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PG Tips: Hairdressers

An example of the long-running Brooke Bond PG Tips advertising campaign, with talking chimpanzees dressed as humans.

Advert 1978 1 mins


By the time Hairdressers was first shown in 1978, Brooke Bond had been using a chimpanzee ‘family’ (known as the Tipps) in their PG Tips teabag advertising for 22 years, a tradition that finally ended in 2002. This is one of the most famous examples (it won a Gold Award at the British Television Advertising Awards), featuring Dolly and Ada gossiping about “our Betty’s” new hairdo, which justifies a visit to an all-chimp hairdressing salon where everyone’s wearing a wildly incongruous wig.

When Brooke Bond started the campaign in 1956, they had 11% of the British tea market. By 1977, PG Tips was the market leader, with 26%, a success largely credited to Ada, Dolly and their simian co-stars. In his book Advertising Made Simple, Frank Jefkins attributes the campaign’s success to its combination of innovation (no other medium allowed real chimps to pretend to be talking human beings) and down-to-earth ordinariness (the commercials are packed with parochial British references), as well as striking the right balance between regularly referring to the product without overselling it.