The Cardinal Rule Delta Soap Breaks In This New TV Commercial

“What’s the role of the brand in this ad!”

“For crying out loud, where’s the product in use!”

“Are you trying to tell me the brand isn’t the hero of this commercial!”

Words on marble, or in a better construction, words to live by for every copywriter. Sometimes, if you took a risk and omitted the drinking shot, bathing shot, phone call shot, ice cream slurping shot or whatever shot that should demonstrate the reason the product was created, the client would gleefully remind you. Or they’d just fire you for incompetence. 

Yet, I look at this trending ad for Delta range of soaps and, what? There’s no hot, yellow lady taking a bath, almost being suffocated by lather? This is outrageous. Heads have to roll for this mistake. How can you have a soap commercial without a gorgeous woman have a bath—seductively rubbing the soap on her cheek and neck, too? Joy girl did the bathing shot. Imperial Leather did it. Even the previous Delta soap girls did it. So, what is this all about, please?

Turn up device volume… sorry, it’s from 1980.

Come to think of it, I think I know what the agency and its client Orange Group (which sells Delta) are going for. They’re burning the rule book. They’re chucking the guideline that says you must show your product in use.

Perhaps they’re thinking why show someone using the soap when everyone already knows Delta Soap is for bathing. Also, you can see that everyone in the ad is clean and happy. If they’re clean and happy and they love Delta soap, wouldn’t you want to be like them, especially since they’re already your favourite social media stars?

Now, it was easy for me to pull from my experience of all soaps and Delta soap to remember that Delta always showed light-skinned people in its ads. I didn’t have to go learn about soaps to recall that. This is fluency.

Advertising becomes easier for a brand when it can draw on its established assets to continue to sell itself. It makes it easy for audiences to process the information with less mental exertion. 

Two, there’s fame. The people in the ads are super popular. I, at first glance, can recognise the GGB Dance Crew(@ggbdancecrew), Tobi Bakre (@tobibakre), Cee-C of Big Brother Naija (@ceec_official), and Denola Grey (@denolagrey).

When we use the hottest actors, buzziest social media influencers, and trendiest singers to peddle gear, we rely on fame. Going for fame is a short cut to getting people to talk about your brand. In marketing these days, fame has become so popular.

“Get some nuts”

And here is to another champion brand, Snickers, an 80-year-old monster, which, within one year, deployed fame and fluency to increase global sales by  15.9% and grow market share in 56 of the 58 markets in which the campaign ran. The campaign I’m talking about is: “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”  Maybe you’ve seen it.

I know in the Snickers series, they always take a bite from the chocolate bar at the end but the point here is about fame.

Here’s a nice little quote Campaign magazine used when it wrote about how snickers used fame:

“Fame is not simply about generating brand awareness (which turns out to have limited value for most established brands). It is about building word-of-mouth advocacy for the brand—getting it talked about, creating authority for the brand and the sense that it is making most of the running in the category.”

Peter Field, Marketing in the Era of Accountability.

Now, if the team who made the Delta ad were thinking this, respect to them because God knows how hard they had to push to get the idea approved. But the industry needs these kinds of push. If we keep making textbook-approved ads, nothing is interesting, and nobody will ever write a textbook about what we do.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.

Benjamin Franklin.

Even if we win awards with those normal jobs, inside us we know we’re not breaking new grounds. To go forward, we may have to make a clean break from the sod of the past.

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