Welcome to the first article in an occasional series, where we interview the real people starring in popular adverts.
Modern advertisements connect with us sophisticated consumers by placing people just like us at the heart of the adverts. We’re often shown in familiar scenarios… for example eating dinner in our clean but blandly furnished homes or maybe even having great fun at a music festival.
But who are the people in the advertisements? And what exactly are they doing in the iconic images we’re all now so familiar with?
Join us as we go Inside The Ads!
In part one we meet Brent Gridlock and Perry Murdell, the two young UK gentlemen featured in the Co-Operative’s critically acclaimed “Dinner bought and cooked in 35 mins. Eaten in 90 mins. Good food within easy reach” billboard poster.
Lee, interviewer (Le): Hi Brent and Perry!
Brent (Br) and Perry (Pe): Hi! We’re glad to be here!
Le: Hi Perry – you’re the younger of the two, aged 9?
Pe: I’m 10 now – that picture was taken last year.
Le: Great Perry – and Brent I gotta ask – is Brent Gridlock really your name? It’s a great name.
Br: Yup it really is my name – I’m from a long line of Gridlocks – as we like to say back in the States.
Le: Well before you tell us what you’re doing in the photo, will you tell us what brought you to the UK, Brent?
Br: I’m over in the UK teaching in a summer camp in Northolt, which crazily enough is near Brent in London. I met Perry at soccer practice – I’m the coach for the ‘Come Back Kids’ – the kids’ soccer team that plays for the local church that I attend.
Le: That’s a great story Brent. Looking at the poster I thought you might be Perry’s dad or older brother.
Br: Ha! It’s nothing like that – we’re just good friends.
Le: Perry, you’re very quiet?
Pe: Yeah, we’re friends.
Le: So how did the photo come about?
Br: Sue [one of the Co-Op marketing people] attends the church, and thought we’d be right for the campaign. I’m a positive role model for Perry – and we have a real rapport – he’ll often come around to my house for something to eat after soccer. One Wednesday night, Sue sent a photographer to my house to get a snap of me and Pez (Perry) chilling. And that was that!
Le: And what exactly is happening in the photo?
Br: It just shows me and Pez relaxing at my house. I’d made dinner, and we’re watching the England game. Pez is smiling because he really likes football. It just all came together – the photographer really captured the easy going vibe that exists between me and Perry, despite the age gap.
Le: I didn’t want to point it out, but with age men’s head hair does depart – and yours is visibly receding in the image. Did the Co-Op say anything about your hair?
Br: The Co-Op were great – they didn’t say anything about my hair – I think their feeling was is that it makes the picture more ‘real’ – I’m just a regular guy eating my dinner.
Le: And I hear you even inspired the poster’s tagline?
Br: Yup – there’s a Co-Op near my home – so I really did buy and cook the food in 35 mins!
Le: That’s a great story Brent! Thanks Brent and Perry for speaking to me.
Br & Pe: Thanks for having us!