Good Vibrations At JWT Office

The Kaplan Thaler Group campaign in which women are sent careening into orgasmic fantasies by Herbal Essences was doused with cold water (and a Grand Ugly award) by the Advertising Women of New York in 2000. It takes more than shampoo to satisfy a woman, AWNY said.

Well, how about a clothes dryer? Cheetham Bell JWT in Manchester, England, this summer rolled out an ad for U.K. cell-phone maker Phones 4U that shows a woman sitting atop that whirring home appliance, apparently enjoying an actual private moment (not just a fantasy of one), when a neighbor strolls past the window. The woman is mortified, but not for the obvious reason. She’s embarrassed by her old-model cell phone sitting nearby, which she promptly throws into the washing machine.

The campaign, which is ongoing and encourages 18-35-year-olds to upgrade their phones, presents other semi-raunchy plot lines concerning blow-up dolls and hotel porn channels. In each case, the transgressors are caught in the act, but again, they’re mostly ashamed of their bulky phones. “Even the most rude things, there’s nothing more shameful than having the wrong kind of phone,” says creative director Andy Cheetham. He says the spots have earned a cult following of sorts and haven’t provoked any widespread outcry. “We do get complaints, but not as many as you would think,” he says.

Getting client approval was no problem. The guy who runs Phones 4U is fearless. “When we get a script rejected [by the standards board], he gets really upset,” Cheetham says. “He says, ‘You get me on the phone to them, I’ll sort them out!’ “