An Ad that Isn’t About A Company Or Its Products

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P&G’s commercial “The Talk” has generated millions of views and shares, and generated lots of commentary both supporting and deriding it. It’s a shoo-in for some sort of award next year in Cannes.

It’s also a perfect example of what’s wrong with brands these days.

You can imagine how it came to be. Research said that consumers want to get authenticity and relevance from companies, and online behavioral data suggested the most sharable content is the least commercial.

And, let’s face it, detergent is detergent, so what the hell can P&G tell us that matters anymore? Its vaunted brands were created in a different world, where mass media let it construct imaginary value. Those days are over; we have the Internet.

So what does the legitimate and difficult reality prompt P&G to deliver? An ad that isn’t about the company or its products.

Any company could have done the same thing; some already have, like Starbucks’ ill-fated “Race Together” campaign in 2015, which prompted lots of pushback asking what does buying coffee have to do with the issue?

About the same as it does with buying soap. It makes me wonder how many clients the agency tried to sell on the idea before P&G bought it.

And that’s the problem, really. In all of the vastness of P&G’s people, places, and policies, it had nothing to say about actual action on any of the issues feeding into “The Talk.” There’s nothing it does differently, no vaunted preconception or business standard it’s willing to shred for a greater good. There’s no operational truth to share…

Read the entire essay at Recapitalism

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