TELEVISION / York on Ads: Don't tell me what it is - I'll buy it anyway: No 45: H&M Impulse

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
ANDY WARHOL used to do Andy things. Here comes Andy Ad. It's like A Chorus Line, like Fame: a line-up of New York hopefuls pitching for me - self-expression and redemption on film.

The clapperboard introduces in turn a bespectacled Woody Allen type who says he wants to be recognised; a drag queen who asks if he should present as a man or a woman; a Carlos Santana type who sings and dances; a Californian airhead girl who wants to be on 'cos I'm me'; an Eskimo-featured Karate kid and a Monroe look-alike.

It's a set of absolute New York cliches but I've never seen it in British television advertising before. It makes for a most original commercial, and it makes a very sharp point for H&M Impulse, namely that 'you'll never get a second chance to make a first impression'.

Research - the kind they do to check out American news-show presenterines - does indeed suggest that people register a series of characteristics very fast. On these cues depends whether someone is retained for further attention as attractive and high-status, or wiped as a hideous loser.

How H&M Impulse tips the balance in these sensitive situations is rather less clear. I don't know what it actually is. Is it the body spray that used to be advertised by soppy men rushing after suburban girls with bunches of flowers? Is it a long-lasting shoe-shine? A breath freshener? I think we should be told.

Personal products - which seems to be the most likely category - usually produces the most formulaic global ads tied either to a simple narrative which works in igloos and mud huts or to high-science animation featuring hair roots or kindly liposomes. It looks like somebody's been given his head here. Peter York

Videos supplied by Tellex Commercials.

(Photographs omitted)