chapter six

answering advertisers’ prayers

no escape

This time, she is confused. His rude interruption as she was enjoying the company of the new man in her life was unforgivable. She had all but put him out of her mind, then he returns with the sweetly surprising news that he loves her. It began in 1987. “Hello; I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m having a dinner party and I’ve run out of coffee,” had been her way of introducing herself to her new neighbor, a smug, fortyish male. She smiles at the memory of returning his coffee, an untimely and slightly embarrassing intrusion when he was entertaining a woman friend.

Their relationship had never actually caught alight, but it smoldered pleasantly for almost a year until, one night, he burst into a soirée holding flowers and apologizing for his lateness. “I think you know everyone except…” Imperturbably, he played along with the deception, later announcing his intention to see her in the more intimate environs of his apartment. She obliged.

Business took her to Milan and him to New York. There were contretemps, like the time one of his old flames visited him at a late hour; and when he jumped to the wrong conclusion at the sight of her and her brother—or was it her ex-husband? Now she has turned 40: she still radiates elegance, but remains torn by questions. Perhaps something was missing from their relationship, after all. Her new friend from Italy seemed so much more compatible. Everything had progressed smoothly—until the intrusion.

Television viewers will recognize this not as a plot outline for a drama series, or part of a soap saga, but as a television commercial for Nestlé’s coffee, Gold Blend, known in the USA as Taster’s Choice. The 40-seconds-long encounters were quite deliberately structured like dramas, each slotting the same two characters, played by Sharon

-75-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Chapter One - Bombardments and Bee Stings 1
  • Chapter Two - A Gift Arrives 10
  • Chapter Three - Under the Influence 26
  • Chapter Four - The Meanings of Cultural Studies 43
  • Chapter Five - Lethal Link 58
  • Chapter Six - Answering Advertisers’ Prayers 75
  • Chapter Seven - Ethnic Images 98
  • Chapter Eight - In Pursuit of Women 115
  • Chapter Nine - Dream Match 128
  • Chapter Ten - Arresting Viewing 154
  • Chapter Eleven - Political Hype and Hyperreality 173
  • Chapter Twelve - Tomorrow, the World 194
  • References 206
  • Index 212
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