Flattering a detergent?…what was the Dettol brand manager thinking?

Reckitt Benckiser was formed as a result of the merger between Reckitt & Colman and Benckeiser and in 2005 acquired the Boots Healthcare International. Brands by Reckitt Benckeiser include Jik, Harpic, Mortein Doom, Strepsils, Clearsil and Dettol, their most renowned brand in Kenya

In their new Dettol soap ad, we see a group of boys standing outside what looks like a construction site pensively looking over a wall. As they begin exchanging excuses over who should go across, one boy remains quiet and waits for them to finish arguing. When they finish, he looks back at them jumps over the wall and lands in a pool of dirty water where he retrieves the ball and throws it back to his friends as they watch – first in dismay then in admiration.

The camera angle switches slightly and we see the mum watching the entire scene from the house while peering through the curtains changes.  She smiles proudly as she sees her son with the white and green ball.  When the scene changes, we see the boy at home with his mum at shower time when she uses Dettol soap, which protects him by killing all the germs – allowing him to play freely. The ad ends on a Dettol pack and the tag line ‘Round The Clock Protection’.

The first time the ad was aired, I felt I knew what it was – it fitted perfectly with campaign for a certain detergent that is running on the platform ‘Dirt is Good’. The kid playing in the pool of water looks like he is on a mission to make his clothes extremely dirty because he knows they will be washed using a strong washing detergent. While it is a very catchy ad, there is a common saying that goes – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – I guess a certain detergent in the market must be very flattered because not many people will remember that the ad is actually selling Dettol soap.

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3 thoughts on “Flattering a detergent?…what was the Dettol brand manager thinking?

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