FORGET Piers Morgan. Forget endless rolling news about Brexit. In fact, forget all of the Saturday night talent shows, vapid shopping channels and Love Island. The one thing that really, really annoys me on TV are adverts that use rubbish remakes of hit songs I grew up with.
So far, I’ve counted Everybody Wants to Rule The World, The Power of Love and Somewhere Only We Know ruined by slowed-down, breathy-voiced cover versions of the kind popularised by the John Lewis festive ads, but the one that’s really got my goat is the Lloyds ad with all the horses running down the beach. Not because it has over-indulgent amounts of equine-themed feelgood factor, but because it takes Olive’s excellent 1997 dance hit You’re Not Alone, and ruins it. A part of my formative years – and a UK number one, don’t forget – utterly trashed because someone thought a commercially-minded makeover was a cracking idea.
So it goes with the Ford Puma. For the first time in 18 years you’ll be able to buy a brand-new car bearing that name from showrooms across the North West, but don’t for a moment think it’s going to be a small, two-door coupe with various bits borrowed from the Fiesta. Not a chance, because the new Ford Puma is a five-door crossover.
Stuart Rowley, Ford’s top man in Europe, reckons we’ll love it. “Innovatively engineered and seductively styled, we think Puma is going to really resonate with compact-car customers in Europe,” he told car nuts when it was first announced. “If you want a car that can turn heads on Friday night, and swallow your flat-pack furniture with ease on Saturday afternoon, then you’ve found it.”
He’s bang on, of course. If the number of people buying Nissan Jukes is anything to go by, people are going to love it, and unlike its 1997 namesake the new car really will laugh in the face of a trip to IKEA. Chances are it isn’t going to suffer from crusty rear arches or steering wheels with disintegrating trim five years down the line, either – but the telling thing is that Ford’s own press release on the new Puma made precisely zero references to the original.
I’ve no doubt that it will be fun to drive, effortlessly practical and – thanks to its hybrid tech – kind to the environment, but couldn’t they have picked another name? To me, and a lot of other people who really love cars, the Puma is all about zingy, Yamaha-tuned engines, beautifully balanced suspension and cramming your mates into some tiny back seats. It had styling by the same chap who did the Aston Martin DB7, but it was buttons to buy, run and insure. It was, like the song from the Lloyds ad, a timeless classic.
Only now it’s been given the breathy-voiced cover treatment. I’m sure the new car will be a fantastic Ford, but a Puma? I’ll stick with the original, thanks.