Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Our ad presents a scenario where a mother and father are late to an important dinner meeting because their son can’t seem to locate the soap in the bathtub and is taking longer than expected. The art itself is simple and realistic, with clean lines and minimal shading. The copy headlines are in two different fonts for the concerns of the father and mother, the mother’s font being slightly smaller and italicized. The language is very dramatic for the situation, “dad thundered in to the bathroom breathing fire and looking daggers – going to spank!”. The language gives the impression that the child will be flogged with a paddle or something more severe than a regular spanking.
The copy plays off of anxieties of a well off audience, the ad was made at the end of the 20’s when the economy still looked strong. The parents are having dinner with the bank president and are possibly on the rise in the company, the father is dressed to impress with his tuxedo, the mother is wearing pearl earrings to dinner, and they live in a nice two-story house with purple carpet (purple being associated commonly with royalty). It also has two different appeals for each the mother and father. First it creates an anxiety for the father’s business affairs, suggesting that the child could screw up your important business dinner and make you late, compromising your ascendance in the company. And it plays to a mother’s protective nature of her children, suggesting that they could incur father’s wrath if they screw up their important plans.
The makers of the ad use constructive discontent here, because the whole premise of the ad hangs on the idea that children lose the soap in the bathtub for long periods of time, half an hour in this case. I find it hard to believe that the tub is so expansive that a normal child couldn’t find the soap for half an hour. And so it provides a logical solution to that problem, buy the soap that floats and this surely will never happen to you. The ad wraps up with a quick “everyone else is doing it” appeal, “more baths are taken with Ivory than with probably any other one soap in the world”.
Posted by Ethan Thompson at 7/16/2008 10:47:00 AM