I absolutely love Pedigree, but I don’t have a dog

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Rarely do you see a campaign that is creative and consistent. It isn’t changed at the whim of a new agency or new brand team, it perseveres with a good creative idea, well executed and above all brilliantly branded.

The colour way, the art direction, even the logo all show clear adherence to the original expression.

I love it. Even without a Dog.

 

Kleenex Gripples toilet roll TV ad – dog sniffs bums

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We now firmly understand that a labrador puppy is the spokes-dog for toilet paper.

Usually he sprukes soft, strong and very, very long. And because he is soft and cuddly, we naturally assume that the product has similar qualities. We don’t often question if these are the properties that make it the best toilet paper, probably because it’s not something we choose to debate and discuss.

So it’s interesting to see Kleenex apply this more direct approach to the category.

Basically, does your bum smell?

After the initial shock of being confronted by such a direct accusation, we can consider what the ad is trying to do.

The cute puppy, is now less interested in playing with toilet rolls and is more interested in being a dog and smelling bums. Those that use Kleenex pass the test. Those that don’t get a yelp of terror from our cute character assassin.

Kleenex have made one concession to our potential embarrassment by making up a new word for textured toilet paper – gripples. To me it sounds a bit like a grade of sandpaper and perhaps not as cumfy as it is meant to. They are trading off this imaginative invention:

Here is what the company says in a press release from Kimberly-Clark:

“While a little edgier than previous Kleenex Cottonelle brand campaigns, the aim is to attract more premium brand switchers, who represent 60% of the market, by communicating the strength of Kleenex Cottonelle as well as the softness it’s renowned for.”

Marketing manager for Kleenex Cottonelle brand, Michelle Rossier said:

‘People use personal care products to feel clean and fresh all day, however they don’t connect this feeling to the toilet tissue they buy. The new campaign positions Kleenex Cottonelle brand as the toilet tissue that provides you with a superior level of clean.”

On the one hand (pun intended) this is a very different move in the category. It will get noticed.

On the other, do people want to be confronted by such a direct message?

My view is that it works to build awareness, but NOT brand engagement amongst the mass market. It has the cute credentials of the puppy to defuse a very direct commentary on hygiene and might perhaps, through the innovative invention of gripples, combine enough rational reasons with the emotion of our previously polite puppy to put this brand at the top of the shopping list. But that is a big “might” in the mass market shopping aisle.

Whilst it is great to see some difference in one of those tricky categories, I think this is missing the true insight on real consumer attitudes and the client has been sold “difference” against “effectiveness”.

The association to a dog sniffing a bum (and what we mean here is poo!) is at odds with what consumers want from the category – i.e. discretion and effectiveness without the overt reference to usage. No one wants to badge themselves in this category!

Just like the Care Free “Vagina” ad, the literal use of contentious words and actions becomes gratuitous and actually isn’t big or clever from a creative point of view. Very few brands successfully shock us into the sell – despite a creative belief that the notoriety of contentious / confronting ads will increase appeal.

As a footnote, I understand that there has been an immediate sales impact on Kleenex. And not a good one. Bummer.

 

Pedigree “rescue unrescued” cinema ad – adoption drive

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This stirring (and long) cinema ad by Colenso BBDO New Zealand, invites cinema goers to make a choice in coloured 3D glasses. Accordingly they see a film based on whether they donate.

It’s a nice spot. Bit long in narrative and the idea is creatively intriguing holding your attention in the story.

But, the real point is Pedigree and their true commitment to the cause. The cynical might suggest it is a one off PR stunt. Not so. Pedigree really are pet people (dogs to be precise).

I’ve previously posted a brilliant spot featuring slow motion footage of dogs eating treats. It captures everything that the pet owner wants to see in a deliriously happy dog. And it is incredibly shot.

But back to the commitment to the annual Adoption Drive. last year Pedigree launched an eight part online documentary series for Facebook and YouTube to champion this year’s Pedigree Adoption Drive. The fourth year it has partnered with PetRescue.

Few campaigns can even claim a 4 year period of consistency. Yet fewer can claim such creative resourcing of the campaign which is based on the simple insight of pet lovers wanting to help dogs (not just nurture their own).

To place the icing on the cake, the entire effort is branded in the now trade mark yellow and black.

This is one of the best examples of a strong brand leader asserting it’s position in market through exemplary strategy and on-brief execution. The fact that they left the kitchen floor / bowl advertising and championed something new in the category is to their credit.

And here is one of the best pet ads ever made…

Pedigree Dogs slow-motion ad. Shot @ 1000 FPS using the Phantom camera

It’s dogs in slow-mo catching treats. What could be better.

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more about “Pedigree Dogs ad shot 1000 FPS using …“, posted with vodpod
This is a phenomenal, yet simple ad. It avoids a lot of those cliched dog running or in the kitchen shots.

Simply put, if you own a dog and buy treats, there is a good chance you really like dogs and the reaction when you give them treats.

Turn this into a wonderfully shot emotive piece of film, add a very well synched sound track and you even tempt those of us without dogs to buy the treats…

Very watchable, memorable and motivating.

Lego classic commercial – Kipper ad

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There are a few new Lego stop frame animations in the blogosphere – in particular a tune called “8-bit trip” with over 3 million views on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qsWFFuYZYI&feature=related

But you still can’t beat the original and the best use of Lego in the “Lego Kipper” ad.

“Lego Kipper” was created by TBWA way back in 1981 by Mike Cozens and Graham Watson. With a Tommy Cooper like voice over (he didn’t actually do it…), it explains all in 45 seconds of brilliantly crafted work.

Timeless and worth another look.