Excellence in Advertising: John Lydon for Country Life Butter

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      Before God invented Netflix and PVRs, you had to sit through a battery of commercials every time you turned on the idiot box. Most of them made you wonder why the hell Philo Taylor Farnsworth didn’t also invent something to block out commercials. Like Netflix or PVRs. 

      But occasionally, a television ad struck gold to where you’d sit through a seven-hour Cannon marathon to see it again. And now, thanks to the magic of YouTube (which we can thank God for inventing) you can relive the magic at the touch of a mouse. Here’s today’s nomination for Excellence in Advertising.

      If you were following John Lydon's career in the 2000s, you saw a middle-aged rock star who hadn't released any new music in years popping up on reality TV and apparently trying to render himself irrelevant. Then in 2008, the former Johnny Rotten appeared on TV in quite another capacity—shilling dairy products. Lydon appeared in an ad campaign for Country Life Butter. The tag line: "It's not about Great Britain, it's about great butter!"

      The ads' conceit is that Lydon doesn't buy Country Life to support British dairy farmers or out of any sense of patriotic duty, but simply because he likes how it tastes on his crumpets.

      In an interview with Vancouver's own Nardwuar the Human Serviette, however, Lydon indicated that maybe butter—and the paycheque he got for pushing it—brought out a little of the Union Jack–waving nationalist that exactly no one suspected he harbours deep inside: "Yeah, well, that was a product I actually believed in, backed and supported because British products in Britain are getting a hard shift of it. Foreign exports are killing what is British commerce and so I was quite happy to back that."

      Lydon has also said that the money he made as Country Life's spokesperson enabled him to put PiL back together after a 17-year hiatus. Which makes you wonder what exactly he did with all the filthy lucre he accrued from the multiple Sex Pistols reunion tours that took place during that time. Perhaps he spent it all on iPad apps. Or crumpets.