I finally found it after twenty years…

3 minute read

August 14, 2018, 1:38 PM

When my family went to England back in 1998, we mainly watched Sky One, which ran American television shows, when we were at the hotel.  I suppose that we watched mostly American TV because it was familiar.  The commercials, however, were very British.  Three commercials stuck out in my mind while we were there.  One was for Ribena, which featured a pregnant woman explaining how beneficial it was during pregnancy.  One was for some mac and cheese product where two boys were playing a game, and the younger boy’s job was to stand there and hold the antenna, complaining, “My arm hurts!” at the end of the spot.  And then the third was for Lucozade, a sports drink.

That third one, for Lucozade, was by far the most memorable of the three, primarily because of some rather racy content.  It featured several men wearing nothing but mountie hats putting on a show, while a bunch of cartoon women watched.  At one point, they explain that because this variety of Lucozade is low in calories, it helps them “stay firm”, as the camera pans from the face down their body, stopping at their stomach, where the man says, “Where it counts!” as he pats his stomach.  Very memorable, and very British.  You would certainly never see a spot like that in the United States.

Back in the nineties, it was never a thought that we would be able to find this commercial.  Of course not.  The technology and the will wasn’t there.  Now, though, with sites like YouTube and the like, a lot of older advertisements have seen new life for nostalgic purposes, which is a welcome addition.  After all, full television programs tend to have good repeat value, but commercials, due to their more timely nature, rarely get airtime again after their planned run is completed.  There are exceptions, like that Arby’s “five roast beef sandwiches” spot and the Fruity Pebbles spot with Santa, which ran for quite a few years, but for the most part, they’re one-and-done.

Once the idea of posting old commercials online became a thing, I started searching for that Lucozade ad.  I didn’t even know at first that it was an advertisement for Lucozade.  I just remembered that it was the commercial with the naked mounties.  My first time searching, I found an article about the commercial, which I found out was called “Full Mountie”, but not the commercial itself.  Turns out that the spot was controversial at the time “for being crude and offensive to overweight women”, and contained “an unacceptable level of sexual innuendo for pre-watershed viewing, while some felt the ad should not have been allowed on air at all”.  Back when we saw it, we were most amused with the “It helps me stay firm where it counts!” part, for exactly the reasons that you think.

But other than finding articles about the advertisement, but not the advertisement itself, I let it go for a while.  Then when Elyse came back one day with a bottle of Lucozade (from Rodman’s on Wisconsin Avenue in DC), I tried it again.  This was the real deal:

Elyse holds a bottle of Lucozade

It even had the European nutrition panel, rather than the one that we’re accustomed to seeing in America.  We had it on the day that we went to BrickFair (more on that later), and since it sat in the car all day, we enjoyed it both cold and hot.  Interestingly enough, we both thought that Lucozade tasted better hot than cold.  We both thought the same thing about the limited-edition Pepsi flavors Pepsi Salted Caramel and Pepsi Fire when they were available, after they both also sat in the car on a warm day.  In the case of this variety of Lucozade, the orange fizzy flavor had some extra kick to it when it was warm.  The cold tends to dull it.

Having found Lucozade, it caused me to look for the commercial again.  And lo and behold, I found it:

That was undoubtedly the commercial that I was looking for.  Animated people watching the show, live actors as the performers, cleverly hidden body parts, and “…so it helps me stay firm… where it counts!”  Going to show that memories aren’t perfect, I remembered it with a closer shot and slower pan down the guy’s body, and for some reason, I also remembered the animated people as old ladies rather than any age where they would have dark hair.

Finding all of the controversy about the “Full Mountie” commercial, and then rediscovering the commercial itself, I was kind of surprised that it was so controversial back in its day.  We all thought it was funny back then.  I still think it’s funny today, though it would still never make it to US television.

I’m still looking for the other two commercials that I found memorable from that 1998 trip to England.  If I turn those up, I’ll let you know.

Categories: Advertising, Travel