Dutch media campaign from 1970 for Aqua Brava men’s grooming products, which included aftershave, soap, shampoo, deodorant and talcum powder.



The Tabac range of men’s toiletries was given its first-ever national campaign, running from the week beginning November 12th, 1971, until Christmas of that year, fronted by a £30,000 magazine burst and the broadcasting of live action advertisements on TV and in cinemas in the London area.

A spokesman for Pembertons told newspapers at the time that PETER had been specifically chosen to feature in the advertisements as market research had revealed that upwards of 70% of all men’s toiletries were actually purchased by women on behalf of their husbands and boyfriends, and that they felt that his association with the product would have a huge effect on future sales.

Having already invested in a £40,000 account with Pembertons, Eylure had hoped to boost Tabac into prominence within the “middle-market” area which, at the time, was dominated by Shoulton’s Old Spice range of products.

It was later reported that as a direct result of PETER’s involvement in the campaign, Tabac aftershave was the biggest-selling men’s fragrance in the United Kingdom during the Christmas 1971 period.

The Tabac range had been taken over by the unlikely-named Etlure Eyelash and Eye Make-Up Company in January of 1971, and had not had a British agency before. The minimal advertising that had been undertaken in the past has been limited to Europe, as it had originated in (West) Germany.

Peter had been approached by the London-based advertising agency, Pembertons, following his hugely successful role as Jason King in Department S, which had been commanding massive audiences from its very first episode.

In addition to the two live-action segments for screening on TV and in the cinema – both of which had been scripted by Peter himself, the campaign also included space in several magazines, including Honey, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, She and Petticoat, which included a “money-off” incentive in conjunction with Penthouse.

The TV screenings began in London on November 23rd, 1971, and ran until December 22nd of that year.

The story of how PETER was recruited

It was back in the early 1970’s that strong-smelling aftershaves, which had long been considered somewhat unmasculine, were suddenly all the rage.

One of the forerunners on the market was a new fragrance called Tabac which, along with such brands as Brute, Hi Karate and Old Spice, had sold reasonably well in Europe, but was in desperate need of a boost in Britain.

Thanks to the ingenuity of one high-flyer in the marketing department of the German-based cosmetics company, PETER WYNGARDE was approached to help promote the product – tempted by the offer of an “undisclosed fee”, AND the ownership of a brand new Rolls-Royce!

With PETER now in their corner, the company couldn’t fail but make an impression with the male population of the UK, and with somewhat of a flourish, the new TV advertising campaign was launched.

The initial idea was to find PETER entering a high-end gentleman’s hair salon, where he’d request a trim and a shave – not forgetting a dab or two of Tabac before exiting the establishment. However, PETER’s reaction to the ‘script’ was less than favourable as he believed it lacked both wit and imagination. He immediately submitted his own proposal, which would have him passing two gentlemen on a London street – one of whom would turn to the other and say: PETER WYNGARDE smells… ”. Upon hearing this rather uncomplimentary remark, PETER would turn on his heel in disgust just in time to hear the man finish his sentence with, “…GREAT!”

The idea was, of course, accepted and the campaign, which began just prior to Christmas, 1971, proved to be an enormous success, with high street stockists announcing record sales.

With their grateful thanks, the Germans rewarded PETER with a lifetime’s supply of Tabac, which ensured that the wonderful Mr WYNGARDE would always smell… GREAT



“For people prepared to go out and get business, it’s still there,” said Philip Gower, Chairman and Managing Director of the Halifax-based Gower Kitchen Furniture in 1974.

Gower was speaking about the state of business following a highly successful merger with the Armitage-Shanks group, and was confident that sales of the newly-launched Gower LA range of self-assembly kitchen units would meet the £1.8 million figure projected by September of the following year – particularly as they’d managed to enlist the services of Peter to help promote the Module 21 units, which the company described as an “above-average quality KD kitchen unit.”

The advertising campaign began in earnest in April of 1974, with half-page space being bought in such high-profile publications as the Radio and TV Times, and most national daily newspapers.


Above: Original Gower Kitchen brochure featuring PETER, from January 1974

Within three and a half weeks of its launch in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the manufacturers reported that orders for the Module 21 Kitchen Unit had reached £274,000, which was a huge uplift from the all-time low which had rocked the industry only six months earlier.

In one of the newspaper advertisements, PETER told prospective customers: “Module 21 is essentially designed to suite all sizes and shapes of kitchen, and there are nine worktop finishes and seven door colours featured in the range.”

Thanks mainly to PETER, the year-long campaign proved so successful that Gower were able to open a brand new 125,000 square feet factory and warehouse in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1975, costing in excess of £1,000,000.


PETER was the voice behind the famous “And all because the lady loves Milk Tray” line for the famous Seventies advertising campaign.




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