The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

How Prejudiced Is Adland?
January 8, 2010, 5:57 am
Filed under: Comment

As I get older, I appreciate just how much HHCL really taught me.

Whilst I’ve been very fortunate to work with/for a whole host of the more recognised ‘hot’ agencies … I can honestly say no one – not even the ones I’ve started – have come close to the vision, pragmatism and approach of the guys at Howell Henry.

They taught me so much however as I get older, one of the things I think I value the most is their education in appreciating the role and benefit of all communication channels, not just the ‘glam ones’.

Sure the agency was famous for their television and print work – but there was so much more to them than that, of which their pioneering approach to in-house retail marketing, media strategy, PR, DM and technology testifies.

Even now, when I read their “Marketing At A Point Of Change” paper [a paper that led to fundamental change in the way the agency operated, it wasn’t hype] I get goose bumps … and that was 15 years ago!


Which agency has written anything as inspiring in the last decade?

Well it’s certainly not Kevin Roberts and his beloved ‘Love Marks’ is it!

Of course HHCL weren’t the only agency to think retail could be executed in interesting – and brand relevant – ways, just like they weren’t the only agency who believed B2B could mean something other than Boring2Boring … however interms of their openness to solving business/comms problems, they were without equal and I include Crispin, Mother and WK in that statement.

The reason I bring this all up is that I was recently sent a list of infomercials by a friend who snorted in derision.

Now it is very easy to laugh at that form of communication because let’s face it, they’re bloody terrible … however they must get some sort of result because pretty much anywhere you go in the World, if you turn on the television at 3 in the morning, you’re sure to find some ab-busting, skin-tightening cream amongst the copious amounts of religious and gambling tat.

Hmmmmn, hadn’t thought about this before, but it seems that ALL television at 3am is trying to flog some kind of shit to the drunk/gullible/depressed – now that’s an insight that should be sold to the manufacturers of Prozac!

Anyway, back to infomercials …

Well despite all I said about appreciating every channel of communication and influence – the reality is that I just talked about that to make me feel better for what I’m about to show – because rather than celebrate the informercials, I’d like to publically deride them by highlighting 2 of the least enticing and convincing product/strategy/ideas I’ve seen in years.

First let me introduce you to the next generation of deodorant … Aspray.

If you thought Lynx/Axe was about making good girls naughty – wait till you see this – even ugly, sweaty bastards will be beating them off with a shitty stick in no time. Maybe.

You are desperate to order it aren’t you?

Admit it?

Well, once you’ve ordered it, you’ll [possibly] find hot women inviting you out on countless dates … so because you’ll be eating so much at the restaurants before you get to go home to do the beast with 2 backs, you might find the next product of use – especially if you are a fat bastard. Or Howard Hughes.

Ladies and gentlemen … boys and girls … get your credit cards out and stand by to order the ‘Comfort Wipe’.

Seriously, if these fuckers can somehow make enough money to produce and advertise this tat – why the hell are Unilever, P&G, Coke etc, blowing so much on mainstream communication?

If you own any shares in the above companies, I encourage you to go to the next AGM and bring this up – possibly using these informercials to add weight to your claim they’re wasting valuable shareholder profit.

Happy spraying/wiping …

20 Comments so far
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i fucking loved hhcl but as i read more of this post i was sure this was going to be another in a fucking long line of campbell indulgence but then just as you reached the vinegar stroke, you managed to pull out and leave me with a fucking grade a, 7.23 carat piece of gold plated semi humour.

adams paper might be fucking great but that aspray makes tango look like a fucking ad for colgate. if they were around when hhcl was around we might of ended up looking like fucking grey. where do you find this shit? why do you find this shit? why do you find the time to find this shit?

for your first week back this blog has been bordering on good. dont make it a habit but then its not because of why youve said its because of your overfuckingreliance on youtube videos.

interest by association. fucking parasite.

Comment by andy@cynic

and kevin roberts wrote a paper that made a fucking big difference to the agency and industry as well campbell.

before lovemarks saatchis were pretty good. should of called it skid marks.

Comment by andy@cynic

this clip followed that dildo ad you posted..that algoritm thing really works…

Comment by niko

good news: i take more interest in you with every fucking sex crazed, drug referenced, gang culture comment you make.

bad news: so do interpol.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know you think differently Andy, but this is MY blog so if I want to write self indulgent bollocks I can. Well I can if you say yes, ha!

Saying that, you could be right about Aspray … and you’re certainly right about Kevin Roberts/Lovemarks … but as much as it’s my fault for having 2 mental informercials in this post, don’t you think that for all the supposed ‘open minded creative and media’ claims out there, the industry is more closed minded than ever before?

Can you tell I’m desperately trying to eek out a little cred from this post that [in my mind] started off so well and then ended on such a saddo point?

[And no, it’s not the other way round thank you very much, ha!]

Comment by Rob

aspray? interestiung name. could someone please make some informercial about having a shower with water made in the usa? maybe the local waterworks partnering with some shower gel brand there lol. now if i think about the infomercial again and that, as you said, they must and do work…

Comment by peggy

so this has fuck all to do with the post. but i m almost crying because im laughing saying “doc bottoms aspray”… sorry. and good night lol

Comment by peggy

Nice to have you back Peggy … and I LOOOOOOVE the idea of a shower that says …

“Uses genuine [expressed: jen-you-wine] US water. None of that wet French crap for you”


Comment by Rob

thank you. is this my welcome back present? 🙂 your idea is even funnier. none of that wet french crap for you lol.
as an aside, i can only speak about some canadian (not u.s. in particular) friends, but they are pretty aware about where their families came from. i guess they would laugh and love it. because as much as they are fascinated by europe, the history, and architecture etc. and see it as a distant part of their identity, they are proud canadians (in a good way : )…
dont know where that came from. i just had dinner. not much blood in my brain. ha

Comment by peggy

I’ve just tried to wipe my ass with a ruler to get an idea of the comfort wipe and I’ve got a sticky bum, shit on the floor and a stinky ruler.

Comment by DH

Errrrr, thanks Dave – really glad you told us that.

Comment by Rob

david is a filthy bastard. thats why i hired him.

Comment by andy@cynic

It makes me happy that the next generation of agency founders will be those influenced by HHCL’s best work. (Hopefully including me!)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

dont overthink it do it.

Comment by andy@cynic

When it’s time I certainly will do!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Holy batshit, Andy just made a helpful relevant and encouraging comment…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

lapse of concentration.

no it wasnt, do it because it wont do itsfuckingself.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think that is the Andy equivalent of being embarassed… agree entirely mind.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Ass spray from the USA? I’m sold

And I’m confused about the comfort wipe – is it over-arm or under-arm use? And do they sell a left-handed version?

Comment by Simon Kendrick

[…] the ‘revolution’ manifesto that HHCL wrote when they were in their pomp, punk […]

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