Monday, 2 May 2011

Smash Mash TV Advert (1970)

This is a Smash Mash Martian from the hugely influential and much loved 70’s TV campaign.  These guys appeared in a number of ads over the years mocking humanity for the lengthy and arduous process we employed when making mashed potato.  The cause of their derision was the fact that we peeled, boiled and then smashed up real potatoes when we could have been embracing the future by simply adding boiling water and reconstituting the dried potato granules available in the supermarkets.  The ads were phenomenally successful and not only did they sell a lot of Smash but they also sold a fare few plastic Martian toys as well as infecting the  nation with  the viral tag line; For Mash Get Smash.

The campaign was created by the Boase Massimi Pollitt Agency and the first of the Martian ads went out in 1974.

And what’s all this got to do with Spacemen?
Well this...
You see that isn’t a picture from Gerry Anderson's UFO TV series but the opening scene of a Smash Mash advert that precedes all of the above.

Now I’ve been trying to date this advert for a while and it’s proving difficult but I’m going to best guess it at 1970 from a process of zeroing in.
The BMP agency was founded in 1968 and one of their first contracts was with Cadbury for their Smash Mash which was launched in 1969.  This is the year of the moon landing and height of the public’s fascination with space and the future, which was used to sell just about everything.

There were two ads made prior to the Martians and this was the second of them.  (The first reveals a future in which a child is so used to eating powdered potatoes that when she sees a real potato she doesn’t even recognise it)
The space suits seen here are those originally created for Doppelganger and then reused in UFO.  The helmets are only ever a deep orange in the original film whereas here there is an orange and a yellow one which would suggest that the ad is from post production of UFO.   I also read that some of the set is recycled from the TV series too so that would confirm that fact.
Except that what we discovered in previous posts was that UFO had a 5 month break in production (November 1969 to May 1970)  while they found new studios and that during that time these  same suits were hired out and used by the BBC for their Doomwatch episode;  Re-entry Forbidden. (Filmed Feb 1970)
Also featured in this advert are some of the space helmets from Moon Zero Two that were also popping up all over the place that year in Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death and an episode of Here Come the Double Deckers.
This is the first but not the last time these two suits would come together and I feel sure that there are outings for both of them that have yet to re-surface.  There’s certainly a couple more I’ve yet to tell you about.
Which is a whole load of research and words to date an advert that hardly anyone remembers now but if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that we're talking about a couple of my very favourite space suits here so it’s a mystery I’m happy to pour effort into.
And also I would like to do my bit to remind a generation that the good spacemen of the moon were Smashing their Mash way before a bunch of condescending metal Martians came on the scene.


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