I just like this Florette Salad Wars advert, featuring varying tribes angrily extolling the virtues of their chosen leaf, as if going to war over workers rights, land disputes or who shagged whose sheep – but instead they’re arguing about salad leaves.
The concept in itself is inherently funny – there’s a touch of the Vic and Bob about something so utterly absurd – and the conviction of the whole thing really sells it. If it was a bit smirky, a bit ‘aren’t we being funny’ it simply wouldn’t work.
The ad kicks off with some farmer types going toe-to-toe over the virtues of lollo rosso and radicchio. They look genuinely furious. They wield hoes and spades. This could get nasty.
And what do they do? They sing “lollo rosso” and “radicchio” respectively – as if no further explanation is required – while brandishing their lettuce of choice at one another. The former look more down-at-heel; the latter are Roald Dahl-style posh baddies. Clearly this is a centuries-long dispute.
Did the ad men involved ever ponder using Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes? Or Carl Orff’s O Fortuna? Perhaps, but they absolutely made the right choice in having a men’s voice choir sternly intoning their leaf vegetables of choice.
Just as we’re looking at two well-matched teams of lettuce graspers, a very camp grenade is thrown into the works, causing mayhem in the radicchio and lollo rosso ranks.
Some very skinny young men wearing denim dungarees swamp them, waving their rather limp frisee (and more besides) in everyone’s faces. It’s a chicory-based game-changer; a battlefield meat-free grinder. To be fair the lead radicchio farmer sells it as if he’s just had something other than a curly endive shoved in his face.
Suddenly everyone is fighting everyone, which is to say they’re singing and brandishing edible goods at one another. Frisee on lollo rosso on radicchio: a triple-threat of rabbit food.
However, none had reckoned on the formidable power of Arugula, arriving at the battle like the Ents arriving to vanquish Saruman’s forces at Helm’s Deep; almost a deus ex machina – but in the form of brassicas. The forces scatter in terror as a wall of alarming medieval monks turn up to gravely intone the primacy of rocket – and who are we to doubt them?
The slogan “Raw passion – in a bag” kinda suggests that Florette deeply care about their wares and I guess this just about justifies the preceding 40 seconds of surreal mayhem. What did people make of it? What would we make of the stereotyped, 70s-sitcom portrayal of what are clearly intended to be homosexual men?
More to the point, how many people went out and bought a bag of these bitter, overpriced salad leaves afterwards?