ITV 50 Years of Fame: Private view - Pringles

Onomatopoeically speaking, Pringles should have a taste that is somewhere between a prickle and a tingle. But they don't.

The Pringles brief instead rather Germanically describes it as "a unique crunchy, oral sensation" so crackles, prackles or even, God forbid, snackles might be a more sonorously legitimate moniker. But, as in most other areas, Pringles once again defies the laws of product logic. Take the shape.

Doesn't the question "why?" spring to mind? Fine as a prototype for a Charles Eames chair, a model for a Martian spacecraft or even a macquette for a sculpture of the infinity symbol but the design for a crisp? Mr Walker never sliced a potato like this one.

Even more surprising is the company that makes them. Nabisco? Allied Bakeries? United Biscuits? No, no and no. It's that down-home little bakery Messrs Procter & Gamble, the folks that brought you Flash, Head & Shoulders and Always.

Yet all these anomalies make me especially fond of Pringles and its advertising.

We had the Pringles account at Mellors Reay and, when Grey bought us, it went back to join all the other P&G business at Grey London. Yet it always remained the piece of Procter that creatives fought to work on even though the basic strategy and line had been set in America some years earlier. The reason was simple: it was a great line: "Once you pop, you can't stop."

Lately, there's been a trend to add non-humans to the pop-and-pass chain.

In "dogs' night in" the action comes right on out to the garden shed where party-going mutts get down to a doggy DJ (3). The dancing dog with the plastic scratch collar is especially cute. It's triffids in a second spot when plants direct from The Rock Horror Show use tendrils to nick the Pringles from under the humans' noses (2). It's good fun but I love the Western spot, especially the card sharp who shuffles the Pringles like a deck of cards (5). And, oddest of all, a ragged assortment of rather well-animated bugs muscle in on the salsa flavour spot, though quite what the bugs have to do with salsa mystifies me (1).

Of the two promotional spots, I find the scuba gear and bare bums in the supermarket a bit of an own goal for the holiday promotion (6), but I really like the soccer spot, which generated a lot of favourable publicity by signing up Wayne Rooney at the height of his World Cup notoriety (4).

Of course, all the spots are tagged: "Once you pop, you can't stop."

Let's be frank, almost every food brand has dickered with the strategy of more-ishness but for this product the line had an inbuilt truth that is irrefutable. I once saw a New Yorker cartoon of two burly cops leading Colonel Saunders away to the cells. The caption read: "We just found what his sixth secret ingredient is." Even truer for Pringles. They are absolutely addictive. Open the can and you literally can't stop eating them.

However, in these days of Supersize Me and health- conscious eating, will the whole more-ishness model need a rethink? It's a crunchy one for Mr Pringle, the eponymous little gentleman who looks like a cross between Super Mario and the moustachioed Monopoly millionaire. He has frequently been trotted out to me as the answer to many a Pringles creative crisis.

Will he become the spokesman for a new generation of Pringles spots? Not on my watch, mate.

1. PRINGLES Title: Ants Spanish salsa Agency: Grey Year: 2003 2. PRINGLES Title: Plants Agency: Grey Year: 2003 3. PRINGLES Title: Dogs' night in Agency: Grey Year: 2002 4. PRINGLES PROMOTION Title: Dream team Agency: Grey Year: 2004 5. BBQ PRINGLES Title: BBQ Wild West Agency: Grey Year: 2004 6. POUNDS 200 HOLIDAY DISCOUNT Title: Vasco Agency: Grey Year: 2005

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