The Festival of British Advertising has just released the results of a poll about the nation’s favourite television ads. The 1970s Smash Martians are still top of the heap over 40 years on. There are two adverts running currently that I hope never make the cut, because a/ they’re rubbish, and b/ the products are simply ridiculous or misleading.

Let’s turn my attention to a new product from Airwick. According to the website, ‘The time has come to change the way we face embarrassing bathroom odors.’ Hence the newly released product V.I.Poo. No, I didn’t make that up.


The ad features an overdressed actress in an apparent state of requiring to drop the kids off at the pool. Before she does this, she sprays a liberal amount of V.I.Poo and its essential oils into the bowl. This appears to form a layer on top of the water that traps nasty smells in the bowl and leaves your toilet ‘smelling better than it did before you used it.’ Well, that only works if you don’t lay a monkey’s arm, and don’t fart mid-motion, doesn’t it?

Things take a distinctly surreal turn when she exits the bathroom with a beatific smile on her face. A man who looks like a film director (aha, hence the actressy look) enters straight after she leaves, pauses on the threshold, and wafts air towards his nose, inhales deeply, and smiles. What’s that all about? It’s normal for a bloke to smell a toilet after a woman has used it? The GOP should stop fretting about transgender bathrooms and start worrying about pervy film directors.

Now to poo of a different odour, to wit shampoo. In this case the ‘sham’ bit is highly appropriate. The brand Herbal Essences has just released a new range of shampoos. Nothing much of a story there, the beauty and grooming industry is always looking for a new way to fleece the gullible. Look at five blade razors if you doubt me. Why not have just one blade that does the job properly?

Herbal Essences has really turned up the blarney to 11. The new range is marketed as detox for your hair.

I’ll not bore you again with my views on detox in general, because you already know them. But the whole concept of detoxing your hair sounds like babbling from the sickbed. Hair is dead you idiots! Keratin is not living and doesn’t need detoxing!

It’s worth goggling this piffle, because it witters on about the detoxifying properties of mint oil. Of course there’s no scientific support for this. There’s also some splendid technobabble from Jo Vaughan, haircare brand manager at P&G, the manufacturer. This includes a statement about how important it is to keep hair ‘refreshed.’ Eh? What did you just say?

One born every minute, they say. I think that’s a pretty severe underestimate.