WHAT I LIKED before I knew what I was SUPPOSED TO LIKE – Mark Denton

A funny thing happened the other day…I saw an advert on the internet and I went out and bought something.
Don’t laugh, IT’S TRUE!
The advert was for a TRIO bar and after seeing it I urgently needed a toffee/chocolate hit.
Of course I couldn’t find a Trio anywhere (do they still make them?) so I had to make do with a Toffee Crisp.
They (I bought a multi-pack) were very nice.
I can’t remember what their advertising was like tho’- maybe that’s the reason I’d never tried one before.
So when Dave asked me to put together a list of my favourite adverts I thought rather than put together a reel of the likes of Guinness ‘Surfer’, Guardian ‘Points of view’, and VW ‘Snowplough’, it might be interesting to list some of the adverts that have actually influenced me for real over the years – as an ordinary punter.
I wasn’t trained in advertising, my first job in Commercial Art was as a paste-up artist on ‘Knitter’s Digest’.
So when I managed to secure a post as a visualiser at Leo Burnett back in the 70’s, I didn’t know that the trendy agencies were CDP and BMP and it wasn’t cool to like anything from Allen Brady & Marsh, McCanns or indeed Burnetts.
On my first day, I was told I’d be sharing an office with a Senior Art Director by the name of Norman Icke.
It turned out that Norman was the inventor of the Milk Tray Man, the Curly Wurly schoolboy (played by Terry Scott of course) and the Flake Girl.
In my ignorance I was star struck; they were the adverts that I loved as a kid.
I didn’t know that they weren’t groovy enough to get in the D&AD Annual, in fact, at that point, I’d never even heard of the D&AD Annual.
So, back to my list…
They’re in no particular order and they haven’t all influenced me to put my hand in my pocket and buy the product being advertised (but btw – quite a few have).
But with or without a sale, they’ve all taken up residence in my bonce for the last half a century or so, mainly because they were entertaining (remember entertainment?).
A funny sketch, a memorable tune (I can’t say ‘jingle’, it’s NOT cool) or a brilliant slogan, sometimes all three.
I can’t imagine a modern audience recalling ‘Find Your Happy’ or ‘The art of Excellence’ in 50 years time – or even a minute after they’ve heard it.
Anyway, here goes in no particular order (except the first one).


Yes, this really was the first advert that worked on me. Coming up to Christmas 1964 this was on the telly all the time.
The ‘Johnny Seven O.M.A.’ (One Man Army). “It’s seven guns in one!…Let’s count ‘em”…
After seeing this ad I wanted a Johnny Seven more than words could explain.
I never got one tho’, much to my disappointment. What I did get was ‘The John Bull Printing Outfit’ and probably a ‘right hander’ (or, “something to cry about” as my mum would have put it).
STOP PRESS! – Don’t worry, I picked one up on eBay about 15 years ago and it only cost £375!


“Bum, Bum, Bum, Bum…ESSO BLUE!”
I loved this campaign as a kid. Great jingle, and fabulous animated character.
I’ve never owned a paraffin heater since I’ve been old enough to be trusted with a naked flame but had I’d been lucky enough to get one I’d have filled it with ‘Esso Blue’.
Mainly because the ‘Esso Blue Dealer’ was about a squillion times better than the rival Pink Paraffin ‘Pongo’.


The Farrows peas Crow was another terrific animated character (to a five year old).
He flew into a field and yelled “CAW! Where’s my dinner?” Off screen the VO replied – “Sorry mate, you’re too late. The best peas went to Farrows”.
You’ll have to trust my memory on this one “caws” I can’t find a copy of the advert.
It obviously had a big impact on me because ‘Farrows’ is still the pea of choice around at our house.
(TOP TIP – When me and the Missus are at Waitrose I often pick up a tin and say “Give peas a chance“…it keeps her amused for a little while).


The ‘Glenryck Pilchard’. Guess what? It was yet another animated character (remember I was only a kid at the time).
We definitely got through a few tins of these back in the 60s. Usually on toast, for tea – especially when my Mum had hammered the housekeeping a bit and meat was off the menu.
I remember saying to her one teatime “ere Mum, this breads hard” She said “It’s harder when there’s none Son”…I think she should have been in advertising.

You’ll have to use your imagination again with this one because we can’t find it anywhere.
Picture a little boy in black and white (everything was black and white in the 1960’s).
He’s running down to the shops for his Mum.
He’s only got one thing to remember but just in case, he keeps repeating it out loud as he runs along the pavement…
“Plumrose Chopped Ham with Pork, Plumrose Chopped Ham with Pork, Plumrose Chopped Ham with Pork” etc, etc, etc…
That’s it. The clients dream idea. The product name being repeated over and over and over for more than 20 seconds. Then, the twist –
The cute kid finally runs into the shop and loudly proclaims to the shopkeeper “PLUMROSE POPPED HAM WITH CHALK!” …Funny.

“Eveninks and Morninks, I drink Warninks” …said the pretty Dutch lady in the Warninks Advocaat advert.
What I didn’t know then was that the poor woman was probably an alcoholic. Even so she did a great job for Warninks, in fact I can’t even think of another brand of Advocaat.
“Bols” you say…But it’s true!
We’ve always got a bottle of Warninks behind the bar (but despite the advertising we never drink it in the Morninks).
Sing – “Warninks Advocaat!”


Remember when you used to turn up at the pictures early to make sure you didn’t miss the adverts?
I used to do exactly that before I was in advertising. Mainly because the adverts were sometimes as
good as this one.
The Midland Bank advert by the celebrated designer Robert Brownjohn.
As a kid I thought it was dead clever, I still do now.


My favourite Baked Bean commercial was for HP Baked Beans.
As far as I can remember it started with a solitary kid marching down the street singing “HP BAKED BEANS, they’re the beans for me, HP BAKED BEANS etc, etc
By the time he gets to the end of the song the camera has pulled out and a whole crowd of people have joined him and are singing along too.
I can’t find a copy of this one either but not to worry, I also LOVED the Heinz Baked Bean song…
“A million housewives everyday everyday, pick up a tin of beans and say, BEINZ MEANZ HEINZ”.
Heinz are still the beanz on my shelvz at home and “BEANZ MEANZ HEINZ is still the best advertising line ever written (he said provocatively).


“Nice one.”
That’s what EVERYONE said back in 1969 at school when anything was in the least bit ‘nice’.
It was a “Nice one” epidemic
We caught it from an advert on the telly for Wonderloaf.
Apparently the Wonderloaf Baker’s palettes were so discerning that only they could tell who baked each individual loaf of bread.
At the end of the advert two of the the bakers sample a slice and turn to the camera and say “It’s one of Cyril’s…Nice one Cyril”.
It not only became part of the language it became a football chant for Spurs player Cyril Knowles, then a number one hit pop song by ‘Cockerel Chorus’.
Nice one.


Lipsmackinthirstquenchinacetastinmotivatingoodbuzzincooltalkinhighwalkinfastlivinevergivincoolfizin PEPSI.
The smart kids at school could say it.
I was one of the smart kids (even tho’ I failed my 11 plus).


I would never have owned up to liking this one as a youth.
It was a bit slushy.
But every Christmas they seemed to wheel out this commercial with the posh lady and the French bloke.
I don’t know why I liked it. It was like a scene out of a film but not the sort of films I liked.
No, tanks or planes, or explosions.
Just a man and a woman and lots of atmosphere and again, a clients dream – The French bloke reads the label out loud and the lady hangs on to his every word!


As written by my old boss Norman.
I remember my mate Terry Jones at school, coming in one morning and saying, “did you see that advert last night?”
Then he went on to describe the Whole nut ad – he even sang the “NUTS, WHOLE HAZELNUTS” bit.
He thought it was absolutely hilarious. And at the time he was right, it was.


“Everyone’s a Fruit and Nut Case”…
Great jingle, funny visuals, Frank Muir…what’s not to like?


Now this is one of these adverts that I didn’t know it was wrong to like.
That’s because it came from the most uncool agency in town ABM.
Ignorance really is bliss, because I just liked it because it was FUNNY.


Here’s another one from the same agency.
There’s no doubt about it – This one really is shit.
So why did it make me smile then? And why do I still remember all the words and sing the song now, nearly 50 years later?


Next time you’re round at my place open the cupboards and you’ll find plenty of PG Tips.
I like tea (a lot). I wouldn’t dream of buying anything but PG tips.
It might be the advertising, I used to like that too.
The funniest one ever (before they had to knit the monkeys) starred Mr Shifter & Son.
And I think the voice of Irene Handl (if I’m not mistaken).


A half decent jingle “Trebor Mints are a minty bit stronger”.
Not one of my favourites I admit but it moved up into a different league when the public got hold of it and added a second line…
“Stick ‘em up your arse and they last a bit longer”.


It’s the same deal with Topic.
Bit of a crap animated character ‘Toby’ who asked the important question – “What has a Hazelnut in every bite?”
Of course the official answer was “Topic” but in the playground the alternative answer was –
Now all this chat about Topic’s has made me want one (that’s how advertising works apparently).


Every now and then, in my ignorance, I liked an advert by a ‘trendy’ agency.
In this case it was CDP – One of the one’s that were approved by the cognoscenti.
This is the first Hamlet commercial that I can remember seeing and I thought it was hilarious.
The piano teacher was an actor called Patric Cargill – this is his finest work (he was crap in everything else imho).


I bet this campaign never won an award.
I didn’t care, I’d never heard of advertising awards.
I just wanted to grow up fast and join the beautiful people (it never happened btw) quaffing Martini in all those fabulous locations.
It just looked bloody exciting, especially up in hot air balloons and (my favourite) hurtling along on one of those hovercraft things with the big fan on the back.
Did I mention the theme tune?
That should have won an award in its own right.


The Cresta bear, written by John Webster (I know that now).
At the time I thought it was a funny advert and an intriguing product.
If it could do that to a Polar Bear then I had to give it a bash.
It was vile.
So I tried a different flavour…that was vile too.
Now that’s GREAT advertising.


Not another cartoon!
Sorry, I liked cartoon characters (still do).
Fred and his flour graders were first class.
It’s hard to say if I would have liked them quite as much if the agency hadn’t picked John Le Mesurier to be the voice of Fred?
Probably not.


Another CDP/Ridley Scott advert chosen by a member of the public (me) who didn’t know any better.
I loved this one, again it was like a scene from beautiful a film, all in 30”.
Nowadays they’d probably have the kids bike morphing into a plane and doing a loop-de-loop around the Hovis factory.


I’ve never been in the market for this product.
We used Fairy Liquid to wash our hair when I was a kid and now I use Mr Sheen.
BUT, I thought this was a magical advert.
What a sensational original soundtrack (oh, why do they make us use library tracks now?).
The girl with the sun in her hair’ by John Barry and it got in the charts as a B-side to the theme tune to the Persuaders.


I fell in love in the 60’s.
It wasn’t the first time, that was back in 1959, with the Beverley Sisters.

Not all of them, I didn’t fancy the one in the middle, just Babs and Teddie.
Anyway, they had to move out of the way in 1966 when I my eyes fell upon the vision of exotic loveliness that was the South American lady in the Maxwell House commercial.
I was only 9 but I was smitten. In those pre VCR days I watched every ad break hoping she was going to appear again.
As it turns out I wasn’t the only one who’d taken a shine to her…Micheal Caine had spotted her and fallen head over heels too.
He thought he’d have to jump on a plane and fly to her in Brazil but luckily she lived a little bit closer to home, in Fulham.
Her name was Shakira and he married her (the bastard).


Another one of Norman’s.
Flake ‘Poppy field’
Nothing much happens. Beautiful Flake girl starts painting in a poppy field, she eats a Flake and it starts raining. The paint runs a bit and she looks at and smiles.
All in 30 seconds.
I don’t know why I just liked it. (I’ve had more than my fair share of Flake’s too so it works).


Tarzan swings thru the jungle, wrestles a lion and stuff and then delivers the string bag of peanuts he’s been carrying to a Golden Wonder representative.
They’re ‘Jungle Fresh.
Then they followed it up with an animated version with the ‘Jungle Fresh’ theme woven into a jingle based around ‘The Peanut Vendor’s Song’.
I liked that one, it was catchy.
But what I liked best was when the Golden Wonder Tarzan character was nicked by the comedian Freddie Starr and appeared regularly on one of the countries favourite comedy shows – ‘Who Do You Do?’
I bet the Golden Wonder Nut people loved that.


“A Double Diamond Works Wonders” and an even better line “I’m only here for the beer”.
It caught on. People said it in the real world.
They even used it in other adverts. An early Hofmeister ad featured a Zookeeper after an escaped bear in a pub and he said “I’m only here for the Bear”
My favourite was the ‘Wedding’ commercial. I thought it was funny.
And when I turned 18 I took to drinking Double Diamond for a while.
I can confirm that it did work wonders.


Everyone at our house thought this was a funny advert.
Given that, the instant potato of choice was Yeoman.
We tried both but preferred Yeoman.
Sorry, you can’t blame the advertising for that.


If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club”…catchy jingle that implies that other biscuits haven’t got as much chocolate on them.
We see lot’s of different people enjoying the product…why’s that clever, I hear you ask?
I don’t know, it just is.
And since you asked – the mint one is my favourite.

So, there you have it – 30 adverts as selected by the unenlightened punter – Master Mark Denton.
The sort of advertising that I enjoyed (yes, ENJOYED) well before I became an ‘expert’.
When it occurred to me to pick the ads I liked ‘before I knew any better’, I wouldn’t have guessed there would be so many.
Give me a bit more time tho’ and I probably could give you 100, maybe 500? On top of that,
I bet I could still sing most of the jingles and recall most of the catchy, corny, alliterated end lines too.
I know they’re from a different era but I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have Fast-Forwarded any of ‘em…even if remote controls had been invented back then.
I also know that things are a bit different nowadays and there are a lot more distractions, along with a more cynical, media savvy audience. But shouldn’t that mean that ads need to be even more entertaining and definitely not so bloody complicated?
Anyway, is that the time already? Where’s me Warninks?



One of many boxes – PG Tips (The tea you can really taste).


No Double Diamonds (unfortunately)…BUT I have got a Double Diamond Man (My most treasured possession).

I took this picture this Mornink.

FYI – The Beverley Sisters – We’re talking the twins Teddie and Babs NOT Joy (who incidentally married England Captain Billy Wright and starred in the adverts for Wright’s Coal Tar soap – we had that at home too).













5 responses to WHAT I LIKED before I knew what I was SUPPOSED TO LIKE – Mark Denton

  1. steve smithwick says:

    Brilliant selection apart from the Beverly Sisters!

  2. Chris Oakley says:

    To paraphrase Jasper Carrot, if I were drinking Warninks eveninks and morninks, I’d be bloody pissed…

    Great post – thanks for uploading! 🙂

  3. Rodge says:

    Only Mark could choose so many uncool ads and still be cool

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