Sunday, February 13, 2011

Retro Cool.

My brother sent me this magazine ad for Pert Plus that he stumbled upon. 

Pert Plus was the shampoo we grew up on. It was way cheaper than buying a full bottle of both shampoo and conditioner, and eliminating the extra step in the shower meant a 2 minute shorter shower which meant we could sleep in later and still get to  school on time. 

It was weird enough to have him tell me this very utilitarian brand had sprung for a full page at in Popular Science, but this was made exponentially weirder by the content of this ad. 

My exhaustive research of glancing at Pert Plus' wiki page tells me that Pert Plus was the first ever 2 in 1 shampoo plus conditioner and was created in 1987 by Proctor and Gamble. Who you may know from their producing every single product underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks.    

Pert apparently hummed along barely noticed by Proctor and Gamble, with Pert keeping a low profile working in a basement office, biding its time while it corrects evidence to prove the government's involvement in the alien abduction of Pert's sister.

Before I address how ridiculous this ad is, I want to give a little more background to explain why Pert Plus decided to break its media silence after 20 years of not giving a shit. Apparently Pert Plus was the "best selling 2 in 1 hair product in 1992" but has been on a steep decline since then, and was sold by Proctor and Gamble in 2006, by which point the product's market share had shrunk to 10 percent of the 2 and 1 product market. I'm not sure how big a market that specific could possibly be, but 10 percent of that market sounds like it was probably not many more people than my immediate family, so I will credit us with keeping Pert out of the Hair-care-product Welfare line. 

This sale presumedly is why Pert is actually advertising. Innovative Brands were the proud papas of Pert Plus from 2006 till 2010 and since i saw exactly zero ads for the product during that period, I assume they spent their entire budget on this July 9th, 2009 publicity stunt in which they obtained the Guinness World Records for both "World's Largest Shower" and the "Most People Showering Simultaneously at a Single Venue" it was apparently held at a Six Flags outside of Chicago, which I think means you had to pay the park the 40 dollar park admission to go take a shower wearing a bathing suit. (The official Six Flags press release says  you also had to get into a line by 8a.m. to be eligible to take a shower. I don't think I want to hang out with anyone whose idea of fun is getting up at dawn to drive to a run down amusement park in the middle of nowhere to take a public shower.)

Pert released this promotional video of the event, and based on the footage and the narrator's delivery, Pert's marketing team is apparently comprised the same team behind every low budget 80's Public Service Announcement.

Seriously, I think the woman delivering the narration on this video took voice acting lessons from the  computer generated voices in Gieco "Made in 15 minutes commercials":

I feel bad telling you this, because I know the kind of mental image it will create, but apparently the previous record holder for "World's Largest Shower" was drunken and smelly, parttime Motley Crue drummer and full time dickchicken Tommy Lee. Yes really. He apparently did some kind of reality show with Chris Ludacris Bridges where they officially broke this Guinness World Record in 2008

Despite being sold in 2010 by Innovative Brands (which sounds like a generic fake business name for a mafia money laundering front) to the even more fake sounding company Helen of Troy Limited,  Helen of Troy apparently decided to continue Pert's new trope of advertising exclusively using cliches from the 1980's. That man and his son in the main photo of the ad at the top of the entry would have been thrown out of 1977 Sears catalogue shoot for being to dorky and having outdated fashions on. 

As I have said before on this blog, if you are making an ad, and you are not Don Drapier, you should not be able to sing the ad slogan you wrote in a Brill Creme style jiggle. If you can, your ad probably sucks.  Pert's slogan on this ad, "Get hair that's all PLUS and no fuss with Pert Plus," can only be spoken aloud in a doo-wop style ditty. Seriously try reading that aloud right now. the Ronettes will instantly appear beside you to sing backup vocals.

Actually, Ronnie Spector makes for an excellent transition back to the visuals of this ad. Just as Ronnie sang a reworked version of her 60's hit "Be My Baby" as the hook in the awesome Eddie Money song, "Take Me Home Tonight." This ad took ad copy that would have been sqauresville in the 1960's and matched it up with photos that would have been rejected as too unhip looking to be the stock photo that came inside of picture frames at K-mart in the 1980's.

This ad wouldn't have been any more outdated looking if they had simply rented the costumes from the fun looking upcoming 1980's set comedy Take Me Home Tonight. (See how I tied that all together?)

In a related story. I really like this poster. I have always loved Topher Grace and thought he was hilarious, he proved he has range in the film  In Good Company. Also movie is from the director of the awesome and underrated film "AdventureLand." 

So maybe this movie will end up being terrible, but I'm excited for it based on the slick poster and the idea of more from the man behind AdventureLand and the man in front of "That 70's Show." When it comes out, before I go see it, I will totally get all gussied up with Pert Plus in my hair and a liesure suit on my body. 

Oh, and fun fact, the 2nd result if you type "Liesure Suit" into google images is a photo from the Henry Ford Museum. Their site points out that though the outfit is "much-maligned" today, "In its heyday during the mid-1970s, the leisure suit was truly a groovy kinda thing."

Now that I am pretty sure I fit references into this article from pop culture from every decade from the 50's to the present, there is only one thing left to say. And that is: Eddie Money, take it away with a unnecessary 80's saxophone solo! 

No comments:

Post a Comment