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In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. Larry Barker, Joint Creative Director, WCRS, looks at one ad featuring clever use of comedy - and another which fails to get the best out of two clever comedians

hewlett packard

Saatchi and


This is the shining light in what is a fairly mixed campaign. It's a very simple demonstration of the printing quality of the Hewlett- Packard DeskJet 690C.

The ad is set in a barber's shop, where a barber and a manicurist are attending to a dozing customer. The manicurist sneezes loudly, startling the barber, who accidentally shaves a bald stripe up the back of the customer's head. But the barber's quick-thinking son saves the day. He runs upstairs, prints off an image of a full head of hair from a computer, and glues it over the mirror they use in barbers' shops to show you the back of your head. The barber then flashes up the mirror, and the customer is none the wiser about the mishap. I wouldn't be surprised if it was directed by the American director Joe Sedelmaier; it has that look about it.

It's a beautifully observed piece of film, based on our suspicion that, whenever we get a haircut and they quickly flash the mirror up at the back, we aren't really meant to have a closer look. It's a situation we all dread slightly - especially men, who hate going to get their hair cut - and so you understand the tension. It's also very nice that, in what looks like a Fifties hairdresser's shop, a piece of Nineties' technology comes to the rescue.

honda crv


Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes turn up at a beach in a Honda CRV, which the voice-over tells you is full of lovely gear - like a table, and a fridge. It also has a shower in the back, which is a funny thing to be talking about for a start.

It's all silent, and they goof around a bit before spotting a girl having a shower on the beach. They turn the tap off on the shower, so that the girl is forced to use their shower, and they ogle as she does so. When she's finished, she gets her revenge by sending over an old fat bloke to use their shower too, and Clunes and Morrissey run away.

Plot-wise, it's like a bad Laurel and Hardy film - and it's directed very badly. They've ignored the character of the car to rely instead on the reflected glory of the two comedians to try and make it famous. It's a complicated plot about one small feature of the car - the shower - which I don't think they should be selling it on.

As for the Men Behaving Badly boys, they've resisted doing any advertising work at all until now, and now they've gone and done a rotten ad. The story is they were holding out for the right script, but they've chosen a terrible one. All they get to do is make faces. What's funny about this pair is the things they say, but here they don't get to say anything. If you're going to use personalities, use them well; this is a waste of Morrissey and Clunes, and a waste of money.

Scott Hughes