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Published on Sep 10, 2006

Genuinely unsettling (if not quite worthy of its 18 certificate) ad for free-range eggs, or more specifically against battery farming, brought out in 1988 by Compassion in World Farming, just one of the many animal rights charities you should support instead of PETA. The message is still relevant too.

It was made by Host Universal Ethical Communications, evolving out of a print ad in the Reader's Digest, illustrating that the size of a two-page spread in that pocket magazine is the size of the cage these poor birds sit in 24/7. This later led to the "how would you like it" cinema ad you see here. Both they and CIWF have uploaded much better quality versions of this, which are even more terrifying for the clarity of the picture and sound.

Unfortunately it was banned. Free range was a relatively radical concept in those days, and batteries were more or less the norm. But in true Mike Read fashion, the ban just brought it to more people's attention, with screenings on egg-related network TV-am, undoubtedly allowing people across the nation to start their day with some claustrophobic horror. And of course, it did eventually run in cinemas anyway, albeit independent ones. It was also remade by a sympathetic Australian group, whose actor, probably less experienced, went down the ice-cold impassive Cyberman route rather than the smiling, half-suave civil servant seen here Incidentally, that's the legendary David Graham, voice of some of the first Daleks, and also Big Brother in the 1984 Apple advert.

Brief note on April 1, 2011: this looks even better with the 1911 filter on it.


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