I freely admit that I’m intolerant of commercials on television, and I always mute the sound or change channels to avoid them. I’m similarly averse to advertisements in magazines, newspapers and online. My ally in avoiding them on the computer is the free app called AdBlock, which I’ve added to Google Chrome to prevent ads loading – it helps speed up how quickly pages load in this way.
Strange then, that I should rise this morning with the name of Adrian Wapcaplet on my mind. This enterprising ad executive features in The String Sketch by Monty Python, which sums up the madness of the advertising industry for me. Perhaps it’s all of the research that I’ve been doing recently in how to sell my books, by raising my profile as a writer through blogging, Twittering, making FaceBook posts and comments on writers’ forums that has made me more aware of the power of advertising.
This sketch is brilliant.
The String Sketch
( from Monty Python’s Instant Record Collection )
Adrian Wapcaplet: Aah, come in, come in, Mr….Simpson. Aaah, welcome to Mousebat, Follicle, Goosecreature, Ampersand, Spong, Wapcaplet, Looseliver, Vendetta and Prang!
Mr. Simpson: Thank you.
Wapcaplet: Do sit down–my name’s Wapcaplet, Adrian Wapcaplet…
Mr. Simpson: how’d’y’do.
Wapcaplet: Now, Mr. Simpson… Simpson, Simpson… French, is it?
W: Aah. Now, I understand you want us to advertise your washing powder.
W: String, washing powder, what’s the difference. We can sell anything.
S: Good. Well, I have this large quantity of string, a hundred and twenty-two thousand miles of it to be exact, which I inherited, and I thought if I advertised it–
W: Of course! A national campaign. Useful stuff, string, no trouble there.
S: Ah, but there’s a snag, you see. Due to bad planning, the hundred and twenty-two thousand miles is in three-inch lengths. So it’s not very useful.
W: Well, that’s our selling point! “SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL STRINGETTES!”
W: “THE NOW STRING! READY CUT, EASY TO HANDLE, SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL EMPEROR STRINGETTES – JUST THE RIGHT LENGTH!”
S: For what?
W: “A MILLION HOUSEHOLD USES!”
S: Such as?
W: Uhmm…Tying up very small parcels, attaching notes to pigeons’ legs, uh, destroying household pests…
S: Destroying household pests?! How? W: Well, if they’re bigger than a mouse, you can strangle them with it, and if they’re smaller than, you flog them to death with it!
S: Well surely !….
W: “DESTROY NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF KNOWN HOUSEHOLD PESTS WITH PRE-SLICED, RUSTPROOF, EASY-TO-HANDLE, LOW-CALORIE SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL EMPEROR STRINGETTES, FREE FROM ARTIFICIAL COLORING, AS USED IN HOSPITALS!”
S: ‘Ospitals !?!?!?!!?
W: Have you ever in a Hospital where they didn’t have string?
S: No, but it’s only string !
W: ONLY STRING?! It’s everything! It’s…it’s waterproof!
S: No it isn’t!
W: All right, it’s water resistant then!
S: It isn’t!
W: All right, it’s water absorbent! It’s…Super Absorbent String! “ABSORB WATER TODAY WITH SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL WATER ABSORB-A-TEX STRINGETTES! AWAY WITH FLOODS!”
S: You just said it was waterproof!
W: “AWAY WITH THE DULL DRUDGERY OF WORKADAY TIDAL WAVES! USE SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL FLOOD PREVENTERS!”
S: You’re mad!
W: Shut up, shut up, shut up! Sex, sex sex, must get sex into it. Wait, I see a television commercial- There’s this nude woman in a bath holding a bit of your string. That’s great, great, but we need a doctor, got to have a medical opinion. There’s a nude woman in a bath with a doctor–that’s too sexy. Put an archbishop there watching them, that’ll take the curse off it. Now, we need children and animals. There’s two kids admiring the string, and a dog admiring the archbishop who’s blessing the string. Uhh…international flavour’s missing…make the archbishop Greek Orthodox. Why not Archbishop Makarios? No, no, he’s dead… never mind, we’ll get his brother, it’ll be cheaper… So, there’s this nude woman….