Those of us who like to believe that the word guv is legitimate, contemporary English, not some archaic curiosity from Oliver Twist, will be chuffed about this British Airways campaign. The carrier’s new U.S. billboards, by M&C Saatchi, entice New Yorkers to London with the promise of an expanded vocabulary to go with their Beefeater mugs and plastic Big Bens. Each ad teaches you a different British-ism, so after studying up and spending a few hundred quid on a flight, you could end up strolling around Leicester Square, using (or misusing) terms like kip, naff, barmy and butty. (You can practice on BA’s Web site by using the words in a sentence and e-mailing them to friends, but what kind of ninny goes in for that rubbish?) The ads are location-specific, too—one on the West Side Highway agrees with drivers that flipping heck, this traffic is bonkers. Cockney slang doesn’t show up often in American advertising, but cor blimey, guv, it’s kind of fun when it does.
—Posted by Tim Nudd