OPINION: BEALE ON ... NESCAFE

Generally I cannot bear the ego-affectation that convinces some people that they are so astoundingly unique, so definitive they only need a single name. Then I noticed that this column is called "Beale on ..." and wavered.

In the case of Trinny (Woodall) and Susannah (Constantine), though, I hold firm. "Trinny and Susannah": such false familiarity, a down-the-throat matiness designed, here, to buy them the right to tell you that you look like shit.

But you can't deny that the self-styled style police have carved out a rather neat positioning for themselves. A couple of bitches with balls who shoot from the firm-control-knickers hip, not afraid to jab a finger at an offensive leggings-clad orange-peel thigh.

Their TV show, What Not To Wear, is a particularly cutting brand of makeover; victims - "lumpy tits", "square arse" - are taught how to tuck their saddle bags in and introduced to the joys of industrial-strength bras. It's deliciously sadistic, compulsive viewing.

It's this positioning Nescafe has bought for its new Original campaign.

The ad opens with Susannah (who "walks like a cart horse in a badly fitting bin liner", according to that mutton Carol Vorderman) all bed-haired and pink pyjamas, scratching her arse and, despite a face full of make-up, looking like a well-fed scarecrow.

This early-morning zombie is just about to commit fashion suicide when Trinny (Vorderman: "an anorexic transvestite") comes to the rescue with a cup of Nescafe. Never mind that for coffee lovers Nescafe is the hot beverage equivalent of a shell suit, the caffine is enough to bring Susannah to her senses and she stuffs herself into a burgundy ensemble instead.

Two warriors in the war against the nation's wardrobes, the caffined pair stride out, only to have their newly refreshed sense of taste offended by a poor moo who has managed to dress herself in black and white checks and a pink jumper. And what comfort can they offer this walking rag-bag? A jar of Nescafe, of course.

This is not a great ad, or even a very good ad from McCann-Erickson.

As brand spokeswomen there's nothing particularly warm and loveable about T&S. Yet they have attitude and a reputation for uncompromising taste; it's a smart, high-profile association for the ubiquitous coffee brand.

The pairing will play well with much of Nescafe's core housewife audience and even if you loathe T&S, their tongue-in-cheek delivery comes off well and steers the duo just shy of the Linda Barker-style sickly sell-out.

Even so, T&S's appearance in the ad has sparked another attack on the BBC for allowing its celebrities to exploit their TV shows for commercial gain. That won't worry Nescafe.

But I wonder if Nescafe, its parent Nestle, or T&S stopped to consider the effect the combination of coffee and two famous new mothers would have on some housewives. On Trinny & Susannah's own website you'll find a chatroom where a woman called Cat is very disappointed. "I'm shocked," Cat says. "Trinny and Susannah are both breast-feeding mothers and I have boycotted Nestle for two years now because of the fact that Nestle aggressively markets baby milk powder in developing countries." True or not, in the hands of a tabloid journalist this is the sort of thing a brand could find distinctly uncomfortable.

Then again, I suspect that quite a lot of people will agree with another correspondent on the "Virtual Sofa", Stephan. "Hi Cat," Stephan begins. "Sorry to sound so cynical, but do you think that 'celebs' care a monkeys? Ignore them and one day they will go away."

Dead cert for a Pencil? Not a hope, but would be handy for poking in the

eye if they ever offer you a jar of Nescafe.

File under ... B for better than the last one.

What would the chairman's wife say? "Does it come in organic premium

fresh roasted?"

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

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

Share

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).