As a hardened cynic I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as
a match made in heaven, much less one that’s made in an advertising
agency, so you’ll understand my bemusement at all the fuss generated by
Chris Evans and Glenn Hoddle last week.
In their own way, both Chris and Glenn were examples of an age-old
problem. Celebrity endorser is held up as sun-shines-out-of-his-arse
brand spokesman, then goes off the rails (sex, drugs, over-attentiveness
to small animals) and theoretically damages the image of the brand he
First Evans runs into trouble with the upstanding Alcohol Concern group,
which is apparently beside itself with worry about the dangers of
linking Beamish Red, the sponsor of Virgin Radio’s breakfast show, with
its laddish presenter.
Evans did enquire of his audience: ’If you can’t get pissed on your own
show, when can you get pissed?’ But you can bet that the joke did more
for Beamish Red than a bucketload of insipid jingles. What’s the point
of sponsoring Chris Evans if a bit of that ginger wit doesn’t rub
Then there was Shredded Wheat, starring the Hoddle family. The ad itself
was remarkable only for the sadly unphotogenic nature of its stars. Then
Hoddle splits up with his wife and suddenly the ad is on page three of
the tabloids, a bloody great big still, in glorious colour, complete
with a box of Shredded Wheat.
Cereal Partners will now, of course, drop the ad (’we don’t want to
cause any discomfort to viewers or, indeed, to Glenn Hoddle and his
family’ a spokesman said with a fine sense of priority), but what a bang
to go out with.
At a time when ads have to work harder than ever to raise awareness and
drive sales, a rogue celebrity guaranteed to pepper the tabloids can,
perhaps, offer one solution. Any offers for Piers Merchant?