The marketing world has reacted with dismay to today’s news that every possible variation on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has now been produced and is on sale somewhere in the UK. The poster, produced during the second World War – though never used – was virtually forgotten before it began to re-appear as a framed print in interior decorating magazines around 2007. It seemed to catch the spirit of the times, and has since joined the likes of “Frankie says [blank]”, “Love is… [blank]”, “[blank] on board” and “[blank]s do it [blank]” in the popular unconscious of the Great British Public.
“We don’t know quite why it took off the way it has,” a source told us. “Despite a brief flurry of ‘Dig For Victory’ memorabilia in 1999, none of the other WW2 posters have been popular. No-one seems to want Careless Talk Costs Lives on their wall, and we’ve a whole warehouse full of rotting Make Do and Mend T-shirts we can’t shift.”
But take off it has; Gary Barlow’s new volume of memoirs is called Keep Calm and Gary On, Pinewood Studios are to make a new Carry On film, set during the war, Carry On Keep Calm and Carry On, and the new retrospective from enfant terrible-cum-elder statesman of the Brit Art scene, Damien Hirst, is entitled Keep Calm and Fuck Off.
“Things seem bleak now” our source told us, “But it’s only a matter of time before the next mildly amusing catchphrase which we can sell over and over comes along. Until then we’ll just have to keep… um, calm and… shit.”