Conman's dishonest air makes commercial sense

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 January, 1993, 12:00am

THE man behind the Conman company (see poster, right) has come clean.

He is, in fact, a conman.

Advertising man David Guerrero dreamed up the concept while working at J. Walter Thompson.

The campaign was put together as a secret test to see how much people remembered about advertisements. It was part of a survey for Pearl and Dean, the firm which contracts out advertising on the MTR.

Giant-sized copies of the Conman ad were placed in MTR stations all over town for three weeks last year, and were commented on by Lai See.

''We couldn't own up to it the first time you mentioned it in your column, because we were all sworn to secrecy while the research company carried out its survey,'' said David.

But when the tale reappeared last week, he decided to come clean.

''Its three-week run apparently generated a large number of enquiries, but the results were never made public,'' he said.

The implication is that a hand-held air-conditioner called Conman would sell well.

David now runs his own agency called Ad Hoc.

But he reckons it will take a lot of talking to persuade a client to let him give them a name as memorable as Conman.

Make a meal of it WE phoned the customer service hotline at STAR TV yesterday at about 9.45 am.

A recorded message said: ''Hello. Thank you for calling STAR TV's customer service hot-line. We're out to lunch at this time. Lunch hours are between one and two Hongkong time . . .'' We phoned again at 5 pm.

A recorded message said: ''Hello. Thank you for calling STAR TV's customer service hot-line. We're out to lunch at this time. Lunch hours are between one and two Hongkong time . . .'' Do they mean ''out to lunch'' in a literal sense or in another sense? Sin of emission TOY traders from all around the world flew into Hongkong yesterday for the Hongkong Toys and Games Fair, which opens at the convention centre today.

They report that the key concept for dolls this year is: bodily emissions.

Tyco scored a huge hit with Magic Potty Baby, currently number-three best seller in the US. You sit this US$29 doll on a potty. The potty magically fills up with yellowish liquid. Press the flush button and the liquid noisily disappears.

The Cabbage Patch Potty Chair also makes a convincing whoosh sound when you flush it, and Kenner's Puppy Alive wets its doggie diapers.

Baby Alive, another Kenner entry in the waste-disposal category of cuddly toys, soils its toy Pampers after gobbling down a meal of special-formula ''food''. The intestines are battery-powered.

Most repulsive of all are Mattel's line of Ren and Stimpy play figures, which loudly emit internal gas.

Yes, the toy fair is going to be a noisy place today.

Left unsaid SIMON Clennell of Rowland Co offered a few other things that Hongkong people didn't say in public during 1992: ''I think I'll have a quiet night in.'' - Ted Marr.

''I wouldn't want to make an issue out of this.'' - Emily Lau.

''Actually, I think it's a disgusting habit.'' - David Tang.

Man of letters HERE is a bulletin for the folk from the US customs department, now visiting Hongkong and learning about counterfeiting techniques.

Nip down to The Lanes, which are little alleyways between Queen's Road and Des Voeux Road in Central.

You will see people selling goods by Moschino. These are distinctive because they have the name in large metal capital letters on the products.

As you approach, you will be surprised to find that the name does not read MOSCHINO, but rather WOSCHINO.

You pick up the handbag and say: ''Isn't this supposed to say 'Moschino'?'' The salesman leans forward, shows you his screwdriver, and says: ''You buy. I turn 'W' upside-down.'' Better dead HAD an interesting communication from the Hongkong WIMPS (Watchers of Imelda Marcos of the Philippines Society) yesterday.

Spokeswoman Ines Escolar confirmed that it was Imelda using the MTR. ''Imelda has made a total of eight trips to Hongkong during the past six months,'' she said. Ines rubbed shoulders with Mrs Marcos (known locally as The Madam) in the communion queue atthe Rosary Church in Kowloon last Sunday.

Apparently Imelda loves shopping in Hongkong, and the attention she gets from the Filipino community.

But she avoids Statue Square and Chater Garden.

Ines said: ''It's probably because she knows that WIMPS members are always on the look-out, ready to yell at twittering Filipinas who rush excitedly to shake her hand: 'Don't you know why you are all here slaving like coolies? It's because of THAT WOMAN!''' The wife of the late Ferdinand Marcos manages to keep body and soul together despite not having found her husband's stashed money. A friend of ours was in the queue behind her as she bought a large jar of Beluga caviar from Hongkong Seibu.

Favourite quote: Imelda, viewing her husband's body in his open-top casket, was heard to say: ''He looks even better now.'' For once, we agree with her.