Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Cleaning Up - World Cup musings 2

As those living in England - sorry, Eng-er-land! - cannot but be aware, there is some sort of football competition in the offing. Shops abound with retail opportunities - World Cup tie-in beer, crisps, flags and all you need to ensure a fun-filled four weeks on the sofa.

And the sofa itself, of course - retailers are falling over themselves to persuade us to buy new furniture and state-of-the-art television sets in time for the sporting extravaganza, together with England shirts to wear as we watch. There's even a handy viewing timetable complete with pull-out red and yellow cards courtesy of a local estate agent.

But one of the most bizarre tie-ins appeared in my mailbox this week, inviting me to
Kick off the World Cup
with this

So what are they trying to sell me this time? Drinks? Pizza? A reclining leather armchair with built-in beer cooler? No, the advert is for dry-cleaning - three items for the price of two.

I have to admit, this one's got me puzzled. I mean, even allowing for the combination of high excitement and abundant comestibles, there's surely a limit to how much dry-cleaning a televised football tournament can generate. And in any case, there's a celebratory air to the advert that is, I feel, hardly justified by a visit to the local dry cleaner.

It's sad to think that retailers are prepared to stake money on a Pavlovian reflex - put the words 'World Cup' on it and it will sell, no matter how mundane, boring and unconnected with football it is.


  1. I don't mind watching the odd game. In some news and other programmes there might be mention of the scores and headines etc. It's the none stop unremitting hype and blanket coverage that turn me off.

  2. Ah, Demetrius, it starts innocently enough with 'the odd game', but before you know it, you'll be hooked.

    Football? Just say 'no'.