Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on 'harmful' stoves, deadly flu and that rarest of things, a funny TV ad

How long is it since we laughed out loud at a TV advert? There was a time when the ad-makers fell over themselves to amuse us, producing gems such as the Leonard Rossiter / Joan Collins Cinzano commercials and the ones with aliens cackling at our mashed potatoes.


Today, TV ads are designed not to make us smile but to show off the politically-correct credentials of the brand and its colour-blind, genderfluid and thoroughly woke ad agency.

So I was delighted to stumble across the Twix advert in which two campers are discussing the crunchiness of Twix bars while being observed by two grizzly bears who are discussing the crunchiness of campers. It is clever, dark and edgy. How long, I wonder, before someone complains that it trivialises the camping community while reinforcing bear stereotypes and fails to address either global warming or the ongoing tyranny of the male hegemony. Why don't we simply ban all laughter?

Still on the psychology of salesmanship, this comes from an advert for a boat on eBay: “No expense spared in its upkeep - I've poured thousands into it.” Doesn't exactly yell “buy me!” does it?

The eco-campaigner George Monbiot begs forgiveness in a column for installing three log-burning stoves in his house in 2008. Back then, he explains, log-burners were regarded as a clean, green way to warm a house. But now they are seen as “astonishingly harmful” for emitting particles linked to every human illness from cancer to dementia. So what's new?

The history of science is of today's great wisdom becoming tomorrow's dangerous nonsense. It's a steady process of debunking: the planet is cooling / the planet is warming. Diesel is better than petrol / petrol is better than diesel. Electric vehicles are the answer / pity you can't find a charger.

I suspect if we all ripped out our stoves and replaced them with heat pumps tomorrow, within a few years heat pumps would be exposed as eco enemy number one, to be hunted down and banned.

Mind you, all this fretting could be academic. According to some recent reports a bird-flu pandemic could strike at any time. Unless of course, it doesn't.