Diary: TBWA Paris takes 'dog breath' as far as only the French will allow

When Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO tried to convey the idea of "dog breath" for Wrigley's Xcite, UK viewers reached for the sick bucket: the ad showing a dog emerging from a man's mouth was the most complained about British TV ad of all time. Yet, when the same creative idea is attempted in France, it's sophisticated, cool and has a certain je ne sais quoi.

TBWA\Paris has taken the unorthodox approach of showing people snogging animals to convey the image of "dog breath" for the National Day for Smoking Prevention in France on 31 May.

In one, a stunning looking mademoiselle is indulging in a bit of tonsil hockey with an ecstatic-looking goat who looks like the cat who not only got the cream but who swallowed the entire dairy. A beautiful Afghan hound is the foxy star of the second ad who enjoys a tongue sarnie with a blonde hunk.

Makes a change from revolting fatty gunk being squeezed out of a fag.

But would the ads inspire millions of dog-lovers in the UK to pick up the phone and whine to the Advertising Standards Authority?

Somewhat surprisingly, Christopher Graham, the ASA director- general, doesn't think the ads would land anyone in trouble if they were to run in the UK. Indeed, he ventures to suggest that the creative executions aren't even particularly original.

"Years ago, when I used to read The Eagle," Graham reminisces, "it often ran articles about not smoking. Of course, this was the 50s and nobody talked about 'snogging' in those days. But it was often suggested that kissing a smoker was like kissing an ashtray."

It remains to be seen if the ads can achieve the damn near impossible: getting hardcore smokers to quit their beloved Gitanes, as well as their penchant for a spot of harmless bestiality.


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