The lightly sparkling fish drink
One of the more relishable moments in AP's history occurred when one of you, our readers, a gent from the company about to launch Red Bull Energy Pop in Britain, sent us a complimentary crate of the fizzy spinach-water, leading to the issue being written in a little under eight minutes, leaving us plenty of time to redecorate the office and build a greenhouse before the tenth minute arrived.
Easily manipulable and corrupt as only AP could be, we took to mentioning Red Bull at every opportunity, partly to alert you, our readers, to its imminent release, but mostly to prod our new friend into sending us another batch.
Interestingly, when Red Bull finally appeared in the shops, it was condemned in the press for its energy-replenishing content. AP43 saw Do The Write Thing regular Craig Hesmondhalgh of Blackpool submit a Sunday Times article warning parents everywhere of Red Bull because (a) it contained sugar and caffeine, and (b) some idiot fell down after drinking nine bottles in a row. Today, of course, you can buy Red Bull in corner shops all over the country.
By the time of Craig's letter, however, we'd moved on to F-Max. A novelty health drink from small West Country firm Aquavite, its fishy goodness and pungent, orange appearance won the approval of the mighty beings after Julia, Aquavite's PR bod, was put in touch with AP by our ever-humorous Tony The Ad Bloke and posted us a sample case. We'd have loved to have had the F-Max ad in the mag, but Aquavite had their own ideas about the "target audience" and weren't convinced a computer games mag no one cared about in the first place was the best "platform."
Fast forward to AP60. Now rewind to AP59. It's so hard to accurately control these things, isn't it? Perhaps you ought to have gone for the frame-advance model. For the first time ever, the outside back cover ad could not be sold. Traditionally the most expensive ad of the mag, none of the severely whittled Amiga games publishers could be bothered splashing out the extra thousands* on it, leaving new Ed Tim Norris in a predicament. Common wisdom* held that an Amiga Format House Ad would fill the space neatly, but what's that all about, eh?
Tim's brainwave was for Sue to dig out the long-forgotten ad film Julia had originally sent Tony The Ad Bloke for a page in Mountain Biking UK, and to use that instead. Few enough people had heard of the small company for Tim to convincingly pass it off as an AP joke, while at the same time deriving a secret pleasure from giving Aquavite (fairly) expensive free publicity. There was even a popular compo to win one of five cans of the healthful taste bonanza that had escaped office glugging in the back of the fridge. (The ad actually ran for four months before Simon The Publisher rumbled the ruse.)
Today, Aquavite continue to make F-Max, the lightly sparkling fish drink, for health spas and gym clubs across Europe. They're almost unknown in Britain, although still have their base in Somerset. Their address was lost in the razing of the AP Offices, although we suspect that gentleman editor Jonathan Davies, the founder fan among the mighty beings, has a crate or two stashed at home. He's certainly always in the peak of condition, and his skin has that barely perceptible orange sheen that marks a heavy F-Max drinker.