Thursday, 2 June 2011

Never Knowingly Undersold

Three years on and I am now officially closing the Scarlet Blue blog. This is my favourite in the series of Advert posts. I still ponder as to why grown women cry when viewing this advert.
Anyhow, God bless Scarlet-Blue and all who sailed with her!!!




There has been much controversy in the British press regarding the new John Lewis ad, which features actress/glamour model/author/Olympic gold medallist/circus performer/after dinner speaker/one time MP for Wigglesworth and Bendover, Fanny Mountjoy, who died earlier this year. Critics have accused John Lewis of focussing on the lesser aspects of Fanny’s endeavours and in the brief summation of her life they have failed to acknowledge Fanny’s greater achievements, specifically her much loved symphony in D minor, composed on the glockenspiel, entitled The Waitress.
Fanny’s family and friends have hit back arguing that this is how Fanny would like to have been remembered. For them Fanny will always be, first and foremost, a wife, mother, mistress and home-maker; as well as a sister; an aunt; a niece; a cousin; a god-daughter; a god-mother; a grandmother; and when occasion demanded, an uncle.
Critics have countered that John Lewis has undermined Fanny’s memory in the public psyche and have been grossly irresponsible to broadcast such a reduced and sentimental account of Fanny’s life.
Fanny’s family and friends have replied claiming that her family life was more significant than her groundbreaking thesis on high wire acrobatics and aerial fire eating, which led to her being nominated for a Nobel prize in chemistry.
Critics have gone on to suggest that family and friends wish to play down some of Fanny’s more dubious activities, such as the night she reportedly spent with naked activists in Cunliffe Square demonstrating over the demolition of Squirts ice cream parlour, an iconic building in Wigglesworth.
Family and friends [namely Claude Wood – third cousin, twice removed] have scoffed at this suggestion saying that her involvement was greatly overplayed and she was merely a bystander, albeit a naked bystander with an ice cream cone and a crumbly flake. Claude claims that it was a very warm evening.
Critics are now meeting to decide their next move whilst friends and family have adjourned to their comfortable living rooms to await further developments and to catch up with Britain’s Got Talent.
And so, dear reader [I’ve always wanted to write that – it makes me sound like I’m a proper blogger], have John Lewis knowingly undersold Fanny Mountjoy? I’ll leave it to you to decide.

85 comments:

Dave said...

I have to say, Scarlet, you have always been a woman to me.

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm sure we'd all prefer our naked ice cream episodes to be quickly forgotten.

xl said...

No idea about John Lewis or Fanny, but ...

"a powerful whiff of fondue"

I'm in!

donn said...

This encapsulation of how fast Life goes by may be smothered in fromage but it is painfully accurate.
One day you're a little boy holding a dead bird that you found in the garden and have that first whiff of mortality...
*snaps finger
all of a sudden you're kissing a girl, getting married, having kids, chasing a career, and you wake up one morning and try to figure out where the time went?
Had I spent it with Fanny Mountjoy and partaken in her zany antics I would die a happy man knowing that I had lived a full life.
This ad works because the world seems hellbent on destroying itself..growing up in the 60s I was sold the Beatlesque fantasy that we can work it out...but it gets worse every year and I am genuinely concerned that a massive 'correction' is imminent.

Institutional ads like this cut through the horrid clutter of the 24/7 news cycle and get our heads back down in earth like an ostrich and coccoon with our loved ones...and decorate our homes to match the fantasy being sold to us.
Fantastic post.

Princess said...

Scarlet you are back with avengance
Have you any spare teena pads I'm wetting myself with laughter...

Scarlet Blue said...

Dave: I'm just like a little sister!

Fairyhedgehog: ...and all the film deleted...

Mr XL: Fanny Mountjoy is ubiquitous! This is my word of the day and I'm pleased I got to use it.

Mr Coppens: Thank you, *blushes*.
Very pleased to see you in the blogosphere.
No doubt we are on the path to somewhere unpleasant... and we probably all know it... so whilst we wait our arrival we can snuggle up and watch it all unfold on our HD ready wide screen TVs.

Missy Princess: Please don't make a mess on the sofa!

Sx

Heff said...

All I know is after seeing that clip, I feel OLD.

FUCK.

Jane P said...

I have missed your soooo funny posts. I must start coming back again regularly.

Rog said...

I can hear the briefing meeting - "We want to encapsulate the essential lifestyle ambience of JL in a two minute trailing narrative tapping into the inter-generational zeitgeist".
You can buy virtually the same sense of timelessness at BHS at 20% cheaper - but without the Fanny.

PS That Donn's gone off on one hasn't he?

Dave said...

I've never had a little sister. Can I adopt you?

kyknoord said...

I have fond memories of Fanny. Being single sucks balls.

nick said...

From my knowledge of Fanny (and I knew her intimately for some 21 years), she was always very proud that she had it all, with such a versatile list of achievements under her belt, from happy wife and mum to ice cream connoisseur, world-renowned musician and Nobel prizewinner.

She would have been deeply hurt by this trivialisation of her rich and accomplished life for the vulgar purpose of shifting a few white goods and three-piece suites. I for one shall take my custom elsewhere.

French Fancy said...

Oh that cheesy advert - having said that I do miss John Lewis and have been known to go into quite an excited state when hitting Oxford Street and entering said store.

Still don't like the advert though.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I always knew I wasn't a JL kinda woman. Poor Fanny indeed!

jekandhyd said...

This is an extremely irresponsible piece of advertising by John Lewis. At 42 secs a perfectly healthy Fanny reaches into the fridge emerging a mere 2 secs later as clinically obese. It is exactly this sort of subliminal message that causes impressionable teenage girls to develop eating disorders. Shame on you, John Lewis

BEAST said...

As I am always saying Miss Scarlet , one cannot get enough fanny.
I am a little alarmed. If you listen to the lyrics JL seem to be libelling the poor woman basically calling her a lyin thievin bitch...did she do something to upset them ?

savannah said...

i don't know the lady, but i love the advert! in the end, no matter what you may accomplish in life, the things that matters most are the people you love and who love you, everything else is anecdotal. great post, sugar! xoxoxoxo

Geoff said...

Fanny is truly everywoman.

Yet like no woman I know.

B-u-x said...

Damn it, I knew I was missing something, well apart from you Miss Scarlet of course, it's the regular trawl through John Lewis of the 70's (for let's face it, the modern face of JL just aint the same). Who could forget the reek of 'tweed' (Eau de parfum de Toilette...an apt description if ever there was one). So nice to see you more regularly again Miss S, you do make me laugh!

Bx

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ah... Squirts Ice Cream Parlour...

Sadly missed. Crushed nuts with every waitress.

Happy Frog and I said...

I find myself sadly distracted by the crumbly flake, yum! :-)

donn said...

Sorry Rog it's what I do...
and hello Kyknoord!
Wow!

LL Cool Joe said...

I haven't seen this advert before but think it's quite beautiful. Whether it's the image that Fanny would have wanted to be created or not, it seems to have been done tastefully and in a positive way.

(Found your blog through Technobabe)

Roses said...

Ah Fanny, the true feminine icon. Mother and rebel both.

I will have a crumbling flake in her honour.

Scarlet Blue said...

Heff: I know... life flashes by, let's make the most of it.

Jane: Hello young lady! I've missed you too.

Rog: BHS???? *shrieks in horror* I'm moving on to Cath Kidston.
Yes, that's what Mr Coppens does... he has an appealing enthusiasm and verve.

Dave: Yes, brother Dave!

Mr Kinky: I'm not going to ask what Fanny used to do to you...

Nick: Yes, I know you knew her intimately. You take up the whole of chapter 34 in her autobiography. I read it last night. I didn't know that you are a contortionist, famous for your head-seat. I'm impressed.

Mrs French: I can understand the lure of John Lewis... It's difficult to get me out of Waitrose... it's just a more pleasant shopping experience.

Lulu: It's a pity that Fanny didn't go into retail.
I'd like to think that I'm a Fanny woman. Hang on... I didn't quite mean that the way it might sound...

Mr Jekand: It'll also have them reaching for the anti-wrinkle cream and plastic surgeon.
Maybe if we all slow down then we won't get old so quick?

Mr Beastie: I think the song is a concession to Fanny's true character.
In her autobiography there is a brief paragraph alluding to shop lifting escapades in M&S... and something about her accidentally stabbing a security guard when fleeing from a robbery at Ratner's. It's barely mentioned though.

Savvy: The advert is causing a mini-storm here; people either love it or hate it... but you're right - it's those closest to us who matter most.

Geoff: Oh come on Geoff... you must have come across a few fannys...?

Bux: Hello - it's good to see you again!
I'm intrigued now, I'm going to spend some time looking at old JL ads.
Do you remember Timothy Whites? I used to get vouchers for Christmas.

Sxx
*Fag break*

mago said...

I have no idea what they sell.

Scarlet Blue said...

Kev: ...and silver balls with every mouthful...

Happy Froggy: It wouldn't be a proper post without a crumbly flake! Or was it written by a crumbly flake? - Something else for the critics to discuss...

Mr Coppens: Yes, I have reminded Rog that this is what you do.
You're enthusiasm has been sorely missed in the blogosphere.

Mr Cool: Hello and Welcome! Do you think that the soundtrack makes it feel melancholic, evoking memories of more simple times?

Roses: Don't forget to dunk that flake!

Sxx

Scarlet Blue said...

**sp. *your* - goodness!
Sx

Scarlet Blue said...

Mr Mags: Sorry, Mr Mags, you snuck in whilst I was in full flow.
They sell just about everything at JL. What makes the place different is that JL is a partnership and the staff all have a share in the business. If you want good service then JL is the place to go.
The advert doesn't really make this clear!
Sx

Julia said...

Claude Wood Fanny Mountjoy. Now there's a story

nick said...

I wasn't very happy with chapter 34, it besmirches my good character numerous times, but the publisher ignored my complaints. A contortionist indeed. In fact I learnt to be a contortionist mainly through the extraordinary positions Fanny insisted on during our more intimate liaisons.

Scarlet Blue said...

Julia: Hello and Welcome!
Indeed, it is an epic of quiet restraint and detailed in Chapter 35 of Fanny's autobiography...
...and most welcome after the graphic and sordid recollections exposed in chapter 34....
Isn't that right, Nick?
Sxx

Joanna Cake said...

I really like the ad. Over at mine, people seemed to think that it might have been sexist due to the lack of a career for Fanny...?
Whatever! I may not have had much of a career whilst raising my kids but Im making the most of it now! And, dammit, I dont know where I would have found the time for one as well as looking after the little sproglets. All working mums have my utmost admiration! But I hate the fact that people seem to think you have to do both. Sure, some women do have to for financial reasons but it is not necessary to total fulfilment emotionally for every woman.

Leah said...

I think you're a genius.

...and I have to admit the ad got me a little teary because my brain is fried in the Brooklyn heat...of course that's the reason...

nick said...

I'm consulting my lawyers, Messrs Sue Grabbit and Runne. A writ will be delivered to the publishers very shortly alleging gross defamation. There was nothing remotely graphic or sordid and I deny everything. Everything except my extensive charitable donations and my encylopaedic knowledge of early 19th century lipsticks.

Whirlochre said...

If only the Queen had named Anne Fanny..

tattytiara said...

I think they should have blown her up at the end. It's funny when people blow up.

MJ said...

Is this an ad for Tena Lady?

Are you making up Wigglesworth? Surely that is a place only to be found in Beatrix Potter books.

Scarlet Blue said...

Ms Cakes: This ad has generated much discussion so I have decided that it must be a brilliant ad!
I first saw it during the lead up to the general election and because of Fanny's identifying red top I wondered if JL were subliminally supporting the labour party!
Seriously, though, I think Mr Coppens makes a fair point, it harks back to simpler times... but I also think it ignores single people and those without children.
JL knows and understands it's target market.

Leah: Thank you!
JL should be giving away a free box of tissues with everything they sell.

Nick: *Flicks through chapter 34*
Impressive! You gave £10 to the RSPCA and 55p in loose change and a piece of fluff to Children in Need...

Mr Whirly: She would have been the Royal Fanny!

Miss Tiara: ...or self-combust!

MJ: I think this ad could work equally well for sanitary products... actually it would wouldn't it?
And, as you know, all my posts are thoroughly researched.
Wigglesworth.

Sxx

Lola Lakely said...

I wish I knew who Fanny was but alas I'm an american girl. Having no knowledge of this event, the add seems quite touching. But that could also be because the post was so well written.

mago said...

Thank you. Now the fact that there is a brown bin collection in Wigglesworth will always stored in my memory.
Cake please ...

MJ said...

Did somebody mention cake?

Madame DeFarge said...

I feel a sad sense of despair wash over me as I realise that I am not a true woman. I just cannot wear red. Ever. At all. Being ginger.

nick said...

What she didn't say was that 55p was all I had left after I'd just given £1000 to a homeless tramp.

Zig said...

They have very fluffy towels though

Mitzi said...

I abhor that fairy liquid advert, you know the one "I hardly ever buy fairy liquid" try saying that when you're from "Up Norf"

Fanny Mountjoy (nee tremble)@ 1:20Her poor old husband Walter had to put up with her constant carping for nigh on sixty years, until she was killed instantly by a tram on her way home from the prize bingo at Blackpool. It came as a blessed relief for Walter who is now enjoying some peace and quiet at last.

mago said...

I visited the Lewis website and - goodness you are right - they sell nearly everything there. The more I do not get or understand this ad. I am too stupid. The comments here are far better than this.
Its always about "tellin' a story", yadayadarhabarber ... but its also about imagination, phantasey, disruption if you like - the clip has no surprise, no catastrophe. As one of the commentors (sorry, I do not know who and am too lazy to look it up), she should explode at the end - Spontanous Self-Combustion, go with a bang, people laugh or not, but they remember the spot. Its all well done, high technical skill and all, but again: The stories here or motives are far better than the story told there.

Scarlet Blue said...

Lola: Hello and Welcome!!
I think Fanny weaved her way to the States at some point in her life... there may have been an indiscretion with a senator... involving a salsa evening class, a stolen pearl necklace and a broom handle. She was sent home pretty smartish.

Mr Mags: I think the museum of brown bins can be located in Wigglesworth.

MJ: I'm in the mood for some understated cake.

Madame D: Yes, but you look fabulous in emerald.

Nick: And would you like to know what happened to that tramp?

ZigGi: Do their towels stay fluffy without tumble drying them?

Mitzi: Rumour has it that Walter was copying a famous scene from Corrie; Fanny was pushed beneath that tram... he succeeded where Alan Bradley failed.
I have just found Corriepedia!

Mr Mags: Miss Tiara favours the big explosions... and you are right, a few high octane events might have livened this ad up a bit.

Sxx

nick said...

Oh go on, tell me....

Scarlet Blue said...

Nick: I think this might surprise you.
Sx

Leah said...

By the way, showed Sarge this ad, and his only comment was:

"the age transitions aren't quite consistent are they"

the male mind, so strong, so linear.

: )

nick said...

Good grief, I had no idea he became rich and famous. And he didn't pay me back one penny. There's gratitude for you.

mago said...

Where's your wurzel?

eroswings said...

Well, if they're going to show this commercial at prime time when children are watching, I can understand why they toned down Fanny's flashy parts. Those parts are better suited for showing after midnight!

Scarlet Blue said...

Leah: Ah, yes... apologies! The age transitions not being consistant was one of the things I hooked onto as well!
The reason for the lack of transitions is because JL needed to highlight its current product range... setting the scenes in the past would've made this impossible. I think JL are also inferring that they are timeless and that they stock quality goods that will last an age.
I have a female analytical brain!

Nick: Are you not mentioned in Chaplin's autobiography?

Mr Mags: I am sucking on my wurzel as I type. It's the only civilised way to start the day.

Mr Swings: Maybe they should have made a racy version to be shown after the watershed? You make a good point.

Sx

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

You know how JL always manage to be "never knowingly undersold"? They have their own individual reference number on their product lines, so if you see exactly the same product somewhere else, made by the same manufacturer, they can say "Ah but it's not exactly the same, you see, it's a different reference number".

That said, they're a cooperative so all's fair in love and retailing.

nick said...

There were several pages devoted to me in the original manuscript, but they were accidentally left on a train near Sidcup and omitted from the final version.

Scarlet Blue said...

Daphne: If I was going to work for a department store then I'd choose to work for JL because it's a co-operative. Then again I wouldn't say no to working in an M&S food hall - for obvious reasons!
Sx

Scarlet Blue said...

Nick: So unfair! Sidcup has a lot to answer for... but that's another advert.

Anyhow, jus' so everyone knows, I won't be posting again until Wednesday. Wednesday 2nd June is a special date on the Scarlet Blue calendar.

Sxx

Kerrie said...

Undersold, I should cocoa.They also never showed the bit where we popped round in our red jumpsuits.

Scarlet Blue said...

Kerrie: Sadly, all the best bits were cut.
Sx

TechnoBabe said...

I don't know, I for one would like to have a turn at eating an ice cream cone in the nude and I am usually a very modest woman. Huh. Are you influencing me by your writing? Maybe. Love your sense of humor.

xl said...

Miss Scarlet, enjoy your day off. MJ has to work you know!

Scarlet Blue said...

Techybabes: Just be careful you don't drip any ice cream!

Mr XL: Yep, I'm going to put my feet up and sit in the garden.
Poor MJ, we must be sure not to mention Celine Dion today... at any time... not even allude to films that she's connected with... like Titanic... and there should be no idle gossip about Celine Dion, who sang the theme song for Titanic, being pregnant with twins. I hope this is clear... or should I repeat myself? Thus making sure that Celine Dion is never mentioned....
Sx

mago said...

You say I should NOT mention Celin Dion under any circumstances? This gifted Canadian singer and celebrity Celin Dion, who is now pregnant? No, okay now, I will not mention Celin Dion again.

I Wonder Wye said...

Tempest in a teapot. Don't we have far larger concerns? That said, TV has a habit of trivializing and no 'rewrite' could ever be as rich, flavor-some and all encompassing as real life....

MJ said...

I am not talking to anyone who mentioned Celine Dion on this blog.

French Fancy said...

I know you have a life 'n all but how selfish are you? A week since a post...we are waiting.

Scarlet Blue said...

Wonderful Wye: Hello and Welcome!
Fanny was indeed a tempest, and bought all her teapots from JL.

Mr Mags: Celine Dion, the wonderful Canadian singer?

MJ: Did somebody mention Celine Dion. Actually I can't remember any of her songs before 'My Heart Will Go On'... I will have to look them up and play some as a torture treatment.

Mrs French: I have been holding back. Tomorrow is a very special day on the Scarlet Blue calendar.

Sx

mago said...

Whether ther's a Celin Dion Fan Club in Vancouver?
Tomorrow's the day?

Pat said...

Seen that ad a number of times but didn't connect with John Lewis - so it didn't work for me.

mago said...

Second of July in Europe.
I hope its a good day for you, whatever the special occasion may be.

Scarlet Blue said...

Mr Mags: Please tell me I haven't missed a month... it's June isn't it?
Do you think MJ runs the Celine dion Fan Club?

Pat: No, I had to concentrate the first few times I saw it and didn't instantly relate it to JL.
The red top has been used in so many other things that it distracted me.

Sx

Kathy M. said...

Hi Scarlet. I found my way here thanks to Technobabe. I'm very happy I did. I found this post (and the comments it inspired) fascinating.

Scarlet Blue said...

Kathy: Hello and Welcome!!
A pleasure to see you here!
Sx

LL Cool Joe said...

I never answered you, I never even noticed the soundtrack. Great, and I'm a dj!

fairyhedgehog said...

It is a tear-jerker though, when you watch it knowing that this blog is closing.

Or maybe it's this blog closing that's the tearjerker.

Keep in touch, Scarlet.
xx

nick said...

Alas and alack. Another most excellent blog bites the dust (Sobs quietly into large, tastefully-scented handkerchief)

white rabbit said...

No more Scarlet Blue???

:0

I've been out of the loop for a while but I shall pine...

and emit nocturnal howling noises.

If you hear any nocturnal howling noises don't worry.

That'll be me.

Mitzi said...

I can't believe you're leaving us! latinesque mutterings and hysteria to follow...

I'm too distraught to comment further. Carmen fetch my mantilla!

nursemyra said...

Oh no, first Chateau Thombeau closes his blog and now YOU!

*so sad*

Miss Scarlet said...

Chateau Thombeau is closing? Crikey we are being wiped out.

Miss Nurse, I feel ruffled by all the comings and goings in the blogosphere.

Sx

KEVIN JACKSON said...

What!
?
Really?

WellBuggerBloggingThen,OneOut/AllOut

('emoist' wv)

"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."
Is this to be your final word Ms S?

ThinEndOfTheWedge
xK

Your (my) HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: CENTER

Miss Scarlet said...

Mr Kevin: Fear not, I moved three doors down... HERE.

Sx

Kate Lord Brown said...

Dear Scarls - sorry to miss your big end. Thank you for all the years of fun. If you are ever whisked away to a desert harem you are always welcome to rest your slingbacks here and have a Fry's Turkish Delight or two *mwah* xx