P&G provide a masterclass in advertising

There are no shortage of books, seminars and courses that promise to teach you about advertising.

Thousands of books, seminars which cost a small fortune and courses which take years to complete.

But despite all of this investment of time and money, we have a big problem …

to put it politely …

in the words of my American friends …


Most advertising is banal, insulting, repetitive, unoriginal, and boring.

You could add another 20/50/100 adjectives here to this list.

It’s true. Most of it sucks.

Very little advertising is original, inspiring or makes you feel good.

So, instead of learning about how to make bad adverts, save your time and money and instead spend a minute watching ‘Kids‘, the latest Olympics advert from Proctor and Gamble.

This is a masterclass in advertising.

What it does is make you feel good about a company that makes wash powder, cleaning products and razors.

I’m a fan. Their products help me clean better, shave closer and smell nicer, but this is hardly saving the world or helping the needy.

They are not making life saving drugs … they make soap, washing up liquid and batteries.

But it doesn’t matter.

What the Wieden + Kennedy advert shows that P&G understand their customers.

It shows that P&G cares about the things that their customers care about.

It shows that life is not about products, services or stuff but about people.

And in particular, the ones we care about the most – kids, our children.

And by ‘we’ I mean P&G customers.

Yes, they will have a number of defined buying groups, clearly segmented demographics, but what P&G have done with this advert is focused on a much more simple group. A much broader group. They have focused on a group called people.

What Wieden + Kennedy have done is to produce an advert that appeals to the heart of what being human is about.

It is about achievement, passion, fun, caring, anticipation, excitement, and most importantly ‘potential’.

When they do this, the move from trying to sell products or brands to making a human connection.

A positive human connection.

And I’m gripped. I see this and I want to know who is advertising.

I want to know who cares about human potential.

Who runs an advert that cares about what I care about?

I want to know who spent the money on an advert like this.

I want to know whether they will wait until the end to tell me who they are.

I will try and guess, but a good advert will give me no clues … until the very end, when I want to know.

I know what they are doing with the advert, and so do the majority of people watching it.

People are aware of what is going on.

They know the game.

We know it is emotional, about feeling good and making a ‘positive brand connection’.

And you know what?

It doesn’t matter.

It is a great advert. It makes me feel great. It shows that P&G knows what is important to me, and it makes me that little bit more inclined to pick a P&G product over a competitor.

And that is good advertising. Nice work Wieden + Kennedy. Well done P&G.


2 thoughts on “P&G provide a masterclass in advertising

  1. interacter

    Hey Gary

    Great spot – thanks! This one had passed me by in the swashing waves of Olympification…

    But you’re right. It is good. I’ve not got kids, so I couldn’t relate to the tale as told, but I can empathise with the insight there.

    Advertising needs to buck up its game(s), to target customers more emotionally, to give product a break over experience or enablement.

    Neat work indeed.
    PS – was that Vanessa Redgrave at the end?

  2. Gary Burt Post author

    These remind me of the Microsoft we see ‘potential’ adverts. The best ones IMHO that Microsoft has ever run. I first saw this run with about 17,000 others and you saw people with tearful eyes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d51gc-pJrHE

    Since then the marketing took a nose dive … corporate banality kills any creativity.

    The emotional connection between the company, what it does and people is at the heart of this recent concept from a student … who frankly did a better job on Microsoft marketing than the Microsoft team + agencies have done (anyone remember the Seinfeld or Dinosaurs adverts). http://www.minimallyminimal.com/journal/2012/7/3/the-next-microsoft.html

    What is interesting is the coverage that this work has got … I wonder whether Microsoft will respond (if at all) to this.


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