Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Take A Tip

I have been suffering from a dreadful case of obsession today. It has been one of those days when a stupid tune becomes lodged in your brain and you can't rid yourself of it. As is usual in such cases the tune in question is not something grand, no great aria, no fine concerto, not even something from the Cliff Richard Songbook. No, the melody - or rather the snippet of a melody - which has been driving me to distraction all day is an advertising jingle from the early 1960s for Bristol cigarettes.

It starts with an opening sequence from a big band and then a relatively close harmony quartet of voices chime in.

"Take a tip, take a Bristol,
Today's cigarette is a Bristol,
A real cool flavour you'll never forget,
Bristol is today's cigarette"

That's it - or at least that is all I can remember. I don't think the brand survived for long. It must have been in the early days of tipped cigarettes, the days when thoughts were about the flavour of the smoke rather than the toxic after-effects. What caused the tune to enter my mind today, I have no idea. It ambushed me. I was sat on a train going to London looking out of the window and generally minding my own business. And suddenly it was there.

I fought against it, trying hard to concentrate on preparing for the interview I was on my way to ("Take a tip, take a Bristol"). I tried drowning it in a surge-tide of Miles Davis from my MP3 player ("Today's cigarette is a Bristol"). I sat outside the interview room in hand-wringing desperation. ("The real cool flavour you'll never forget") When my brain should have been performing like a Mercedes Benz parrying questions and demonstrating my value to the organisation in question, it was fighting against an over-powering jingle with the grace and style of a Austin Allegro ("Bristol is today's cigarette"). I can almost hear the discussion amongst the interview panel after I had left the room. "What a pity, it seemed as though his mind was elsewhere...". Little did they know that I was fighting against an addiction. The nicotine hadn't got me but the blasted jingle had.

1 comment:

  1. Nick Wilson2:07 PM

    I too can recall the Bristol TV advert and can also remember the middle verse - except for the third line and I just can't summon it up!


    Take a tip, take a Bristol
    Today’s cigarette is a Bristol
    A real cool flavour you’ll never forget
    Bristol is today’s cigarette.

    When it’s getting late on a very special date
    And she’s just as shy as you,
    Here’s what you should do –

    Take a tip, take a Bristol
    Today’s cigarette is a Bristol
    A real cool flavour you’ll never forget
    Bristol is today’s cigarette.

    The ad became notorious as an example as to how NOT to advertise cigarettes, i.e. it contained the fatal word "shy" which associated the product with wimps and drips whereas successful brands, such as Marlboro, associated their products with macho hunky males. Bristol cigarettes did, indeed, come to a premature end and that ad is always reckoned to be the reason for the brand's failure. I wonder if anyone can remember that missing line...


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