Peter York on Ads: Celebrity crimper goes postal

Tresemmé

Now, for rank amateurs, the stuff the professionals use. What do they use? Smart restaurants, for example. Watch their deliveries. Huge polythene vats of budget cooking oil made from whale and palm. Barrels of tomato glop or mayonnaise glop.

Now, for rank amateurs, the stuff the professionals use. What do they use? Smart restaurants, for example. Watch their deliveries. Huge polythene vats of budget cooking oil made from whale and palm. Barrels of tomato glop or mayonnaise glop.

And what do hairdressers use? Hairdressing is one of the great minimum-wage, no-GCSE sectors. Low barriers to entry and very silly shop names, epically silly. Channel 4's The Salon made hairdressing look miles better capitalised, better decorated and more polymorphously pervy than it really is. So do you really think hairdressers use the best stuff? The most industrially violent for sure, the fastest-acting, possibly. The tool-kit for everything you shouldn't be trying at home, certainly. But the best?

The one-upping idea of getting the hairdressing equivalent of Gordon Ramsay's own stove still has its appeal though, because a new-to-me-anyway brand called Tresemmé is making it the bedrock of its launch-positioning. They've signed up Ricardo from The Salon to represent The Trade, which doesn't want you buying Tresemmé because it used to be a Trade Secret. They've set up a store scrap. It's marvellous and unpleasant. If I were the National Hairdressers' Federation I'd be getting the members to throw Tresemmé out of salons. Because of Ricardo, who comes across as the Russ Meyer's hairdresser from hell.

Let me fill you in on Ricardo. He has long, straightened hair like the girlies do now, an androgynous body, hipster flares with a big belt and a green Bridget Riley-ish top. Plus a Killer Queen smile and an accent somewhere between Pontypridd and Ponte Vecchio. So when he sees Mrs Woman taking Tresemmé things off the shelf he's enraged. "Excuse me, that's not for yew," he lisps. And then they start fighting. There and then, in a supermarket, there's a screaming hairdresser fighting a woman. It gets nasty; he practically wrestles her to the floor. And he wins.

It's one of the oddest bits of gender politics. Then he clears the shelves and walks off, smiling. "Tresemmé's Professional but Affordable in Asda" is the strapline. "It's our secret," sings the choir of Saturday staff on £3 per hour plus tips.

Here once again is an ancient advertising cliché - the professionals don't want you to buy our product - brought to life by a moment of inspired weirdness.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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