Weird Commercial

I just saw a commercial on Canadian TV that said, “48% of Canadian women wash their sheets once a month. Even more women wear their clothes at least twice before washing them. This is why our detergent…” This is just weird. Is the commercial suggesting that Canadian women are dirtier than Canadian men, which is why we need to pay special attention to their dirty habits? Or that men never do their laundry and can’t be interested in the detergent?

This is one of those cases where ideology trumps profitability. There are crowds of single men who do their own laundry and partnered men who do the family’s laundry. Yet, the commercial fails to target them entirely. This would be a much better world if profit trumped ideology. But it rarely does.

19 thoughts on “Weird Commercial

  1. The people who created this ad probably had profitability in mind when they created it – I imagine that the majority of people who purchase detergent are women.

    However, it fails to take into account the fact that they could have created a mold-breaking, less tired, less stereotypical commercial that targets both men and women effectively. Doing this would have required a little bit of creative thinking and perhaps some more work than what went into what they made – but I suppose this is more a reflection on the lack of innovation in advertising and media, than anything about profitability and ideology.

    That’s the clincher for me – these commercials are ultimately boring . I would also expect that everyone else’s eyes glaze over when they see the same housewife using her swiffer/vacuum/laundry detergent/home appliance.


  2. The first thing that popped into mind while reading that is, “How did they go about gathering that data?” Did they randomly phone people’s houses, ask to speak to “the lady of the house”, and then fire off questions to her about her laundry habits?
    That would be among the weirdest conversations ever.


  3. I think you might be reading too much into the commercial. If you look at marketing research, you’ll find that someplace in the neighbourhood of 85% of purchasing decisions in a family are made by women. Simple, real fact. Most marketing, if you pay attention, is directed at women. Almost exclusive of whether or not the product is “masculine” or not.


    1. But why is so much directed at women ?

      I mean it is not THAT unlikely for a man to dare and enter one of those dreaded Walmarts.


      1. I may enter the Wal-Mart to buy something – but it’s with the direction from my wife what to buy. It may be a circular problem – target women because they make the decisions; women make the decisions because the marketing is targeted at them, and so on. But from my limited experiences, men are the ones who will buy anything – women buy a product. I see it all the time at the store I work – men buy beer, rum and Vodka. Women buy Bud Light Lime, Captain Morgan and Grey Goose. Women will walk out empty handed if they don’t find what they want. Men always walk out with something. So you market to those who will be brand loyal.


        1. This is all just stereotypes, Patrick. What’s the point of generalizing this way? I think it’s a complete and uter waste of time. Even if it makes you feel like the world has become easier to comprehend.


            1. When we talk about society, we always have to generalize – otherwise, we would have to discuss 7 billion different realities. You apply the law of averages, and statistics. It doesn’t mean it will always be true – never would I suggest that it is. But you can make rational estimates of how individuals will respond and behave based on statistical observations. Why waste time and talent attempting to make a commercial that will please Clarissa and make no difference to the rest of their market? Focus on the area/population that will give the biggest bang for their bucks. Seems pretty simple and obvious to me.


              1. This isn’t about pleasing me. This is about the fact that marketing decisions and business decision often have nothing to do with profits and everything to do woth ideology.


              2. But the ideology is profit motivation – who, statistically speaking, is the largest buying audience? Who, statistically speaking, is most likely to pay attention and absorb the message, and subsequently purchase the product in question? Advertisers reflect a reality of modern society – they don’t create it. If you think they do, then you give them too much credit and too much power.


  4. I also suspect that men and women (on average, and maybe it is overgeneralizing) approach buying the household items differently even if women do not produce detailed instructions for their men. I am the one responsible for laundry in my family. But I approach it just as a task to be done (done well, so I separate whites and colors, and check if suspicious items can be machine-washed, etc), without all that emotional stuff to which advertising seems to appeal. I know that detergent X works well, so it is very difficult to convince me to switch, even if you show me a flock of happy children playing soccer and getting dirty in the process. Or if you try to appeal to insecurities about cleanness, which I do not have.

    The bottom line – I suspect the advertisement is geared at women not because they make household decisions, but because they are more easily manipulated, since they are told from the childhood that they are responsible for both physical and psychological well-being of their family. The advertisement is not selling a different formula of the detergent, they are selling one more way to feel good or to be proud of oneself (as a mother or as a traditional wife) or to feel more secure (re cleanness)


    1. I am not sure if I would say that women are more easily manipulated…

      Lots of advertisment however buys into the “shame on you, you are not a good housewife” category.

      Just watch a few commercials from sagrotan or some other hygiene product company and you can very well get the idea that if you don’t buy this IMMEDIATELY your entire family will be eaten alive by the horrible germs and it will totally be your fault.


      1. Perhaps it would be a good idea to watch again Todd Haynes’s movie “Safe,” with Julianne Moore. Maybe I am mixing things up and I do not remember well, but the movie links together germanophobia, insecurity in the household, and sexual insatisfation.


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