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, 31 July 2011

"Were you truly wafted here from paradise?"

Remember those adverts for...well, whatever it was... in the 1970's? Doesn't really matter anyway; the one thing everyone remembered was the punchline - "Luton Airport". There was even a single released to cash in on what became a national catch-phrase.

If easyjet have their wits about them, it might be an idea to try to recreate this phenomenon ahead of the launch next year of London's newest gateway to the sun; ladies and gentlemen, I give you....Southend International Airport.

Southend needs all the help it can get if it is to sell itself to the jet-setting public. Stuck out on a peninsula between the Crouch and the Thames estuaries, it will serve only the East End of London, a small part of rural Essex and an awful lot of fish - other travellers will surely use somewhere closer to home.

And, let's face it, despite its glorious past as the resort of choice for Victorian London, Southend is hardly a destination to make the heart sing (just ask JuliaM); the list of destinations suggest that, like Luton before it, Southend is somewhere you travel away from rather than towards.

So I suspect that it will feature in the in-flight magazine only as a staging-post on the way to London, a place to get out of as quickly as possible (rather like Luton, where in-flight announcements occasionally offer the on-board sale of tickets to St Pancreas station; a source of much ill-mannered amusement to some, I'm sorry to say).

Southend, then, needs a bit of a boost if it is to compete on a world stage and capture the public imagination, so how about a nice retro advert to launch the new service: a glamorous couple in an exotic location, possibly the cheesiest chat-up line ever and, of course, the obligatory punchline -

"Nah, Sarf-ehnd!"


  1. I remember those adverts! Ahhh, if only Southend had such classy females as that, though...

  2. The Campari advert launched a brief acting career for model Lorraine Chase, so here's an idea; how about a televised competition to find the face of 'The Southend Girl'?

    I'm sure they'd be queuing up round the block to audition; it's pure TV gold!