There’s a lot of talk about the recent ambush advertising by Hindustan Unilever’s soap and shampoo brand Dove, and how it pulled a cheeky number on Procter & Gamble’s shampoo brand Pantene.
Dove ambushed Pantene’s teaser outdoor advertising campaign about a “mystery” shampoo about to unveil by launching its own outdoor campaign saying there was no mystery and that Dove was the leading shampoo brand.
The truth is: with ambush advertising, nobody loses.Everybody wins. And you don’t need Nielson to tell you that. In the big picture, ambush advertising is as old as ambush warfare, and that’s as old as the hills. We’ve heard of Virgin Airlines doing this to British Airways 30 years ago. Nothing’s changed even today.
Ambush advertising helps both brands — leader and challenger — gain instant salience. It raises interest in the category and gets more people talking. Pepsi and Coke did this successfully in the 80s and 90s.
It makes ordinary content more exciting. In isolation, you wonder what’s so ‘talk-worthy’ about the individual pieces of work.
Both the brands and their companies get lots of free media.
The advertising agencies win because the client increases spends —more then was planned — and so more revenue!
Lots of people in the advertising and marketing companies find sudden purpose. This releases energy and creates renewed enthusiasm. The CEOs of both companies spend more time with the concerned brands’ heads who therefore get greater OTS (opportunity to see) and visibility.
The news and trade media, always looking for content, have something to write about. This is like fresh juice. They can now fill lots of columns.
Media owners are happy because of the sudden increase in media spends.
Distribution channels are thrilled — heightened conversation for both brands increases traffic to the store.
As for consumers, they are enjoying all the fuss and are hopeful this will bring prices down — because of fierce competition.
Josy Paul is Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, BBDO/Proximity India