In 1973 or thereabouts a cut-out caricature of a Frenchman was found stuck to the side of a waste bin in a newspaper office. Nobody laid claim to this rejected cartoon and so he was adopted by the advertising department and nicknamed Henri.
Sporting a moustache, dressed in a striped shirt and wearing a beret, he had the appearance of the pre EU concept of a frugal French onion seller. Shown to and adopted by local Citroen dealers, Graveley Motor Company, he quickly became the choice local candidate to promote the company and the newly arriving Dyane cars.
And so a low key and successful local advertising campaign was born; this to also encompass the later reintroduction of the more famous ‘tin snail,’ the 2cv.
It was claimed readers turned to the advertisements to be amused by Henri’s latest sales spiel in his accented ‘eenglish‘ and to stare in amazement at the funny French cars.
Over a period of about 15 years Henri regularly featured in advertisements published in local newspapers circulating in the North Herts and South Beds catchment areas. During this time he also promoted the GSA range before taking his final bow when Citroen insisted on a unified national image for all their dealerships.
Moving on to 2013, Rob Moss was given the opportunity of adopting Henri. Remembering his face and what he brought to the French cars of Citroen, Rob decided to give Henri a new home at Chevronics. After a freshen up and making him into Henri mark 2 Henri can now be found bringing joy to Chevronics, their customers and found on their advertising too.
“We always love it when our customers talk about Henri,” says Rob, “especially when it turns out some of our current customers were customers of Graveley Motor Company!’ Henri has turned into a true icon.
Malcolm Ford with wife Wendy, photographed with Henri outside of Chevronics. Malcolm dealt with the advertising for Graveley Motor Company.