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PIFs (Three Different Ones)

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Uploaded on Aug 22, 2010

1986 PIFs on behalf of Britain's tightest government, advising its subjects to invest in home insulation in order to save money - oops, I mean "monergy", in an early example of the hateful modern trend towards portmanteau'ing anything more than two syllables long - LiLo, Jedward, SuBo, BuShi.

1986 was UK Energy Efficiency Year and "Monergy 86" represented the Thatcher Government's take on the concept: they chose to promote energy saving in purely financial terms. Zip is said about conservation or saving anything other than coins.

Perhaps ironically, the campaign cost the Government seventy million pounds. But then, it wasn't just a series of PIFs, it was a nationwide bunfight of Monergy Roadshows, Monergy school assemblies followed by Monergy activity days, Monergy seminars for teachers, Monergy exhibitions, Monergy pies, Monergy discos, Monergy demagogues and finally a giant Monergy orgy in the middle of London. Some of those are lies.

The TV campaign took 4 million out of the 70 million budget and involved a rather strained metaphor on the Three Little Pigs, who turn out to be a middle class suburban two-parent one-piglet family (I think that other one's meant to be a child, but he might just be short) of the sort that the Thatcher regime considered the lowest rung on the social ladder to have any worth. They're seen plugging up the mortar (which involves a slightly alarming ass-shot, complete with curly tail), installing draught excluders and at one point buying a new boiler - the PIF skirts around the issue of how much they actually had to spend on it and how it corresponds with how much Monergy they'd now save. It's vaguely like watching the lower-class cousins of the NatWest pig family, too proud to call their Uncle Nathaniel for a bailout. The person I feel sorriest for, however, is the voiceover man, a veteran who's being forced to use the word "Monergy" as if it's a) a word and b) not embarassing. Just to nag you further, the triangle logo showed up on British Gas and WhateverElectric adverts throughout "Monergy 86" for good measure.

In a darkly amusing footnote, the wave of draughtproofing under "Get More For Your Monergy" came under fire from the Buildings Research Establishment, worried that such efficiency would render every suburban house in Britain a solid, airtight block in which people would drown in their own cigarette smoke and Calorgas. Fortunately, they didn't.

The hilarious and extremely clever portmanteau lives on, however, most recently in a new, much smaller-scale energy efficiency campaign in the Capital Territory in Australia.

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