Blog: Olly WehringDuffy, Coca-Cola and the great British public

Olly Wehring | 19 June 2009

There is a stereotype that says the British are too fond of rules. Rules, like queuing, help everybody to know where they are and what they should be doing.

One must lament the prospect of new rules, but once in place, the rules must be followed, because they are the rules.

I am from the UK and I will admit to having felt unsettled in places where chaos has appeared to be the only rule, such as the mind boggling roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Seriously, have you seen it? There are no lanes.

A series of complaints against The Coca-Cola Co and its advert featuring Welsh singer Duffy have again this week reminded the world of the British public's pedantic love affair with the rulebook.

In the ad, Duffy takes a break from a gig and, after a sip of Coca-Cola, rides her bike to the shops, before returning to the gig for an encore.

Unfortunately, Duffy did this in the dark.

"18 viewers challenged whether the ad could be seen to condone behaviour prejudicial to health and safety, because Duffy was not wearing reflective clothing and did not have lights on her bicycle," said the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week.

The ASA threw out the complaint, arguing that the dreamy soundtrack and bike ride through supermarket aisles "set the cycling sequence apart from reality".

It seems that some viewers also set themselves "apart from reality". Do these people really have that little to worry about?

Chris M. Dep ed.



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