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Monday, 5 September 2011

God's holy trousers! Your brilliant wit can cause real problems. I think it cost me a client

The other day John Walsh let fly a blast of condemnation in The Independent about the latest Diesel campaign, which he headed A dose of something unlovely.

Here's what he said:

Do you ever see an advertisement that really turns your head? I recently did, and not in a good way. I nearly crashed the motor while driving past a bus-stop hoarding that featured the new fragrance from Diesel.

It showed a tempestuous-looking naked woman clutching to herself a giant, heart-shaped bottle of pink perfume. It was called Loverdose.

Who in the name of God's holy trousers thought that a good name for a perfume? What marketing department brainstorm produced that misbegotten collection of syllables? But wait, here are the product notes: "Loverdose ... represents a woman who is sexy, playful and irresistible. She receives an overdose of love from those around her, but she wants more. She desires pleasure, adrenaline and passion."

Oh I get it, it's an overdose of love, do you see? Although, when you see the word, you don't pronounce it "Loaver-dose" do you? You'd say "Love-a-dose" as in the phrase, "Would you love a dose of the clap?" The marketing people go on to tell us that the Loverdose bottle "represents a beautiful but deadly weapon of seduction". I think I'll pass, thanks.

Now John is not a stupid man, but it has clearly escaped his attention that Diesel advertising, which has been running for a good ten years, takes the piss out of the kind of ludicrous claims many ads make.

All this was lost on him. He is not a likely Diesel customer.

It reminded me of one of my own many stupid mistakes. Years ago I went to see the boss of a new firm called Telephone Warehouse. I was met at reception by a man whose face I couldn't quite place.

Then I realised it was Ernest Saunders, former marketing head of Guinness, and a notorious name in his day. He was advising the new company. He introduced himself, adding, "I've been reading your book. Very interesting."

I was flattered; but I've never been able to handle compliments and often pass them off with a joke. So I replied, "Why, can't you sleep?"

This shaft of wit was lost on Mr. Saunders, and I suspect I blew my chances with that firm there and then.

By the way, here's the Diesel TV spot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UyWfun8HY0&NR=1

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