Big Idea TV advertising

Michael Silver, Portrait of John Cage. Platinum-Palladium print on chewing gum wrapper
I love the way these advertisers have moved their brands by claiming ownership of human values only tangentially linked to their products. Nothing cheesy or aggressive about either, though – just clever, provocative marketing. I wonder if either one of them can show a boost to sales as a result. I hope so.

Unilever’s Persil has taken ownership of the very human idea of mess and repositioned it as positive, happy, creative and educative. The product is translated from a boring, functional, day-to-day need-to-have to a fun, involved and supportive helper in building creative kids. Brilliant. They deserve an extra 10 points of market share just for the idea that making a mess could be productive and not just an exhausting domestic nightmare.

Chewing gum ads are usually really horrible – grim Euro-puddings, made to run in multiple, unconnected markets and communicating nothing in particular (why, though?). Anyway, the latest ‘Get Closer’ TV ads for Wrigley’s (those hi-tech, wafer-thin breath-freshening thingies that dissolve on your tongue, I think) still look like they were made to run all over the place but they’re cleverer than usual. They claim for the product the idea of intimacy – of getting physically close to other human beings. An unarguably powerful, emotional idea. The risk, I suppose, of Big Idea advertising like this, is that the benefit produced accrues not to Wrigley’s but to the category and any sales boost is spread evenly across all the breath products (also, they use that brilliant, super-feel-good Hanson record).

And, speaking of tangential links, get this: the picture is a gorgeous Platinum-Palladium print of John Cage on a chewing gum wrapper. What can I say?