There’s quite a storm in a crisp poke about the new Hunky Dorys billboard adverts, which feature curvy young women in supposed-rugby gear alongside slogans like “Are you staring at my crisps?”, “Others Haka, we Hunky” and “Tackle these”. For those of a certain vintage and persuasion, I’m sure they’re a comforting throwback to the sexist humour of such comic geniuses as Roy Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson. The ads also say Hunky Dorys are “Proud sponsors of Irish Rubgy”, a claim the Irish Rugby Football Union refute since it only apparently applies to Navan.
As Conor Pope points out in his article in this morning’s Irish Times, shock value is often the best promotion a product can get. Unfortunately, given the ubiquity of “models” in bikinis being photographed promoting all sorts of depressingly pointless products on Grafton Street or St Stephen’s Green over the past decade, it’s hard to believe anyone could actually be shocked by the continuing tackiness of the advertising industry – even if we ARE currently experiencing the (ahem) “Celtic Phoenix” effect.
But, T&A images aside, why are we yet again being exposed to utterly inappropriate foods being used to advertise sport? I’m glad the IRFU are upset at the association of their sport with gratuitous cleavage but shouldn’t they also be pointing out that crisps are hardly the diet of professional sports people? This summer will see the FIFA World Cup being beamed all over the world and we will all be bombarded with logos and slogans for beer, fizzy drinks, so-called “sports drinks” (yeah, right), burgers and chocolate bars from giant, multi-national companies with huge financial interests in our “sensible” consumption of their shitty products. No one will bat an eyelid, especially if on their way to the fridge at half-time.
The message from the food industry is clear: sporty people = healthy; sports fans = fat, useless, sedentary, gluttonous, gullible muppets.