Icons of our Times

NAME: The Elitist.

OR: The imaginary character targeted by virtually every advertisement made in Hong Kong. He's part businessman, part poet, all elitist.

NATIONALITY: Cosmopolitan.

AGE: He looks young for it.

MONEY: Legendary. His watch is a diamond-encrusted chunk of platinum, his car the mechanical equivalent of a thoroughbred and his brandy definitely more XO than OXO. And his women? Well, perhaps we'd better go into that later.

BRIEF HISTORY: Years ago, advertisers realised there was money to be made out of incredibly expensive watches with fancy European names, incredibly expensive cognacs with fancy French names and incredibly expensive cars with fancy Latin names. The only problem was identifying the sucker who was going to buy them. The solution: invent one. And so The Elitist was born.

CHARACTER TRAITS: The Elitist demands the best of the best from life, or so we are told by the ads. Perhaps the classic defining advert came out recently. Its catchphrase was something like: 'In business affairs as in love affairs, I demand perfection.' That ad came after years of prototypes in which advertisers informed Mr Elitist that he had reached the top and therefore deserved the best.

NATURAL HABITAT: His vast, minimalistic apartment; his yacht; the golf course.

SPORTS: Golf, polo.

HOBBIES: Collecting hi-fi equipment but being cut off by the advertiser before he can even start listening to it, collecting porcelain, ships in bottles, designer hangovers.

SEXUAL PREFERENCE: Despite having a stable of pouting models who are allowed to do everything but share his brandy, The Elitist demonstrates his Everyman nature by showing more affection for his car or hi-fi than for his life partner.

NO ELITIST IS COMPLETE WITHOUT: A knowing smirk as he puts one over on business competitors (the bird's nest soup deal, the racehorse deal, etc).

FANS SAY: 'He's so XO!' CRITICS SAY: 'Why does every television advert on the English channels in Hong Kong either try and sell me something elitist I can't afford, or something dumb I don't want?' STRENGTHS: Simple. He is the best in the world at everything. When he's in France he teaches the locals about brandy, and even ducks into the kitchen to teach them how to cook.

WEAKNESSES: The advertising agency often screws the whole thing up by putting an ageing hippy in charge of the creative process. Thus, our minimalist chuppy ends up listening to Procol Harum.