Welcome to the second of Badger’s new, weekly column: the Badgerometer. Each week we’ll take an F1-related topic, mercilessly boil it down to the top five and then serve it up for your reading delight. This week we’re looking at F1 drivers in adverts, a concept that makes only slightly more sense than putting an actor in a Formula One car and expecting it not to go spectacularly wrong. Enjoy!
In at number five it’s Nigel Mansell’s Moneysupermarket advert. It’s not all that noteworthy until that slightly famous comedian (whose name we’ve forgotten and can’t really be fussed to find out) slaps a ‘tache on Nige’s face. At that moment the ad takes on a whole new dimenssion as we, the viewers, are transported back to the days when Mansell actually wore his ‘tache with pride. They were the days of Senna, Prost and Piquet; turbo-charged cars and ground-effect; and Nige running off to Indycar in a strop and winning the title in his rookie year. In all the advert manages, despite being of an irritatingly modern ilk, pleasantly nostalgia inducing. And that’s why it’s made the list.
I don’t speak Finnish. Actually, no one at Badger speaks Finnish. One (unnamed) writer did claim to, only to get us very lost and on our annual work jaunt to Helsinki, so lost that it took a search and rescue team close-to three days to find us. As such we have no idea what this advert says, but we reckon it implies that Kimi Raikkonen is really fast, so fast that were he a taxi driver the journeys would be really short. With the lack of conversation you’d get from the Kimster we think it’d really drag, but there you go.
Niki Lauda; a Range Rover; engine oil; a motorway; are you out of your mind with excitement yet? A classic eighties advert this, the type that sits nicely alongside Ferrero Rocher’s ‘ambassador’ piece and the largely-forgotten Oxo Family commercial where Lynda Bellingham has a nervous breakdown at the dinner table and pours gravy all over herself. Fortunately Niki fares much better in this ad, simply driving to the circuit to do some testing for McLaren.
That this cringe-fest of an ad isn’t number one caused some controversy at the Sett. But, whilst I agree that it is very, very funny, it’s also totally rubbish. Webber in a grotty go-kart, driving for the milk at the end of the rainbow? That’s messed up! So it doesn’t top the list, but do have a good laugh at it anyway.
This is not just the best Formula One advert of all time – this is the greatest example of advertising full stop. In fact it ranks among the greatest achievements of television – no – of all human kind. The competitive relationship between Lewis and Fernando is humourously played out through the ad and the final inclusion of Mika Hakkinen is pure gold. Seriously, if you don’t enjoy this you’re may wish to seek help.
Between being totally right-on and funny in The Young Ones and voicing the dog on that toilet paper advert Rik Mayall did a TV ad for Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing. It’s not in our top five because, well, Rik Mayall isn’t an F1 driver, but as asides go this is about as good as it gets. Enjoy.