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Big Mac minders shut out kids as football heroes shoot ad

Joe Cole signs pads but youngster struggle to meet stars

12 May, 2005 — By Richard Osley

THESE are the pictures that advertising bosses working for burger giant McDonald’s did not want to see in print – exclusive shots of three Premiership footballers filming an advert for the fast-food chain in the unusual setting of a Camden Town council estate.

A dogged New Journal photographer was told three times by burly security staff to stop taking pictures on the Clarence Way estate as Chelsea star Joe Cole returned to the council blocks he once called home with fellow England internationals

Ashley Cole, the Arsenal defender, and Spurs forward Jermain Defoe. One minder told New Journal staff: “I don’t care who you are or what you want, they don’t want their pictures taken.”

The footballers spent most of Thursday afternoon juggling oranges and apples with their feet as part of a TV advert for McDonald’s in which the multinational firm plans to push a new menu.

The shoot took several hours and, embarrassingly for the top-earning players, residents of the estate watched as doubles were used to perform the trickiest skills with the fruit as cameras bore down on the estate’s central grassy courtyard.

Advertising chiefs had earlier been given permission by Camden Council to film in a deal which allowed a hired security firm to shut off estate paths.

Most of the 80 children who waited over two hours for autographs missed out on meeting their football heroes as the security team escorted the players to their cars.

Defoe and Ashley Cole left the estate after signing only a handful of autographs amid tough security which left parents incensed.

David Marquez, whose son Daniel was one of those who waited, said: “They should remember who pays their wages. The children here today waited ages for them and they have just ignored them. It has really upset me.”

Another upset father added: “There wasn’t a huge crowd. It wouldn’t have taken them that long and they could have signed everyone’s book. It would have probably been just 20 minutes out of their time. The day they don’t get asked for autographs is the day they will moan.”

Earlier, the children – mainly from Holy Trinity Primary and Haverstock secondary – were told by a set manager to “be quiet” while the players completed a speaking section of the advert.

Neither McDonald’s nor any officials who visited the estate were available for official comment.

Joe Cole, who collected his first Premiership medal on Saturday, later emerged from a makeshift changing room in Clarence Hall and, unlike his advert co-stars, agreed to meet the fans.

He signed scores of pads before leaving the estate in a Ferrari driven by his adoptive father, George.

The council’s estates supremo, Labour councillor Raj Chada, refused to comment when asked why McDonald’s had been given permission to shut off certain areas of Clarence Way.

Joe Cole is surrounded by young fans

He had not been told the film crew were due to use the estate as a backdrop.

A council press official said that, of the £900 the production company was charged, £553 will go to the council’s housing department and £276 to its film office to meet admin costs.

The tenants’ association is to get a donation of £70 to spend on balls for the estate’s crazy golf course.

Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe at the Clarence Way Estate

It has also been given vouchers from McDonald’s to be distributed to children and autographs from the three players, which will be auctioned to raise money for other activities on the estate.

Silla Carron, chairwoman of the Residents and Tenants Association who has been widely praised for a clean-up campaign to drive drug addicts of the estate, said: “It is different from when Joe Cole used to live here. There has been such a change. It’s nice for him to see that things have been improved on the estate.”


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