Here’s a classic ad from the late 80s that I quite fondly remember from my teens.
Growing up in my decidedly boring suburb, and wondering what I wanted to do with my life, this guy was someone to aspire after! Look how handsome he is! He lives in a cool apartment in a converted warehouse! He’s got loads of cool stuff! And he can walk down to the cash machine and get money whenever he likes!
Never mind being easy on a Sunday morning, I bet his Saturday nights were pretty awesome. Being the height of the Yuppie dream era, I suspect cocaine and prostitutes were involved. And Mondays to Fridays involved wheeler-dealing on the Stock Exchange, Filofax in one hand, housebrick mobile phone in the other.
In all seriousness, it’s clearly a clever ad that associates a product with aspirational glamour. In an era where contactless is replacing cash everywhere, the product seems laughably simple these days, but it certainly made an impression on me. I grew up in south-west London, an area full of solid Victorian and 1930s houses and neat gardens and solid middle-class respectability. Over on the other side of London, though, things like this were happening – cool guys were buying loft apartments and having relaxing Sundays with their cats. 🙂
It was at this time that I discovered the joys of the One Day Travelcard. Most Saturdays you’d find me off exploring London’s public transport system, and the most interesting place to investigate at that time was Docklands. The Docklands Light Railway, with its futuristic driverless trains, had just opened, and it presented an entirely different world to me – one of skyscrapers and reclaimed industrial sites, repurposed to serve a new generation of people doing wildly different things. Channel 4 produced a youth magazine show called Network 7 back then, and it was beamed live from a studio in Limehouse, right in the epicentre of the Docklands transformation.
All of this amazing stuff happening elsewhere made me want to be in the thick of all the action, and I occasionally harboured foolish dreams of being a DJ or being in a band or something, but of course it never happened, and my life ended up being a little more, well, err…suburban. I can’t complain, though!
Whoever made that ad was pretty clever and got a lot right – the dream it was selling me stuck around in my head for thirty years! I never did open a Cardcash account, though – perhaps that’s where I went wrong. That’ll be why I won’t be waking up tomorrow in a converted warehouse, reading the papers on my balcony, stroking my cat.