There's So Much More In TV Times Part 6: I Want REAL Spam Mam!


If you've read the previous instalment of this look back at distasteful, off-colour or just plain baffling space-filling nonsense from the TV Times archive, you'll be aware - or, if you'd rather, forewarned - that there was even more in the way of dubiously chirpy junk food adverts to come. And, well, here are the leftovers, so let's get straight on with them before Bruce Forsyth puts on his oversized comedy chef's hat and tries to fashion them into a recipe...


Before we go any further, remember that Mars advert with Bob Monkhouse pulling a worryingly frenzied face and indulging in way too many words beginning with 'm'? Well, it turns out that none other than Jon Pertwee also contributed to the campaign, though he seems to have swerved the effects that the combination of Milk Chocolate, Buttery Caramel and Chocolate Malted Milk had on poor old Bob, and appears here with an expression that merely suggests he is about to embark on one of his 'million voices' that all sounded the same. Meanwhile, note how careful the advert is to reiterate that the eating of Mars should take place in the mouth.


Speaking of all things bouche-amusing, here Wrigley's give their antisocial wares a plug with the assistance of some sub-Beverley Sisters clean-cut presentable young ladies, taking care to emphasise the somewhat debatable alleged dental care-friendly properties of chewing gum. This is cunningly rendered plausible through the diversionary mention of the even more spurious 'Birchmint' variant, a supposed flavour of which the World Wide Web throws up absolutely no corroborating evidence whatsoever. Note also how the one who was given 'Standard' flavour appears decidedly less happy about this turn of events than the others.


Opinion seems to be divided on whether the average mid-sixties football fan was a rattle-waving toff in an Uncle Sam hat or the 'I Shot J.R.' bloke from Father Ted overstating his Caledonian heritage, but there's one thing we can all be certain of - they never went to a match without an impractically-sized tin of Nuttall's Mintoes to hand. There's also a promise of 'five minutes of extra time' attached to them, which presumably meant something at the time but now just leaves you wondering if said mints could somehow extend the match either spatio-temporally or literally.


In possibly the most direct and to-the-point advertising campaign ever, the not exactly unmurderous-looking 'Mr Pontelli' plugs the mints that share his name simply by demanding 'BUY SOME TODAY'. A gambit that clearly paid off as we're all always racing off down the corner shop to stock up on Pontelli Mints even today. Mr. Pontelli also advises us to 'Watch out for me on ITV', presumably in reference to his continually making random unscheduled appearances in Saturday Night At The London Palladium and Gideon's Way.


On a slightly less minty theme, this giant talking joint at least has the decency simply to ask us to 'enjoy' Bensons Oranges & Lemons. Wonder which one of them made you larger and which one made you small?


Meanwhile, the ones that mother gave you didn't do anything at all, which is presumably why this inexplicably Wild West-fixated youngster is demanding real Spam from his mam, as opposed to all that fake Spam they're always trying to palm off on us. In fact it goes as far as to confirm that genuine Spam can only be bought in a 12oz can, so keep an eye out for those crafty imitators. Meanwhile, quite why his mother is standing in the exact same pose as a Subbuteo goalkeeper is not specified.


Afterwards, why not wash your genuine Spam down with a nice bowl of Wall's Strawberry Fayre, a Battenberg-esque ice cream treat that is essentially just Neapolitan without the cumbersome inconvenience of chocolate. To be, boom boom, 'fayre', it does actually look quite nice, and the 'New as square strawberries' tagline is one that holds up as true even now. Though 'Not invented yet and never likely to be' would be more technically accurate.


Parents should also apparently take note that not only do children 'love' Weetabix (no, they really do), but it's also 'wholewheatedly' good for them, and 'packed with goodness from end to end right to the very end' - assurances that make it sound like a nice healthy alternative and, crucially, do not stand up to any kind of actionable legal scrutiny whatsoever. Steve Davis seems perfectly happy to endorse this standpoint, mind.


Years before somehow inexplicably managing to become the preferred option to Fanta, Tango offer an all expenses paid round-the-world trip to anyone who can identify which countries these none-more-sixties illustrations are sporting the patronisingly stereotypical national clobber of, and - more importantly - buy some more cans of Tango. The genius of that ad campaign was clearly still some distance from their grasp. No, not the one you're thinking of. The one just before that with the two kids in Miami Vice-inspired getup with Felix Howard haircuts playing pinball to the sound of Apache. Because that was better. Yes it was. Shut up. You should bloody well know when you've been Tangoed.


It's surprising that it's taken us this long to get round to a mention of Spangles, the much-'remembered' multi-flavoured boiled sweet that was frankly nice enough to warrant all that nostalgising and yah boo sucks to anyone who used to leave them until last in their Selection Box. First up is an actual entry form for the competition based on the question-mark denoted 'mystery' flavour, the identity of which was apparently never actually revealed, though that didn't stop, erm, someone from co-opting the iconography into the logo for a certain podcast. This is followed by some witty inter-Mod japesmithery on the subject of whether the pixie-cutted pillion passenger has neglected to stock up on something that, if not a suitable all-night-dance-facilitating legal stand-in for Purple Hearts, is apparently even more essential to the smooth operation of a moped than petrol. In fact, you could almost say she's forgotten to remember Spangles. As you were.


And finally, here's Zing, the bar that has 'everything'. Presumably on a planet composed entirely of chocolate and biscuit and nothing else.


Not that she has anything to do with any of the above either, but it would take too long to explain exactly why Diana Dors was being disclaimered as having 'nothing to do with geography', though doubtless the pre-Alternative Comedy funnymen could have come up with a billion hilarious 'reasons' within seconds. Anyway, join us again next time, when we'll be taking a look at some of the ways in which ITV conspired to convince viewers that they weren't watching enough television...