I drive my own car. I fill it up at the pumps, and when diesel hit 121.9p per litre, which I paid outside Chipping Norton a couple of weeks ago, it really struck me that there was an intriguing advert on the forecourt of the filling station.
“A great way to start your day,” the advert announced (or something like that), and it featured a picture of some breakfasting suggestions, purchasable, one presumes, in the little shop. There was a washed-out looking photograph of an arrangement of some common-or-garden morning staples; a coffee, a croissant, a sweet Danish pastry…but then, somewhat disturbingly, a fresh, folded copy of the Daily Mail and two cans of Red Bull.
And I’m scared, frankly. Scared that someone thinks that those last two items taken together are a suitable and safe way for someone to start their day. Scared that perhaps the creator of that advertisement personally kicks off their morning by necking a couple of cans of Red Bull while devouring the latest ravings that the Mail has to offer. The possibility that someone, once fully breakfasted in such a style, and no doubt swivel-eyed, delusional and frantically gibbering Daily Mail stock-phrases to boot, could then embark on a full day’s work doing, well, anything really, anything at all, quite petrifies me.
Am I wrong? Naïve? Am I the one out of step? Is a double dose of adrenaline and bigotry a popular way for people to begin their day? Perhaps, but I have to believe that it is not, that the constituent parts of this lethal cocktail are kept at a safe distance from each other for the most part, and that the only person who thinks that the Mail and taurine should be freely mixed is also the person solely responsible for this advert.
Clearly I need to take action. I don’t want that advertisement putting ideas in people’s heads and so I will be contacting the oil company – Total – myself and demanding its immediate removal (I will play the corporate responsibility card, that they should do the right thing, as well as the self-interest one, advising them that they could be sued if a high-as-a-kite customer snaps their wrist in a green-ink frenzy.) My main concern, however, is for the person who created the advert; but is it a Total staffer or an employee from an advertising agency? We need to know, because we need to track them down. Whether the author personally imbibes Red Bull while reading the Melanie Phillips column – a chilling thought – or just thinks it is a socially and/or medically responsible thing to do, here is someone who is clearly a danger to themselves and others.
But how do we do it? How can we identify this trouble soul? There were no clues on the advert itself; no credits, no copywrite symbol, no identifying marks of any kind as far as I could see. We don’t even know when this specific advert was made; the date on the copy of the Daily Mail was obscured, and the banner headline, “‘Why the English middle classes have had enough,’ by Simon Heffer” doesn’t narrow things down at all. They publish a similar article every other week: the specific article in question, if even uniquely identifiable, could have been from anytime in the last twenty-odd years.
Can you help? Please? A Red Bull drinking Daily Mail reader is a ticking time-bomb that will eventually blow, and when it does I want to know that I have done everything humanly possible to have prevented it.