Tide Into the Fabric

Every year you deal with the Monday-morning quarterbacking and fierce debates over strategy. The annual analysis of Super Bowl® ads is upon us. Most of these fall into the bland brand-awareness bucket. You’re cool because we’re cool (and vice versa.)

But you waste your ad buy if the conversation is about your message and it fails to include you. Why pay millions of dollars so that we can all feel warm and fuzzy about the story, or the inspiring quote, or the goofy image, and not talk about (or share) your brand?

Advertising’s job is to interrupt the audience’s flow, catch their attention, and give them a reason to remember you. Otherwise, you’re just the what’s-his-name that told that hilarious joke, or shared that moving story, or showed us that sweet picture.

In recent years, the goal has been to go viral. Novelty is not enough either. With the #JackVsMartha ad, we hopefully see the sad end of that tactic’s diminished returns. (No, I won’t share it. That would just encourage them.) However, giving us a new way to see something familiar is an effective tactic.

The one ad that did everything right this year is Tide’s “It’s a Tide Ad.”

This one works on every level. It features the brand name as part of the message. It tells the brand value story with every iteration. It delivers with humor that stands repeated viewing. (Threading it throughout the broadcast reinforced the meme.)

Moreover, it doesn’t just find humor in commercial tropes, it uses it to show a quality most people don’t pay attention to but are deeply aware of – the heightened reality of advertising’s alternate universe. It plants in your head that every commercial could be a Tide ad. But while you may laugh, you’re linking  cleanliness to Tide in all those synapses.

The next time you notice a clean shirt in a commercial, you’ll wonder if it’s a Tide ad. And then it will be.

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