It's Marketing month in Ambridge
January has seen another strange turn in the ever changing face of Ambridge. Whereas we have become used to serial personality changes this month saw an outbreak of ad-speak in the oh so weird enclave that is this tiny, inter-related farming community.
Sausage obsessed, Tom Archer, and his grill friend and girl friend, Brenda Tucker, have long since rejected traditional speech structures popular amongst civilised races for the verbal emoticons of the marketing think-tank. They routinely urge one another to 'Think outside the box' and speak of 'Once in a lifetime opportunities' and all this about sausages. Brenda has also made the rapid transformation from downtrodden, clerical underling of a convicted criminal and his alcoholic partner to the Nigella Lawson of Borsetshire's culinary world, albeit specialising only in pork products. Her recipes have been seized upon by a local supermarket chain who have no doubt, 'Run her pork lasagne up their flagpole and seen how many saluted it.' It is hard to imagine these two crashing bores ever talking about anything else other than minced pork and griddles.
The shrill, know-all teenaged prig that is Pip Archer has been doing what she does best, namely lecture anyone who will listen and bizarrely this month a village hall full of grown men and women seem prepared to. Pip is no stranger to ad-speak cliche and stridently told her gormless parents they 'had taken their eye off the ball' when it came to selling Hassett Hills products. Whereas Tom and Brenda are cornering the ground pork market, Hasset Hills is the lamb equivalent, hawked round to anyone willing to express vague interest in the stuff. No one ever turns up at Brookfield and asks to buy any, mind you with Pip ready and all too willing to give a potted lecture to anyone in earshot, who can blame them?
Even randy old agri-baron Brian is into marketing parlance having had a meeting with a cartoon cut-out ad-man figure called Rufus and used a most un-Brian like phrase when he told the velvet voiced, if desperately wooden, lawyer, Annabelle Shrivener that something had come at them unbidden 'Out of left field.'
All this ad-speak has led to an outbreak of two things: websites and leaflets. The Archers is just as wild about websites as the BBC is and one can only wonder if that is entirely co-incidental. But just as the Beeb urges us to download endless podcasts and sign up to its vast array of Twitter and blog pages so Archers characters routinely turn their businesses round in a nano-second simply by posting a web page.
Bridge Farm, the near bankrupt centre of an e-coli break out has been transformed simply because Tom Archer put up a film of pigs playing football on his website. Pip extolled the poor unfortunates in the village hall how a website will get sales of Hasset Hills scrag end soaring, whilst Rufus has delivered a wonderful website for Brian's new mega-dairy with a hunky milkman on the front, so planning permission is doubtless a formality provided the majority of the planning committee hanker after a hunky milkman.
Then there are the leaflets. I must make an admission here and say that I religiously, and without hesitation, throw away each and every leaflet I receive. In Ambridge they are treated like tablets brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses. Even Jo Grunday, 91 this September, has prepared leaflets advertising his latest money making scheme. Mind you even he cannot beat uber ad-man, Rufus, who had leaflets prepared and ready for Brian and Annabelle to approve before he had even received Brian's brief. A talent indeed. Especially as, in Ambridge, no one ever bins a leaflet.