Listerine: when creative is the differentiator

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Clients have often asked ‘why is this creative idea true of only my brand and not my competitors?’ The attempt was to overcome mis-attribution and help the viewer believe that the messaging can only be true for the brand. The problem is that the product is usually never imbued with any significant differentiation (think of any consumer goods product) but the advertising is usually expected to do that job. The onus then is squarely on the strength of the creative idea. The additional constraint on the creative team is that there are category codes to follow. Sometimes it makes sense – it helps if a food ad makes the brand look mouth watering and appetising. However, such category codes almost ‘templatise’ advertising for a category – product windows explaining a feature with computer graphics, the ingredient pouring shot, the action of a product on the skin, the food or beverage consumption shot followed by a smile or grin…the list can go on.

In this context, a new campaign for Listerine caught my eye. It breaks away from the often-used category codes for mouth fresheners.





Agency: JWT, Brazil

While ‘whitening’ is a generic claim in the category and could be ‘owned’ by any competing brand too, the refreshing take makes the campaign memorable. I smiled. Also, you got to love South American advertising.

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