Welcome to our blog, where we comment on a wide variety of topics. Some of them relate to our line of work. Others are more far ranging.
By Jim Rhodes
(MALE EMCEE) Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first annual International Hair Care Copywriter Awards.
(FEMALE EMCEE) These awards, popularly known as the Harry Careys, recognize those unsung heroes who slave to develop creative labels on those miniature shampoo and conditioner containers you find in hotel bathrooms. We honor these masters of purple prose for their skill, perseverance and creativity in presenting their products’ value proposition knowing full well their copywriting masterpieces will be presented in highly condensed 2-point Arial light typeface that is totally unreadable by the human eye.
(MALE EMCEE) The excitement is building.
(FEMALE EMCEE) Yes it is.
(MALE EMCEE) We’re especially excited to welcome our special guest to help us present this year’s Harry Carey awards. He needs no introduction. You’ve watched him on his popular Hair Channel TV show, Where’s the Doc?. You’ve seen him on Oprah. You’ve read his book, Adventures in Hair Care. We’re talking about the world-famous shampoo ingredient hunter. Put your hands together and help me welcome that globe-trotting rock star of hair care – Doctor Alfredo J. Pompadour!
(SFX: Theme music from Rocky)
(At this point the audience spontaneously begins clapping and chanting in unison, “Here Comes the Doc. Here Comes the Doc,” as Doctor Pompadour bounds onto the stage wearing rumpled khaki shorts and shirt unbuttoned almost to his navel, jungle boots and a pith helmet. Female voices are heard to shriek in delight as he doffs his pith helmet revealing a perfectly coifed headful of wavy yellow hair bearing an uncanny resemblance to that of a certain well-known national political figure currently in residence in Washington, D.C.}
(FEMALE EMCEE) Welcome to the Harry Careys, Doc. It looks like you’ve been busy. Where have you been, and what do you have in your bag?
(The Doctor opens his canvas rucksack and holds up samples. As he speaks the stage lights dim and the jumbo screen behind him shows video clips of Doctor Pompadour in exotic settings gathering herbs, fruit samples, seaweed and bark from trees.)
(DOCTOR) Vanilla bean oil from Tahiti, soymilk proteins from Uzbekistan, sea kelp from Tasmania, coconut milk from the Maldives, tangerine extract from Brazil, water lilies from Zimbabwe and sumac bark from Finland. And tomorrow I’m flying to Okinawa for samples of a very promising strain of silk amino proteins.
(MALE EMCEE) So here’s the big moment we’ve all been waiting for. I have the winning entries here in this secure lockbox. First, we’ll read the top three winning entries, and then we will reveal the names of the winning copywriters.
(He unlocks the box with a flourish, opens it and hands his partner a small vial of shampoo with a large magnifying glass. She holds them up to the light and squints through the glass to read the label.)
(FEMALE EMCEE) Hold on, let me get this thing into focus. OK, here’s the Third Place winning copy: “Fragrance notes of emerging citron are balanced by calming Vitiver in this cleansing shampoo. A blend of organic Aloe, provitamin B5 and vitamin E leave hair nourished and healthy.”
(MALE EMCEE) The judges liked the vivid imagery but noted that it appeared to have been written by someone whose native language is not English.
(FEMALE EMCEE) Now for Second Place: “Enjoy PAYA made with healthful ingredients including organic papaya and all-natural sweet orange. Eco-friendly products for a better today and tomorrow.”
(MALE EMCEE) The judges really liked the environmental message in this one.
(FEMALE EMCEE) And now … Are you ready for the Big Winner?
(SFX: Drum roll)
Here it is. “Go native with the lush lather and moisturizing goodness of Hawaiian Awapui. Brightens all hair types by removing dulling buildup. Color safe.”
(MALE EMCEE, opens envelope and hands it to the Doctor). And now we’ll reveal the winners of the Harry Carey Awards. Would you please do the honors?
(SFX: Drum roll)
(DOCTOR). With pleasure. The winners of all three are the Dynamic Duo of Shampoo Sample-Size copywriting, the Moon Sisters.
(Applause. Two young women come to the stage arm-in-arm sporting identical mullet haircuts shaved close above their ears.)
(MOON SISTERS, to Doctor Pompadour). Hiya boss! Whazzup? Long time, no see.
(MALE EMCEE) Boss? These girls work for you?
(DOCTOR) Yep. They’re part of my new vertical integration strategy. I smuggled them out of North Korea, where they were on the haircare team for the Supreme Leader. I taught them English, and now they work in my marketing services division alongside their twin brothers who design the packaging. They also have two aunts and a cousin working in the lab. This gives our hotel chain customers a turnkey deal, including ingredients, formulation, testing and branding. C’mon girls, time to get back to work. Mind if we take the magnifying glass with us? We lost ours. Off we go. I have a plane to catch. Bye-bye. (blowing kisses to the audience).
(All exit as the orchestra plays “It’s a Small, Small World.”)
Author’s note: This is a work of fiction. To my knowledge, Dr. Alfredo J. Pompadour, the Harry Carey Awards and Moon family do not exist. They are creatures of the author’s imagination, in all likelihood overstimulated by an extended cocktail hour yesterday evening. The only parts of the story that were not made up are the Doctor’s exotic ingredients and the actual labels from miniature shampoo bottles. The author collected them in hotel bathrooms around the world.
Editor’s note: It may be surmised that the author has an unhealthy fixation on hotel hair care product marketing. For perspective, the reader may wish to peruse some of his earlier essays on the subject: