Long before metrosexual man embraced toiletry and grooming products up to and including moisturiser, defoliant and facial scrub, advertisers were forced to approach the subject with extreme caution.
In 1977, the average male half of the bathroom cabinet will have housed the following:
1 – A plastic green bottle of Brut 33, a birthday present from two years ago (acceptable, because Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan advertised it);
2 – A small, tapering, white plastic bottle of Old Spice with a greening, crusty ‘gold’ lid, a Christmas present from five years ago (acceptable, because of all the surfing);
3 – One of those deadly old ‘safety’ razors where you had to unscrew the handle until the blunt, rusty razor could be extracted and a new one carefully pushed in;
4 – A three-quarters empty bottle of TCP in case of bad shaves, wasp stings or cycling accidents;
5 – Nothing else.
Now Cossack wanted to introduce hairspray to our cabinets. But how to get us defensive, pre-blokey teenagers used to the idea when it appeared to be the first step on the road to spraying our handkerchiefs with lavender and mincing around like John Inman?
The cunning solution was to employ Queens Park Rangers and England Under-23 goalie Phil Parkes, who only resorted to ‘hair control’ because he had “just finished an hour and a half of diving, scrambling, lunging and kicking a football away from his muddy goal.”
Surely, there was no way dishy, auburn-moustached Phil would ever endorse anything dead puffy?
“Back in the dressing room, after a good hot shower, Phil dried and combed his hair and sprayed some Cossack hairspray on it…”
But just in case anyone thought showering sportsmen and attention to looks jeopardised Cossack’s status as a true man’s product, best name it after a bunch of hard bastards from the southern steppes of Asiatic Russia, renowned for their horsemanship and military excellence.
Rest assured, one squib of ‘greasy hair formula’ swordsman’s sex glue on your barnet and you’d be quite literally knocking the ladies dead.
We are now working hard on ‘Got, Not Got 2′ but you can still get last year’s model. (Cunning punk rock reference). Available from branches of WH Smith and Waterstones or online here…