Every person in the Envirofone advert, ranked from worst to best
June 2009 saw the most important advertisement of our generation burst onto the scene.
With just one word (WONGA!), one man became embedded into a tiny British subculture that we never knew existed. But he wasn't alone. He was joined by a horde of fellow mobile-for-money enthusiasts that did their utmost to get the message of phone recycling out into the public domain.
Some, as we're about to see, were better than others, but they all undeniably had a profound effect on our lives.
With that in mind, let's rank every person from worst to best.
10. Laptop Girl
Easily the least essential member of the Envirofone advert cast, this woman holds a laptop with the website URL visibly on screen and tells you to "Log onto envirofone.com". Thanks for that, wasn't quite sure how I'd access the website, which has been captioned clearly at the bottom of the screen throughout the entire advert so far and will remain there until it finishes at precisely thirty seconds in duration. Where is the rest of her body? There's no torso beneath the laptop. She is simply a floating head with arms. Why do we need her? Why do we, as a society, need the concept of going to a website thoroughly spelled out to us by a woman with an aggressive quiff and no lower half of her body? Go away. Get out of my sight. You are not worthy to share the stage with such cultural heavyweights as "Soooo last year" and "Wonga".
9. Handsome Teen, Probably From Skins
He's just a bit smug, isn't he? "Got an old mobile?", he asks, then produces a mobile for viewers that aren't quite sure what a phone looks like. His hair is perfectly coiffed, his sleeves are rolled up because he's got a job to do. It's all a bit too preachy and Skins second generation. Even 2009 was a bit late for the long-sleeved top under a short-sleeved one to still be knocking around. His second appearance in the advert tells us to "follow three simple steps", this time without the added phone prop, and then he's gone. We never hear from this handsome teen again. Where is he now? Does he still carry props for conviction? Is he in jail now for crimes committed against fashion? Does his hair still need a trim?
8. Relaxed Teen With Chronic Hair Extensions
She bursts onto the scene with her first input "£100!" and immediately establishes herself as an excitable yet relaxed teen, made clear by the presence of a hoodie. She's insufferably fake, evident from that tiny snippet alone, but things get worse. She pops back up to tell us "...and it helps the environment" as she stares at the blatant green screen globe beside her. Terrific, I can make some money AND help the environment, which seems to be approved by a cool teenage girl in a bright pink hoodie with terrible hair extensions. If she thinks it's cool, then by proxy, I would be very cool to avail of this particular scheme. Sorry, this role was miscast. That girl is the human embodiment of a non-violent ASBO.
7. Bubbly Welsh Girl
"Ancient!" she declares in the thickest Welsh accent heard on television since Gavin & Stacey ended, whilst staring disapprovingly at a mobile phone that appears to have been used to book hair appointments every six weeks which conveniently landed on the day before this advertisement was filmed. She also refers to money as "dosh" and therefore deserves to be put down. Her third appearance in the advert is vital, as she shows us how to put a mobile phone into an envelope. This is a crucial moment, but did the role absolutely have to go to her? Was there nobody else, perhaps even a very advanced Furby that could've filled this position? "Send them your old mobile phone in a freepost envelope" would've been an enchanting turn of phrase in Furbish. This lady was not worthy of three appearances in this monumental advert.
6. Woman Who Calls Money "Readies"
"Readies" is a cool term to refer to a large quantity of Ready Brek boxes, but it is a downright unacceptable way to refer to money. Not now, not in 2009 and not ever. This girl is insufferable. Her beach waves are annoying, as is her overly flirtatious level of eye contact. We get it, you're paid money in exchange for your phone. Do not condescend me with a perfectly folded £10 note and then call it something colloquial like "readies". She appears again during the advert, this time wielding a cheque to really hammer home the point that you will be getting money for your old phone, although clarifying that it will actually be a cheque as opposed to her earlier insinuation that it would be a £10 note, thereby proving that she did not deserve any "readies" for her involvement in this advertisement.
5. Laughing Yet Relatable Larry
Unable to deliver a line without spluttering over it, Laughing Yet Relatable Larry is very clearly the comic relief guy. He's just so flabbergasted by this wonderful offer, his voice cannot take it seriously. "Do you want some money for it?", he jokingly asks, as if it's rhetorical despite the question subsequently being answered in excruciating detail. Larry later returns to make a gross nasal sound as he's thoroughly tickled by the concept of "Maybe even £150" being on offer in exchange for your useless old phone. Never mind whether the phone has to still work or be under a certain amount of years old to meet the criteria, all Larry wants to do is let you know that MONEY IS INVOLVED, dirty, sexy, hilarious money. He's just like you and I, a consumer interested in a truly remarkable deal.
4. Counting Girl
Disclaimer: I was going to call her 'Counting Hoes' but ultimately felt it would be disrespectful and tricky to defend when my only logic was that I needed something to rhyme with Counting Crows. Anyway, despite the lazy stereotyping of Asians being good at maths, this girl does a decent, albeit redundant job. Handsome Teen (Probably From Skins) tees things up perfectly by letting us know that there's three simple steps involved in the process. But we need a bookmark, don't we? Enter Counting Girl, who expertly counts to three as well as giving us the visuals with her hands. It's an wholly unnecessary job but she does it with minimal intrusion into the nation's psyche. She is cursed amongst a sea of melts. #JusticeForCountingGirl.
3. The Hairy Biker
He gets one appearance and one word to make his mark and boy does he go for it. "Cool", a word he somehow manages to stretch into two syllables rings out and with that, concerns about this process being uncool are swiftly hushed. The arduous process has been explained thanks to his costars, and now we are assured that everything is incredibly trendy, groovy, far out and cool. The Hairy Biker is a true scene stealer, capturing our hearts and minds with his appearance more so than his words. Look at his shirt. It's got a fire-breathing dragon on it, his beard extends to an unspecified length and his fingernails are far longer than is socially acceptable. Indeed, this man truly is the epitome of "cool". Give him a blank cheque because he has earned it.
2. "Sooo Last Year" Guy
The award for the most flirtatious delivery of the words "So last year" go to this man and this man alone. Everything is fascinating. His nonspecific tattoo, his hair, the little gap in between his teeth, the tuft of red fluff on his chest. It's a ride from start to finish. He appears once but has a profound effect on the outcome of the whole advert. He causes you to fret, wondering if your current mobile phone could indeed be considered as "Sooo last year". That's his only input, he does not return. He doesn't need to. The seed has been planted. You're pathetic, your phone is embarrassingly old and even this flirtatious fellow wouldn't dare strike up a conversation with you as a result. You're a loser. We all talk about it behind your back. Using a phone from 2008 in the year 2009? Get a life. Saddo.
Obviously it was always going to be Wonga in first place. Get out of the country and stop wasting my time if you're going to put forward a legitimate case for any of the other Envirofone advert participants to take the top spot. Wonga man had no business going that hard in an advert about recycling mobile phones, but he did that. He did that for all of us. One appearance would've been enough, it was sufficient, but Wonga returns for an encore. "£50" he tells us, but we all know he's worth much more than that. Envirofone wouldn't be the household name it is today without Wonga. He gave 110% percent and for that, the nation is eternally grateful. He stole the show. Just six seconds into the advertisement, it was game over. He'd won the lot. If there's anything we can learn from this exceptional piece of advertising, it's that we should all be the Wonga we wish to see in the world.
Images via YouTube