Beer, birds and belonging

18 May, 2007

You've got to feel sorry for Coors. For years Carling and other lagers have been marketed in a crass, blokeish sort of way that tended to appeal to meatheads who were scared of girls.

Gradually this has changed, and when the recent Carling TV and cinema ad was aired, it marked a complete departure from laddism. No sign of football or busty barmaids: instead, a majestic flock of starlings performing one of nature's most breathtaking rituals in the evening sky. Even the Carling brand name was absent, replaced by the solitary legend "belong".

Except that some people didn't see it that way. The Advertising Standards Authority received a host of complaints, alleging that the ad "suggested drinking could overcome loneliness" and "could appeal strongly to people under 18". Well, you know how kids just love starlings ...

The ASA sensibly kicked all these objections into touch, which means Carling's naked birds should still be enjoyed by cinema-goers without let or hindrance.

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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