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Company: Procter & Gamble Co.
    View Company Scorecard / Contact Company
Brand: Herbal Essences
Ad Title: Concierge/Richard Simmons
Business Category: Personal Products
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Kaplan Thaler
Year: 2001
Target: Mainstream
Ad Spotter: Stephen Mack
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Theme(s)

Camp/Gay Drag

Sissies

Theme Breakdown

AdRespect Score: 
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The latest in a campy series that uses a word-play reference to "organic" that actually suggest "orgasmic," with scores of Broadway-style dancing men (and even Dr. Ruth).

A woman rushes past several sexy bellboys up to a hotel concierge desk and asks if the man behind the counter is the concierge. He corrects her in a deep but extravagant voice, "Nooo, I'm the conci-urge."

Then, in a variation of a tune borrowed from Latin pop star Ricky Martin, the bellboys sing and wash the woman's hair. In between, the "conci-urge" flamboyantly rings the service bell on his desk.

After the climax of the song, silence falls as she walks away, spent.

But then flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons prances into the scene, proclaiming, "All that singing and dancing and you didn't even try the styling line...come here!"

The popularity of this ongoing campaign, as New York Times ad columnist colleague Stuart Elliott: recently explained, "has defied all explanations." The campaign frequently makes allusions to sexual bliss (usually including ecstatic feminine shouts of "Yes! Yes! Yes!"). Elliott goes on to add, "The campaign is constantly castigated throughout the advertising industry. For instance, the Advertising Women of New York gave it a negative "award" as part of an annual ad event called The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, even though Kaplan Thaler is led by women. Adweek, in an article bestowing make-believe Maddy Awards for the last year, named the library commercial the editors' choice for worst of the year. I agree with the Adweek editors, who wrote, 'Make it stop.' "

This particular ad toys with gayness without being specific about it, and despite the use of stereotypes there's no negative response by anyone within the ad.

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