Duchess of York makes UK commercials debut to encourage reading in schools

The Duchess of York is to appear in her first British TV commercial in a campaign to boost interest in reading among school children.

The Duchess of York is to appear in her first British TV commercial

in a campaign to boost interest in reading among school children.

She is one of six celebrities giving their services free for the #l.5

million initiative which is part of National Literacy Year. It is a

joint effort by News International and Walkers Snacks and has been

produced by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

Walkers’ advertising front man, Gary Lineker, the author and prospective

candidate for mayor of London, Lord Archer, the film director and

restaurant critic, Michael Winner, the agony aunt, Claire Rayner, and

the Spice Girl, Mel B, are all featured reading passages from a

favourite childhood book.

All the passages are ironic comments about the readers themselves. The

Duchess reads the opening words from Prince Charming: ’Once upon a time

there was a girl who dreamed that she would one day meet a handsome


Mel B picks one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books which talks about ’a

wild-looking little creature with a mass of untidy black curls’. Lord

Archer describes how Dick Whittington ’returned to London and became

mayor three times’.

Meanwhile Winner, eating a mouthful of spaghetti, reads from Mr


’That was a delicious breakfast he thought to himself. Now I wonder what

would be nice to have for lunch.’

In another ten-second spot, Claire Rayner reads from The Growing Pains

of Adrian Mole: ’Dear Auntie Claire, I am a 15-year-old schoolboy and my

problem is that I am obsessed by sex.’

The ads were written by Tony Strong, art directed by Mike Durban and

directed by Paul Weiland. They promote tokens that will appear on crisp

packets and in all the News International titles, which will be

redeemable against reading books for schools.


Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).