THE BOOK OF LISTS: 'Urge to herbal' tops the turkeys list

What's the secret of a truly outstanding ad turkey? What is it that

makes its creators go blundering on when the voices in their heads ought

to be screaming: "Stop, stop, stop!"

There's no definitive answer. Sometimes it's just the result of a

client's desire to keep the overheads down and the cost saving up with a

"catch-all" commercial that catches nobody.

This year's Campaign top turkey list throws up -an apposite analogy in

this case - a couple of classic examples of the genre.

First, there's the US female lawyer aroused to orgasmic pleasure at the

prospect of washing her hair in Clairol Herbal Essences. A turn-off for

everybody else. Second, David Ginola, moving on from shampoo to Carte

Noir coffee. A real own-goal.

Ginola proves how easy it is to be deluded into thinking celebs can

sustain an awful creative idea. Peter O'Toole may be a superstar - but

what was he doing looking like a refugee from the Harry Potter movie in

an ad for Zurich Financial Services?

Sometimes it's down to a client of an independent persuasion (to put it

kindly) who won't have agency types telling him what to do.

How else to explain the decision of Graham Kirkham, who founded DFS

Furniture, to accept a commercial using terrible spoof eroticism to flog

sofas. As a Northern lad from working class roots, you'd have thought he

could recognise tripe when he sees it.

- Turkeys of the year, p45.


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