Marketing and advertising wars are often drawn out, protracted affairs giving credence to the expression “War is hell;but who knew it looked like crap? It is entertaining when no one follows the modern version of the Marquess of Queensbury rules of engagement…
At least that’s what you’d conclude if you submitted to a queasy-making new ad for the U.S. smoothie chain Jamba Juice. Jamba’s 45-second spot, a slap at a recent move by McDonald’s to add smoothies to its menu, offers a satirical take on what would happen if the reverse happened and Jamba Juice got into the hamburger making business: a blended meat-and-ice beverage called the Cheeseburger Chill that looks like – well, a metaphor for vomit.
The Zen-minded, yoga active Jamba Juice doesn’t usually crap on competitors in its ads. But the attack comes as advertising spats seem to be heating up all across the United States. In June, Mini USA took out a full page ad in The New York Times to challenge Porsche to a race. The invitation was turned down. In July, a fifteen-year truce in the cola wars came to an abrupt and fizzless end when PepsiCo. launched an updated version of its classic truck-stop ad, this time featuring a Coke Zero delivery man who gives in to the cool beguilement of a Pepsi Max.
Basically, the modern marketing world is just following a long tradition of artistic and intellectual collision that makes these advertising tussles look like children fighting in a sand box, or were passionate battles for hears and minds, such as the battle between Rome and Protestantism, or as John knox put it, between Babylon and Jerusalem….
… The Queen wept, the preacher stood his ground. Two great figures dominate the history of Reformation Scotland. Far above the anarchy and barbarism of those impersonal noblemen who divided the power of the Crown, we can still see the clash of two real, vivid personalities. One one side is Mary Stuart, the beautiful, unfortunate, romantic queen who sought to set up a Renaissance court, perhaps a Renaissance despotism, in that impossible country; on the other stands John Knox, the unyielding old testament prophet who, out of the same anarchy, sought to build a new revolutionary, Puritan society.
For six crowded years Mary reigned in Scotland, before being driven first from her throne, then from the country, by her exasperated subjects. For most of those years Knox was a minister in Edinburgh. And on five occasions they met, face to face. It was the meeting of Jezebel and Elijah; and the most vivid chronicle is by Elijah himself: Knox’s own great “History of the Reformation of Scotland,” written in the very style of the Book of Kings.
How can one do justice to the drama of those famous encounters? The contrast is complete; a contrast of personalities, of ideas, of whole worlds. Mary Stuart was one of the great Renaissance women, who had been brought up a Frenchwoman in the court of France. Her mother’s family, the family of Guise, was itself a princely house, rulers in Lorraine, the most magnificent, most brilliant, most ambitious family in France. Mary had been taught poetry by Ronsard; she sang and danced and played the lute; she devoured romances of chivalry- devoured them so successfully that her own life became one.
But Mary was not a court princess only. Her natural gaiety always broke through. Unlike her “dear sister” of England, Mary was an altogether wilder figure. Her strong passions, of love and revenge, led her into desperate actions. If she loved gentle poets and musicians, the Frenchman Chastelard and the Italian Rizzio, both of whom paid with their lives; she yielded finally to the ruffian Bothwell. In her hectic life she was often in undress or in disguise and her knowledge of the country was acquired not in stately progresses, but in wild rides.
When Rizzio had been murdered before Mary’s eyes in Holyrood House, she would gallop for two hours by moonlight to Dunbar, seeking revenge; escaping from her elven month captivity in the island fortress of Lochleven, she would ride all through the night, and cross the Firth of Forth to reach Hamilton. Her last escape was the most dramatic of all; for ninety two miles over moor and forest she would never alight from her horse; for two nights she would sleep on the ground; she would feed only on oatmeal and buttermilk; and at last,in an open fishing boat, she would cross the Solway into England and another nineteen years of ever-changing confinement and incessant conspiracy, ending on the block.
… In the United Kingdom, ads often seem to take their cues from the local tabloids. In July, the notoriously scrappy Ryan Air placed an ad in The Guardian featuring a picture of Robert Mugabe atop headlines claiming EasyJet was “less punctual than Air Zimbabwe.” For years, Virgin Atlantic has taunted British Airways in its ads. And in July, Nissan’s U.K. division took out ads mocking Porsche, Audi and BMW. And Motorola is tweaking Apple’s offer of a free phone case to customers of the problematic iPhone 4, with an ad that declares, “We believe a customer shouldn’t have to dress up their phone for it to work properly.” …
…Finally, to complete the portrait, there is her irresistible charm, which softened the strongest Protestant. Mary bewitched the stony-hearted nobility of Scotland into overlooking her religion and her crimes; she bewitched the conspirators who sought to murder Queen Elizabeth and place her on the English throne; and she seems to have bewitched historians ever since, bewitched some of them into believing even the strongest evidence against her to be a forgery.
One man however, she never bewitched. She could never fool him on the blind-fold taste test. Long before he had met her, John Knox had made up his mind. To him the whole world of the Renaissance, that florid magnificence sustained by an unequal society, was odious. Its culture was a pagan culture, its Church a pagan church, rooted in injustice; and nowhere was the injustice greater than in Scotland, to whose long neglected poverty this borrowed Italian splendor was a vulgar mockery. Fleeing from Catholic Scotland to England and then from a re-Catholicized England of Mary Tudor to Calvinist Geneva, Knox had found at once his master and his model.
To Knox, Calvin’s city was “the most perfect school of Christ since the time of the apostles,” and having seen it, the future of both England and Scotland was clear to him. To prepare the way he issued from Geneva his challenge to the feminine sovereigns of both countries, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women”.
…But if you’re a fan of fights, here’s where things get interesting; the bashing of the brands does resonate. “Whenever those ads come out, we hear, ‘People don’t like attack ads, why are there all these attack ads?’ ” he said in an interview. “And then someone from a research company will come out and say, ‘Because they work.’ ” ( Dave Hamilton, Grip Inc. ) A great example is the Mac vs. PC ads, which finally wrapped up after a long run. …
Only a year after Knox’s return to Scotland, Mary Stuart’s mother and husband both died, and she set out, as Queen regnant of Scotland and queen pretendant of England, to mount in Edinburgh an assault on the Protestantism of Scotland and England alike. So the stage was set. The scen was Scotland, but the struggle was not only a Scottish struggle: France and Spain would be behind Mary, resulting in both Mary and Elizabeth fomenting revolution against each other. Also, mary was not a god Catholic, either in faith or morals. She would murder her second and marry her third with Calvinist rites. The Pope, the King of Spain and Queen Mother of France all regarded her with horror, but they had no other options to restore Catholicism and Mary knew that.
Knox, representing the competing brand, was hardly less cosmopolitan. His ideas had been formed in Geneva, his style in England. He, too, was the agent of an international system. In France, in the Netherlands, in the Rhineland, wherever it was weak, the old society found itself challenged by the new; the pagan Babylon by the Christian Jerusalem. Scotland was but one small distant theatre of this great struggle. But it was a key theatre, and the struggle there was exceptionally dramatic because there, thanks to the overshadowing nobility, Princess and Prophet faced each other on almost equal terms.
“In Scotland Mary met, fell in love with, and married Henry, Lord Darnley. She described him as “the lustiest and best-proportioned lang man” that she had ever met. They married in 1564 and soon afterwards Henry proved that his beauty was the limit of his positive characteristics. He was arrogant, politically incompetent, and fond of frequenting the taverns. Mary excluded him from all court life and their relationship was one of only marriage.
Mary soon began to grow fond of the companionship of her secretary, close friend, and Italian musician David Rizzio. Lord Darnley became jealous of him and had him assassinated right before Mary’s eyes. Shortly after this horrific act in 1566, Mary gave birth to a son, James VI of Scotland, later the I of England. Mary would never forgive Lord Darnley for having Rizzio assassinated.
In 1567, Mary after a failed attempt to reconcile with Lord Darnley became attracted to one of her firm supporters, the Earl of Bothwell. The Earl of Bothwell, with the help of others, carried out a plan that caused an explosion at the Kirk of Field, south of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile that killed Lord Darnley. He was discovered as the assassin, but with the help of his political connections was acquitted soon after. Mary’s actual participation in the planning of the assassination is controversial. It is not known to what degree she was involved or if she even was involved. Soon after the acquittal of the accusations, the Earl of Bothwell and Mary got married. Scotland was shocked and outraged. Mary and the Earl were besieged in Borthwick Castle while on honeymoon. The marriage between Mary and the Earl of Bothwell is also controversial. There are some scholars that believe that Mary was forced into the marriage and repeatedly raped, not a willing and wanting member of the marriage.
Both Mary and the Earl of Bothwell escaped Borthwick Castle safely and raised an army of supporters. They fought a battle against the opposition at Carberry Hill. Mary was defeated and forced to abdicate on her imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle. Mary escaped prison one year later with help from her Catholic supporters. She was defeated again by the Protestant forces, this time at Langside near Glasgow. She tried to flee to France, but was blown ashore in England. There she tried to gain the protection of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
Mary was imprisoned until she could clear herself of the accusations of Lord Darnley’s murder. She remained in prison for some time. After trying to escape she was put under close guard and constant watch. During her years in prison, Mary continually planned her liberation. In early 1587, Catholic supporters of Mary attempted to assassinate Elizabeth I so Mary could take her rightful seat at the throne and institute Catholicism was again. Mary’s association with the plot was the last straw, Elizabeth I signed Mary’s warrant for execution. Mary had been in prison for nineteen years before she was executed on the morning of 8 February 1587. She was beheaded at Fotheringay and later buried at Westminster Abbey by her son, James VI of Scotland and the I of England.