In the latest batch of Sainsbury’s adverts, foul-mouthed chef Jamie Oliver has been replaced by an ordinary family, albeit one where the mother used to be an annoying Yorkshire prostitute in EastEnders. It’s part of a deliberate attempt to reposition the supermarket, ramming home the idea that you can “feed your family for a fiver”. Rich toffs who like vine ripened tomatoes and swordfish fillets are dead. Long live commoners who eat things like “pork chilli”.
Using an apparently “real” family to get across the authenticity of your product is, of course, an entirely original idea, provided you discount the long running Oxo family commercials from the 1980s. And the recent Quorn adverts with the nagging teenage girl. And the dysfunctional BT Broadband family.
In the most recent Sainsbury’s advert, called “Chilli Endorsed by Child”, we are introduced to the father of the house; a slightly overweight stripy polo shirt-wearing dummy whose one saving grace is his ability to knock up peasant food for his ravenous Neanderthal clan. (His backstory, presumably, is that he is a tradesman of some sort, perhaps a heating engineer or plumber. He likes his football and the occasional pint with his mates but he never gets drunk and “would do anything for his kids”. He drives a Vaxhaull Meriva.)
Here we see the pestering child motif run riot. The girl of the house starts banging on about composting and recycling, you know, like they do. One can almost sense the smug nods of recognition among the parents who make up Sainsbury’s target demographic as the dialogue unfurls. In reality, of course, their kids are on MySpace threatening to stab each other.
The child whines:
What kind of pork is it?
To which the father replies:
Pork from a pig pork.
Thus his familial role as well-meaning but ultimately clueless is cemented. Still, the old bastard gets his own back. Mercifully, he refrains from tossing the pan of boiling acid gristle all over his daughter’s homework and instead seizes his moment at the dinner table to give the little cow a masterclass in sarcasm.
After getting the reluctant child to admit the shit on the plate actually tastes alright he delivers the killer line.
Megan Thompson-endorsed, is it?
You sense this may culminate in violence as Megan hits puberty. Luckily the scene terminates before blood – or chilli – is spilled.