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How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) Poster

Quotes

[first lines]

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Let me try and clarify some of this for you. Best Company Supermarkets are not interested in selling wholesome foods. They are not worried about the nation's health. What is concerning them, is that the nation appears to be getting worried about its health, and that is what's worrying Best Co., because Best Co. wants to go on selling them what it always has, i.e. white breads, baked beans, canned foods, and that suppurating, fat squirting little heart attack traditionally known as the British sausage. So, how can we help them with that? Clearly, we are looking for a label. We need a label brimming with health, and everything from a nosh pot to a white sliced will wear one with pride. And although I'm aware of the difficulties of coming to terms with this, it must be appreciated from the beginning, that even the nosh pot must be low in something, and if it isn't, it must be high in something else, and that is its health-giving ingredient we will sell. Which brings me to my final question: who are we trying to sell this to? Answer: we are trying to sell this to the archetypal average housewife, she who fills her basket. What you have here is a 22 year old pretty girl. What you need is taut slob, something on foot deodorisers in a brassiere.

Larry Frisk: I, uh, I'm not quite sure we can go along with that, Mr. Bagley. I mean, if you look at, like, the market research...

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I don't need to look at the market research. I've lived with 13 and a half million housewives for 15 years and I know everything about them. She's 37 years old, she has 2.3 children, 1.6 of which will be girls, she uses 16 feet 6 inches of toilet tissue a week and fucks no more than 4.2 times a month. She has 7 radiators and is worried about her weight, which is why we have her on a diet, and because we have her on a diet we also encourage her to reward herself with the little treats. And she deserves them, because anyone existing on 1200 calories of artificial synthetic orange-flavoured waffle a day deserves a little treat. We know it's naughty but you do deserve it, go on, darling, swallow a bun! And she does, and the instant she does, the guilt cuts in. So here we are again with our diet. It's a vicious, but quite wonderful circle, and it adheres to only one rule: whatever it is, sell it. And if you want to stay in advertising, by God, you'd better learn that!

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Julia Bagley: Insanity? You still want to sell them boils!

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Nothing crazy about that. It's a free market, people will either buy or they won't buy. Nobody's forcing them. Everyone knows what they're getting.

Julia Bagley: Perhaps they don't.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Of course they do. People might be a bit greedy from time to time but we're not blind. We've got our eyes open, and we have a choice.

Julia Bagley: Perhaps.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Stop saying perhaps! What's perhaps got to do with it?

Julia Bagley: Perhaps they don't.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Perhaps if they'd hanged Jesus Christ we'd all be kneeling in front of a fucking gibbet!

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Businessman on Train: [reading a newspaper] I see the police have made another lightning raid. Paddington drug orgy.

Priest on Train: [Irish accent] I suppose young girls was involved?

Businessman on Train: One discovered naked in a kitchen. Breasts smeared with peanut butter. "The police took away a bag containing 15 grams of cannibis resin. It may also have contained a quantity of heroin."

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Or a pork pie.

Businessman on Train: I beg your pardon?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I said the bag may also have contained a pork pie.

Businessman on Train: I hardly see how a pork pie's got anything to do with it.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: All right then, what about a large turnip? It may also have contained a big turnip.

Priest on Train: The bag was full of drugs.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Nonsense.

Priest on Train: The bag was full of drugs, it says so!

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: The bag could have been full of anything. Pork pies, turnips, oven parts. It's the oldest trick in the book.

Priest on Train: What book?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: The distortion of truth by association book. The word is "may". You all believe heroin was in the bag because cannibis resin was in the bag. The bag may have contained heroin, but the chances are 100 to 1 certain that it didn't.

Businessman on Train: A lot more likely than what you say.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: About as likely as a tit spread with peanut butter.

Businessman on Train: Do you mind?

Priest on Train: The tit was spread with peanut butter!

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Nonsense.

Priest on Train: It says so! Who's the man you are to think you know more about it than the press?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I'm an expert on tits. Tits and peanut butter. I'm also an expert drug pusher. I've been pushing drugs for 20 years. And I can tell you a pusher protects his pitch! We wanna sell them cigarettes and don't like competition, see? So we associate a relatively innocuous drug with one that is extremely dangerous, and the rags go along with it because they adore the dough from the ads!

Businessman on Train: I've had enough of this. I'm getting off at Datchet.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: [getting even more animated] Getting off at Datchet won't help you! Getting off anywhere won't help you! I've had an octopus squatting on my brain for a fortnight, and I suddenly see that I am the only one that can help you! It would be pointless to go into the reasons why, but I've been worried sick about boils for a fortnight! Large boils, small boils, fast eruptors, they're incurable, all of them!

[the other 3 men leave the compartment and head to the door, Bagley follows them]

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I know that and so does everybody else, until they get one! Then the rules suddenly change. With a boil on the nose, there's sudden overnight surge in fate, they wanna believe something will work!

[points to the priest]

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: He knows that, which is why he gets a good look-in with the dying.

[they step off the train and shut the door. Bagley sticks his head out of the window]

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Sells them hope, see? But these boys would be full time into real estate if anyone came up with a genuine cure for death!

Priest on Train: Good God, this is a madman!

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: What do you know about God, you wire-haired mick?

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Penny Wheelstock: Women, I might inform you, take that primitive device called the pill because it's all they've got. They don't like it, I personally abhor it, but unfortunately it's all we've got.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: In what context?

Penny Wheelstock: In the context of bed.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I'm surprised you need to bother.

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Denis Dimbleby Bagley: We're living in a shop. The world is one magnificent fucking shop. And if it hasn't got a price tag, it isn't worth having. There is no greater freedom than freedom of choice, and that's the difference between you and me, boil. I was brought up to believe in that, and so should you, but you don't. You don't want freedom, do you? You don't even want roads. God, I never want to go on another train as long as I live! Roads represent a fundamental right of man to have access to the good things in life. Without roads, established family favorites would become elitist delicacies. Potter's soap would be for the few. There'd be no more tea bags, no instant potatoes, no long life cream. There'd be no aerosols. Detergents would vanish. So would tinned spaghetti and baked beans with six frankfurters. The right to smoke one's chosen brand would be denied. Chewing gum would probably disappear, so would pork pies. Foot deodorizers would climax without hope of replacement. When the hydrolyzed monosodium glutamate reserves run out, food would rot in its packets. Jesus Christ, there wouldn't be any more packets! Packaging would vanish from the face of the Earth. But worst of all, there'd be no more cars. And more than anything, people love their cars. They have a right to them. They have to sweat all day in some stinking factory making disposable cigarette lighters or everlasting Christmas trees, by Christ, they're entitled to them! They're entitled to any innovation technology brings. Whether it's ten percent more of it or fifteen percent off of it, they're entitled to it! They're entitled to one of four important new ingredients! Why should anyone have to clean their teeth without important new ingredients? Why the hell shouldn't they have their CZT? How dare some smutty Marxist carbunkle presume to deny them it? They love their CZT! They want it, they need it, they positively adore it! And by Christ, while I've got air in my body they're going to get it! They're going to get it bigger and brighter and better. I'll put CZT in their margarine if necessary, shove vitamins in their toilet rolls. If happiness means the whole world standing on a double layer of foot deodorizers, I, Bagley, will see that they get them! I'll give them anything and everything they want! By God, I will! I shall not cease, till Jerusalem is builded here, on England's green and pleasant land!

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Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Don't pretend you haven't noticed my cardboard box, Julia, because I know you have!

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Denis Dimbleby Bagley: My grandfather was caught molesting a wallaby in a private zoo in 1919.

Psychiatrist: A wallaby?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: It may have been a kangaroo. I'm not sure.

Psychiatrist: You mean sexually?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I suppose so. He had his hand in its pouch.

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Denis Dimbleby Bagley: You bastard. I only have one wish, that I could be awake to see you lanced. I'd like to see the knife going in. I'd like to see you suffer!

Voice of the Boil: A typically communist statement.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I'm not a communist!

Voice of the Boil: Yes, you are, you want to take everyone's car away.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I do not want to take anything from anyone. I want to give them the choice of something better.

Voice of the Boil: Oh yes? What?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Trains.

Voice of the Boil: Trains? Trains are no good, they're old fashioned. I hate trains, they're rotten.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Only because they don't consume. Only because they were already there and don't eat up more and more and more. That's why you hate them. That's why government hates them. That's why they're old fashioned and rotten.

Voice of the Boil: You Commies don't half talk a lot of shit.

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Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Nobody in advertising wants to get rid of boils. They're good little money-spinners. All we want to do is offer hope of getting rid them, and that's where I'm blocked.

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John Bristol: Don't you think the way you reacted could be considered a little irrational?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Don't start the old irrational bollocks with me, Bristol, I'm up to here with it! I know everything there is to know about rationality, and I know everything there is to know about advertising. So don't tell me I'm being irrational, cos I'm the man who's taken the stench out of everything but shit!

John Bristol: OK, old chap, why don't you take some time off?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: What the fuck do you think I'm resigning for? I'm taking forever off. I'm going to cleanse my life. I'm going to rid my mind and body of poisons, and when I've done it, I intend to make it my life's work to encourage others to do it.

John Bristol: And how will you do that?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: By telling them, you bald fool.

John Bristol: Walking up and down with a sandwich board?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: If necessary.

John Bristol: Advertising, dear boy.

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John Bristol: 15 years ago I was out there on the floor where you are now and I was very like you, Bagley, I was the best. But I got myself into some trouble with a gas-fired heating system. I tell you, I was desperate. I made myself ill with worry. I finally ended up with a specialist who told me I'd given myself an ulcer. But it was a lot more than that to me. As far as I was concerned, I'd given myself a detonator. I became obsessed with fears of spontaneous combustion. This gas-fired business had penetrated so deeply into my subconscious, I thought I was seconds away from busting into flames. I started drinking water. Sometimes as much as 25 pints a day. I slept with a bucketful by the bed. I even bought a fire extinguisher.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: I'm surprised you needed to bother. You must have pissed like a fire engine.

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Psychiatrist: Tell me about advertising. Now, you resigned from a very important firm with a very highly-paid job. I'd like to know your reasons.

[Bagley doesn't answer]

Psychiatrist: Well, at least try and give me an example of even one of those reasons.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: All right. Reason 1: advertising conspires with Big Brother.

Psychiatrist: And you're afraid of Big Brother? Someone or something coming into your life and telling you what to do?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: No, I'm not afraid of him. I'm one of the few who really understands him. The man who conceived of Big Brother never knew what was coming down the line. Thought his filthy creation was gonna be watching us. But it is us who watch it. There's one in every living room. The montrous injustice of it is we stare at it of our own free will.

Psychiatrist: So we could say principally that it's television that you blame.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: We can say entirely it is crux who've infiltrated it that I blame. They've moved in on the greatest means of communication since the wheel, and now they've done it their greed is insatiable. They're cutting down jungles to breed hamburgers, turning the whole world into a car park! They'd sell off the sea to satisfy the needs of their great god Greed! But it won't be satisfied, not til we're squatting in one of it's fucking hatchbacks on a motorway. But there isn't gonna be anywhere left to go, except in slow revolutions towards the crest of the next slag heap.

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Psychiatrist: Do you have trouble in getting an erection?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: What?

Psychiatrist: Can you get an erection?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Yes!

Psychiatrist: Masturbating much?

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Constantly! I've got a talking boil on my neck! What would you do?

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[Bagley looks in the bathroom mirror and discovers that the massive boil on his shoulder now has a face]

Voice of the Boil: Hiya, handsome.

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Penny Wheelstock: You dislike me because I'm not one of those starved little tarts you exploit. I don't rush out and buy your latest makeup, I have a mind of my own and I have a body of my own that doesn't fit into the preconceived patterns men like you dictate.

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: You mean you're fat.

Penny Wheelstock: Yes, I'm fat! And you're perfectly at liberty to hate me for it!

Denis Dimbleby Bagley: You're quite wrong, I don't dislike you because of that. I wouldn't care if you were so huge we'd have to put scaffolding up to feed you.

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Basil: Get his Valium.

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