Tide: user-generated content and P&G

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Here’s a brilliant new marketing effort from Tide.


It started with a TVC for Tide to Go, a stain remover (in a tube format) from P&G. The ad features a guy appearing for an interview and talking about how he is ‘an organized person’. But the stain on his white shirt is so distracting that it ‘out shouts’ him, leaving the interviewer completely distracted.

The ad stands out for many reasons:

– a great product idea: a pen-like tube of Tide for you to carry around. And memorable brand name in Tide to Go.
– a great idea in ‘silence the stains’. What a difference phrasing the benefit makes! Leaving it at ‘stain remover’ could lead the creative team anywhere. But sharpening it to ‘silence the stains’ makes it come alive with possibilities
– fantastic use of the audio & visual media: not only are you riveted to the screen looking for the ‘antics’ of the stain, the interviewees expressions but also straining to pick up the audio
– breaking the so-called category truths. No cut-aways to product windows, no ‘before-after’, no show of dazzling white shirts. Yet so relevant and engaging.

I saw the ad last year, but its creating a huge buzz after its airing during the recently concluded Super Bowl. They could have easily stopped at that.

Now they have launched a user-generated content promotion where viewers are encouraged to spoof the spot. Nothing new in that. Brands like Doritos (with their Crash the SuperBowl effort) have done it successfully. But, P&G has reduced the barriers to make your own TVC and uploading it by offering a ‘spoof kit’ for download. The kit includes sound effects, ‘stain’ graphics, Tide logos and the last frame from the TVC! The instructions are specific, listing what kind of stains Tide to Go removes and what it does not. All of these are on offer at a YouTube channel, which already has several user submissions.

The ‘tool kit’ is a great idea to push the fence sitters to participate in such promotions. I am told that such user-generated promotions receive a dismal number of entries in India. A leaf to be picked up from this book.

All in all, a great effort from P&G. Many years ago, P&G was seen as ‘formulaic’ and boring in its approach to advertising. Creative guys used to whine about working on the brand. About five years ago, they made a public commitment to embrace creativity in marketing. They backed it up with several bold campaigns for brands like Febreze, Tide and others. Last year, they won 14 Lions at Cannes, including the Press Lions Grand Prix for Tide.

No wonder that P&G is being awarded the prestigious Advertiser of the Year at Cannes, this year.

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