Percy’s Ramblings

We all love those adverts with a sing along tune which you regularly find yourself humming to even after it has stop playing. Advertising, the staple diet for the promotion of a product for all businesses, including the big companies, is a must to keep their name in the public’s mind. And so be it, over the years some wonderful ditties have been fashioned using rhyme and music to achieve this.

This was a time when a certain company manufacturing tinned food developed such a commercial and showed it on television over and over again, where it became something you could sing to and remained on everyone’s lips.

Rag weeks at colleges and universities occur when the learning is on hold for the break and the students need to relax, and in doing so, attempt to raise money for a charity. The origination of this activity started in the eighteen hundreds, and there are bodies that control and promote it.

It was on such an occasion when I was invited by the scholars of the local academy to help them in the production they were putting together as, in their words, ‘they needed someone who looked more mature.´ That was a bit of a knock as I thought myself to be young and debonair.

In Barking East London, although in those days it was in Essex, there are a group of about five high rise flats of ten floors each, white and beige in colour. Between the building was a wide concrete road running down the middle of them.

At that time on television, a little ditty was sung with crowds of housewives marching in a street holding up banners, singing a catchy little tune which won awards for its originality, and is still to this day recognised for its selling ability.

So, the plan by the students was for me to be the film maker for the Rag, standing on one of the roofs of the flats with a movie camera, looking down from the end of this wide avenue.

The scholars had made banners which could be held up above the head. They then went and knocked on all the doors to these flats, acting as if they were from the company involved, and encouraged those who were at home to join them in the street.

I was in my place, looking down on it all, when the occupants of the tower blocks came out. All were  women, most of them in pinny’s as in the television advert. I guess the men were not invited.

The students then formed them into a large group in the centre of the road, five abreast and about ten deep, issuing them with the banners they had made. They were then encouraged to start marching and singing the ditty, as they danced along the street clinging to the posters ‘A million housewives every day, pick up a can of beans and say ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz.´

Perfect copy, well almost, of the real thing.

As I was not really involved in the event, only as a puppet on the roof, I have no knowledge of what happened thereafter, my thoughts were ‘it was their show, not mine’ and I left.

However, I understand the housewives all loved what had happened and laughed at themselves for being drawn into the ruse.

It did not end there as the local newspapers covered the story and then it went national, and of course Heinz loved it, and were very happy to give away samples of their product to those who had taken part.

I didn´t get anything, other than a great day and a lovely memory.

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