Blog Archive

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

My Favourite Adverts, Hamas Massacre in Israel and Reprisals, Churchill War Quote

My Favourite Adverts

Each of these ads is in my opinion a masterpiece, and each holds a special meaning for me.

1. Virgin Atlantic, 1998, Agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

I remember this enormous poster on the Cromwell Road in London, at a spot where there was always terrible rush hour traffic. That gave everyone plenty of time to enjoy the advert! At the time there was intense rivalry between BA and Virgin Atlantic who never missed an opportunity to have a go at their rival. I particularly liked this one.

2. Peugeot 206, 1988, Agency Publicis

Not only was it a great car, but the music by the Bhangra Knights became a hit. I remember buying the 12 inch single and trying to digitise it! Peugeot's big global ad agency (Publicis) asked each of its country offices to compete for the best idea. The Italian branch came up with this hit ad. Unfortunately, Hindustan motors were unhappy with their vehicle being portrayed in this manner and sued for many millions. Ironically, Peugeot bought the brand in 2017! So iconic, that Top Gear produced their own version, years later:

The Smash Martians began promoting instant mashed potato in 1974. The cackling hi-tech robots spied on suburban kitchens and poured scorn on such primitive implements as the potato peeler. In 2006, BBC Good Food magazine voted the cheeky robots most iconic British food advert of all time. The Martian ads ran for 10 years, although client, Cadbury, had initially been sceptical, saying it trivialised the product.

Fly Fishing by J.R Hartley - Yellow Pages, 1983, Agency Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV)

One of David Abbott's, masterpieces, this advert is always rated highly by the British public in polls. Abbott was the UK's greatest advertising copywriter, responsible for some of the most memorable campaigns of his era, for clients including Volvo, Sainsbury’s, Ikea, Chivas Regal, The Economist (see below), Yellow Pages and the RSPCA. Abbott did not perhaps conform to the public perception of a typical advertising man. Soft-spoken, charming and always elegantly dressed, he also had a reputation in the industry for high principle. AMV declined to advertise toys or tobacco.

Created in his honour, following his death in 2014

Hamas Massacre in Israel and Reprisals


Hamas must be destroyed following their coldblooded attack and slaughter of 1,400 innocent people who happened to be close to Gaza on Saturday October 7th and the taking of 220 hostages, men, women and children of all ages. Israel has the right to self defence and to do what it takes to protect their country provided they adhere to international law. Hamas does not recognise the right of Israel to exist so they will continue to attack until they are wiped out.

Unfortunately the people of Gaza are stuck in the middle of this and are suffering hugely as a result. Several thousand have already been killed during Israel's predictable attacks on Gaza aimed at obliterating Hamas and their military installations. Hamas use their people as human shields, operating in densely populated areas, next to, and underneath hospitals, firing rockets at Israel from residential buildings.

Does this make it all right for Israel to continue their heavy handed attack on Hamas? If the only way to wipe them out and stop them from attacking Israel means innocent Gazan's will be killed?

These are very difficult questions relating to two persecuted sets of peoples who have been fighting over the same land for thousands of years. We see large protests across the democratic world, mostly in support of the Palestinians as Israel continues its nightly bombardments of Gaza and the 2.2 million people who live there struggle to find accommodation, water, food and fuel. Pro-Palestinian media are very competent at showing shocking images that they know will turn millions against Israel. Much of the information is hard to verify. For example, it seems likely that a strike on a hospital car park that Hamas claimed killed many hundreds, was in fact a failed rocket aimed at Israel that mis-fired and fell back next to the hospital. Despite that, the images (it was widely filmed) have intensified hatred towards Israel.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a massive increase in anti-semitism, with Police in the UK and France saying criminal acts have increased fourfold since October 7th.

What should be done? My view is that the governments of the USA, UK and France should lead an international coalition to find a lasting and peaceful two state solution. Wealthy Arab countries in the region should be part of it and help pay for re-construction as Israel releases its grip on the West Bank and Gaza and agrees a reasonable ending to continued West Bank settlements.

But this will be impossible so long as Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel (which they continue to do regularly including during our visit to Israel last May) and so long as Hamas' military operation continues to exist in any real form. 

Most of the reporting I have heard on this war has been biased to one side or the other. The only sensible words I have heard have been from Layla Moran MP on the Laura Kuenssberg show on BBC1 on October 29th. She explained that she has a Palestinian mother and British father with relatives currently stuck in a church in Gaza following the bombing of their home. She expressed absolute horror at the activities of Hamas, defended Israel's right to defend itself but asked for help for the people of Gaza. She suggested that a long term peace should be mediated following this terrible war. I met some Christian Arabs during my trip to the West Bank; they were hard-working, charming, realistic, knowledgable and peaceful. They too need to be protected.

Quote for the Month

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

Winston Churchill

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