t happen every time I write here - but what the hell has M&C Saatchi done with those sinister BA ads?

One of the prerequisites of hosting a column called Backbite, as I am

doing for the first time this week, is people expecting you to stick the

knife in. This won’t happen every time I write here - but what the hell

has M&C Saatchi done with those sinister BA ads?



My gripe is with the series of commercials and press ads using the ‘box’

device, where adult male faces are superimposed on to kids’ bodies - the

cradle scene, the larder scene, etc.



Every time I see these images they remind me of a house at 158 Windmill

Road in Gillingham, Kent. Here, middle-aged men - not unlike the harried

executives who occupy BA business-class cradle seats as they fly around

the globe - transform themselves into babies.



For this perverse pleasure, known as infantilism, they spend pounds 240

a day being looked after by ‘Mummy Hazel’, who dishes out botty smacks,

bondage videos and tapioca pudding in equal measure to 12-stone men

dressed in huge romper suits, nappies and frilly dresses.



Hazel’s Hushabye Baby Club is one kind of adult creche, BA’s business

class ads inspire another, and I, for one, am left feeling anything but

closer to BA. Worse, I am positively turned off by one of the most

spooky campaigns I’ve seen for years.



Just because every time I see a BA commercial I want to shout ‘Go back

home you perverts!’, sign up for a Richard Branson PEP and reach for a

Virgin Cola, doesn’t mean these strategically clear BA ads won’t work.



I presume they are intended to make the largely male expense account-

fuelled targets feel warm and cosy towards a hitherto cold and lofty

airline.



Why, then, does the surreal ‘dreams’ global film (an ad that is intended

as much for me as anyone) bombard me with alienating, cold, impersonal

images: masked theatre, dollar signs, a man being chased through the

snow by faceless horsemen?



While BA is spending pounds 775 million and taking three years to

reinvent itself, I am repelled and confused. Is anyone else?



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