July 28, 2006

Lock up your grandmothers. Yes! It’s Barry Scott!

When JWT lost the Reckitt Benckiser account to Euro RSCG earlier this month, it was losing more than its £830m global business - it lost an instant icon. Never mind long-established brands like Harpic, Clearasil, Mr Sheen, Nurofen and Dettol. The big loss was Cillit Bang.
The first Cillit Bang ad burst onto British television in 2004. Since then, there have been about a dozen more.
There is something deeply odd, slightly disturbing and outrageously cheesy about these ads. They seem to be a cross between the worst kind of QVC-type feature and the stripped-bare type of product demo that belongs in a past decade. But I can’t help but love them, in a Let’s Befriend The Ugly Little Ginger Kid Cos He’s Always Being Picked On kind of way.
The lynchpin is the fictional presenter Barry Scott. In the first ad, he was quietly enthusiastic, resplendent amongst the garish brand colouring, unfazed by the ridiculous product name. Here was a magic product that could strip a penny (seemingly wedged in a squatter’s toilet for twenty years) of all its grime in two seconds! Barry Scott saved my life!
And now we get to the latest ad, probably the last one made by JWT. The quiet enthusiasm has given way to mania (Barry Scott – Yes – Barry Scott! In subsequent ads Yes It’s Me – Barry Scott! And you can suck my cock!), and he’s spreading his love to include some equally insane-looking harridan women who look as potentially shouty as he is.
Needless to say, Mr Scott and his grime-busting fanny magnet have become a cult. See the dozens of amateur spoofs on YouTube (the tip of the iceberg). My personal favourite is this sweet musical number.

I just hope that Euro have the balls to continue to develop this superb creature, without letting it fade like too many American sitcoms. Or better still, bite the bullet and shove Barry down the plughole, to gurgle away forever as a fond memory.

Tags: FMCG, Spoof, TV ads, Viral

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