Fructis went with alliteration to name their new product … I just was alliterative to illustrate how frightening a recent television commercial I saw was.
Before I explain why their recent television commercial frightens me … a couple of caveats:
- I have never worked on a shampoo product
- Yes … I have worked on products in the health & beauty industry
Their ad frightens me.
But first … “fall fight”?
Here is a stretch.
“Notice strands in your bathroom sink or brush? Improve hair’s resistance to everyday hair-fall due to breakage.”
So this shit fights everyday hair falling out <is that an issue?>. Now. Some people may call this “going bald little by little” or maybe “everyday dead useless hair being eliminated so that newer fresher stronger hair can grow in.” But, as noted earlier, I have never worked with a shampoo brand … so what do I know.
While I was first surprised that Fructis was advertising a Fall <seasonal> product in the winter I was pleasantly <if albeit still confused> surprised to find the name had nothing to do with the season but rather your hair falling out <an annual issue … not a seasonal issue>.
Fall Fight ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=481l1HoRThQ
Let me run through the logic in what you just saw <I am writing as if I participated in discussion … but I didn’t really>.
She has to brush her hair inside … because that is where cool people brush their hair before they go out and do something cool. Oh. Plus. That is where hair falls out <at home>.
Whew. So … how do we show hair falling out?
A hair ball. That’s it. And if we have a hair ball we can have a cute kitten <because people like kittens>.
Oh. Does the kitten puke the hair ball? Oh. C’mon. That’s disgusting. The kitten is just playing with a disgusting tumbleweed of hair that is somewhere in the house.
Wow. Great idea.
Oops. But we have to go outside because that is ultimately where cool people hang out with other cool <good looking> people and do cool things.
What about the kitten?
Well. It has to stay inside because … well … it belongs at home <eating all the hair that has fallen out … and if it pukes it will be off camera>.
So. Now we are outside.
But now that she is outside we need to her to look smart <as well as having fun>.
Ok. Let’s put glasses on her. Lenses in or lenses out? Aw. Who cares? She looks smart and we want people to think that smart, fun, cool, good looking people <whose hair falls out> buy our shampoo.
<cut to putting glasses on her>
She does look smart. Let’s actually make her smart. Let’s let her tell everyone about the key ingredients in the shampoo <which tells everyone that we were smart to create a shampoo that scientifically keeps you from going bald>.
But she is outside … how do we make her actually smart?
Aw. Who cares? Let’s have fun. Let’s give her a blackboard in the middle of a field and have her show some random molecular diagrams with the names of the ingredients next to them <is it really the right molecule structure? Aw. Who cares? What girl who buys our product really cares about that stuff … it just looks smart … and of course then they will think they are smart! … plus … we put the name of the ingredient next to it so they will think it is right>.
(yell to some intern t go on wikipedia and get some molecular images to copy)
A blackboard in the middle of the field?
Sure. In fact. She is so smart she carries a blackboard in her car wherever she goes. Wow. Should we show the car? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … interesting idea. Shoot it. We will have it in the can and if we have the time we can put it in somewhere.
What about the kitten? Should it be with the blackboard she is carrying around?
Wow. That’s silly. It’s at home playing with the hairball … why would she be so mean to take it away from that? Don’t overthink. Your first idea was good. Put the blackboard in the car and get some footage <but we don’t want to pay overages>.
Now we need to show that our shampoo is strong … but fun.
Why don’t we have a boxing ring in the middle of this field and shadowbox with real looking boxing gloves to show strength?
Wow. Great idea.
Hey …. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … why don’t we also have one of those ‘high strikers’ you see at carnivals and not only is she smart but strong enough to show the shampoo is strong? <and that allows one of her good looking friends to box in the field so she doesn’t get sweaty>
<high striker definition: A high striker, also known as a strength tester, or strongman game, is an attraction used in funfairs, fundraisers, and carnivals. It operates by utilizing the lever where one end holds a puck attached to the tower and the other end is struck by the person or contestant using a hammer or mallet. The aim of players is to ring the bell suspended on top of the tower. If the lever is struck with enough force, the puck will rise high enough to hit the bell, indicating a success. Modern versions use a spring-loaded version of the lever, others use an enclosed striking mechanism.
Operators entice people to try the high striker with phrases such as: “Step right up!”,”Test your strength!”, or “Who are the men out of the boys?”>
Wow. Excellent idea. A boxing ring AND a carnival.
A carnival in the middle of the field? No silly. Just the high striker.
Wow. That is brilliant <and fun>.
We need to show some other people to show she isn’t some narcissistic self-absorbed hermit with a kitten. So let’s have some good looking people hanging out like they are wanting to hang out with the smart girl who is no longer going bald.
Go down the hallway to where I think they are doing the casting for the Calvin Klein ad campaign and see if you can grab a couple of people.
Where do we put them?
In the field stupid. That’s where all cool smart people who are not going bald hang out with their friends.
Should they have a blackboard too? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … no.
If they do not have one that suggests our Fructis girl is smarter than they are because she buys our stuff … but she is an influencer! Everyone will assume she tells them about our shampoo and they will go out and buy it. Excellent. We have incorporated word-of-mouth into traditional tv advertising <tell the junior account person and maybe we can amortize the cost of production over this word of mouth thing>.
And we need a cool song <even though the song is relatively meaningless to the execution communication> so let’s use something by the Ting Tings <Great DJ is the song>. I know their music is used on Gossip Girl so it will be perfect for us. Who cares how much it costs! Darn it … we are a fun cool brand and Ting Tings are a fun cool band <cut to senior management on both advertising and client side making a note to themselves, using a pencil, to find out who the hell the Ting Tings are>.
There is so much random stuff happening in this advertisement my head hurts.
Someone is going to argue I am not in the target audience and that it is a ‘fun’ ad.
On the first part? Correct. I am not.
On the second part? You can create a fun informative execution without having to resort to simple random shit. Yeah. I said random. There are so many little ‘bites’ of information and lifestyle cues I have this vision that there was a long checklist of things they wanted to say and show and then they figured out how to piece it all together <under a basic framework of ‘fun’>.
Developing ongoing campaigns is significantly more difficult to develop good stuff <technical word for ‘work’> than one-offs.
But confusing the two is bad … really bad. What do I mean? Well. It seems like in today’s business world of ‘what have you done for me lately’ brand managers are often suggesting ‘treat this as if it needs to be a standalone idea’ with the good intention to get a break through type idea/execution … but the bad intention of “I don’t give a fuck what has been done before me … I want to do something great!” <usually stated in front of their marketing/advertising vendors with not just one exclamation point>.
I imagine it is up to the partners/vendors to bring some logic, if not some rational long term perspective to the discussion, but I recognize it becomes tough to do so when you have a young, or semi young, client saying ‘give me something different <or else … threat in whispers …>. So what marketing/advertising partners do as they shift into survival ‘responsible’ mode is that they develop some broad strategic guard rails to work within.
For example … try out … ‘well … Fructis is a fun brand for fun people and fun events/life’ <note that ‘fun’ is the operative word>.
Honestly … that strategic direction sucks <because it is broad and relatively meaningless … and Disney is a fun brand> but it gives the idea developer <creative people> a virtually endless horizon of possible paths to pursue.
I get frightened when I see advertisements like this because someone actually thinks this is good for Fructis long term.
Short term? I may not have even invested the energy writing about it <although it is a wacky configuration of stuff in an advertisement>.
Actually I get frightened on a variety of levels.
Hair falling out shampoo? <and calling it Fall Fight>
The advertisement? <actual execution>
The development? <how the idea was actually developed>
In the end.
Is the advertisement really bad? Of course not. It is kind of a wacky semi likeable ad.
I just cannot envision it being in the ‘good’ category in terms of execution and strategic.
It gave me something to write about.