You are about to witness a milestone in dandruff advertising

DICKIE FANTASTIC
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Indy Lifestyle Online
"What you are about to see," begins Rowena, our hostess, with stern solemnity, "is not only a breakthrough in Head and Shoulders advertising, but a milestone in haircare adverts in general." She pauses to allow this to sink in, and a flurry of expectation sweeps through the audience.

"In a moment," adds Rowena, dramatically, "when you meet our new Head and Shoulders celebrity, you will see what I mean. Lights!"

I never thought I'd find myself getting thrilled at a Head and Shoulders launch breakfast. I had assumed that all the haircare advertising milestones had already been covered (waterfalls, frantic TV studios, fields of daisies, etc), so I can only surmise that the new Head and Shoulders celebrity must be someone astounding: perhaps a bald man - perhaps Ian Hislop. I turn to the others in the screening room. They are almost exclusively attractive young ladies from the hair-journalism industry - and I feel a little bit like the Ugly Person at the Good Looking Convention. I turn to the lady to my right. "What could this milestone be?" I ask. "Well," she replies, "there have been rumours for weeks now in the industry. Some say that it may be... no... let's just wait and see."

The lights go down, and the advert begins. We are, it quickly transpires, in the decidedly non-milestone environment of a frantic TV studio.

"Live TV," begins a woman called Emma Forbes, "can be pretty nerve-racking, and what you don't want is the extra worry of something like dandruff."

She pauses while the camera sweeps majestically across the studio floor. "Because," continues Ms Forbes, "cameras could pick up on dandruff." Ten seconds later, it is all over. "Ah," says the lady to my right. "Now I see..."

"What?" I splutter, confused. "What milestone? What?"

Then we are shown the advert again. This time, I keep my eyes peeled for milestones, but still no luck. When the advert ends, a smattering of applause breaks out. I clap along - not wanting to be exposed as the one person in the room too dumb to identify the milestone - and we are shown the advert a third time. On this occasion, I opt for the lateral approach. What are the people in the background doing? What colour are the walls painted? But still nothing. Then the lights go up, and we are all invited to take breakfast in the next room with Emma Forbes.

I pass Rowena in the corridor, just as someone is saying to her, "Well, it certainly is daring," and take my place at the breakfast table. Emma Forbes is to my right, and I scrutinise her, just in case I pick up on an in-the-flesh milestone.

"Well," says Rowena, "thank you all for coming. Does anyone have any questions for Emma?"

"Well," begins a woman. "I bet you were surprised to be asked to do this advert, what with your hair being shoulder length." "It was a bit of a shock," replies Emma.

I turn to the lady next to me. "You know that milestone," I murmur, casually. "Was it the shoulder-length nature of her hair, rather than the long-hair thing?" She laughs. "Yes!" she says. "What did you think?"

"Oh, nothing," I reply, a little sadly.

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