What joy it is

To live in a country like this!

Bernard Levin once write a cracker of a column about what a joy it was to live in a country where the Advertising Standards Commission adjudicated upon the crispiness of Walker\’s crisps (sorry, at this distance it might have been of Smith\’s, but you get the point).

We\’ve clearly cracked all the important things and are now left with the minor trivia of life: minor trivia which we approach with all the stately seriousness with which other countries might discuss the Jewish Problem, or what to do about the Roma.

Danny Finkelstein has done a column with a similar theme: his family went through the Holocaust (some surviving, some not) and having been caught up in the grand sweeps of history they now get mildly annoyed in Pinner, complain about a parking ticket in Golders Green (I paraphrase). Boring is good.

Today\’s example is:

Advertisements featuring the cricket legends Shane Warne and Graham Gooch which claimed to reverse hair loss have been banned by a watchdog for being misleading.

These are the ads which have been a feature of the Standard\’s front page for a generation or more: the sportsman changes (it\’s also been Austin Healey I think and many others before that) but the pitch remains the same.

I was at university with the scion of one of the families that ran the business worldwide, a hugely profitable business. One fascinating little economic trivia piece: a lesson in price discrimination. A \”course of treatment\” would have a different price attatched in each country. And in every country it was a multiple of a week\’s wages for a secretary. I can\’t remember what the multiple was, sorry, but the thinking was that their target market was the middle aged, middle class executive. He would know what a secretary earned and a (I think) 6 month course to keep his hair looking good as compared with a week of his secretary\’s income? Sounds like a bargain to me/him/them.

But back to us and Levin\’s point. If we\’re to be concerned about the truth in advertising or not of hair weave for men (for this is what this is) then we have indeed solved all the biggies, yes? War, famine, destitution….and as a matter of fact, while we may be still inflicting ourselves upon other parts of the world, here at home we have, yes.

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