Editor's Comment: Can Barry Scott sell condoms?
A view from Gareth Jones

Editor's Comment: Can Barry Scott sell condoms?

Barry Scott could sell anything. Just by cleaning the odd penny and screeching 'Bang and the dirt is gone' like a deranged handyman, he's helped Cillit Bang achieve cult status.

But could this no-nonsense advertising strategy work for other products? Can we imagine the effusive Barry standing in someone's bedroom eulogising the benefits of Durex? If nothing else, it would certainly give Cillit Bang's housewife testimonials - 'I use it all over the house' and 'It's great on worktops' - a humorous lease of life.

This is an issue Cillit Bang's owner, Reckitt Benckiser, will have to wrestle with should its offer to buy condom-maker SSL get the go-ahead. Over the years, Reckitt Benckiser has ensured the success of its so-called power brands, which include Air Wick, Harpic and Veet, by sticking to no-frills TV ads that clearly demonstrate the benefits of each product and explain why it is better than its rivals.

Durex has adopted a more entertainment-based strategy, which has included risque viral ads, and, if reports are to be believed, a range of condoms soon to be launched in partnership with The X-Factor runners-up JLS.

The challenge of reappraising Durex's strategy will fall to Reckitt Benckiser's newly promoted global category director, Phil Thomas. He is a savvy marketer who will recognise the uniqueness of Durex within the Reckitt Benckiser stable. However, Thomas and his brass-tacks ads have also been credited with helping the company achieve strong second-quarter financial results, putting it on track to meet its full-year targets.

With such a healthy bottom line to protect, Thomas may find it hard to break from his tried-and-tested formula. So don't be too surprised if the next Durex ad opens with the immortal line 'Hi, I'm Barry Scott'.