Brand: Tag Body Spray (Gillette)
Link: Click Here (You will need to get past the age verification and find the medicine cabinet. Clicking on the top row launches the ad. Sorry.)
Target: Pre-teen and teen boys
A teenage boy sprays himself liberally with TAG as he exits his car. The boy exits his car and knocks on the door which is answered by an attractive thirty-something woman. “Hi Stephen … Sarah’s still getting ready,” she says and the spot cuts to a quick shot of a younger girl pulling on pants. Stephen and Mrs. Drake exchange pleasantries at the door and then she invites him in. When he passes she sniffs the air pointedly and is immediately mesmerized by the TAG smell. She walks close to him and purrs, “I like your hair cut like this.” He stammers, “Mrs. … Drake?” and she says, “call me Bonnie.” Then a button on her blouse pops and she says, “oops.” A disclaimer over the ad appears read at high speed by a male announcer claiming that TAG is not responsible for effects on mothers of friends or friends of friends. Then the spot cuts back to a product shot with another male voice saying, “Introducing TAG body spray for guys.” Whereupon the TAG bottle squirts and we hear a female moan of pleasure and the announcer continues with the tagline, “consider yourself warned.”
The reference to “The Graduate” is amusing even though it will go unnoticed by most of the target audience for TAG. The establishing shot of the boy spraying himself with TAG in his car helps improve the branding of the spot and show us that the boy has a car and a date which may make him aspirational for users of the product who may have neither. The actors for both boy and Mrs. Drake-cum-Robinson are well chosen.
There is some debate in marketing and media circles over just what exactly the AXE EFFECT is. Unilever would like us to believe that its the power of the smelly fragrances to attract girls. Many American parents think it is the power to persuade juveniles that smelling like a carwash from fifty feet away is a good thing (read Robin Givhan’s droll commentary on Axe for the Washington Post here). Investors and marketers think the AXE EFFECT is getting those same young men to spend billions of dollars on something they never used before – which becomes found money for packaged goods companies.
Only after looking at the launch spot for Gillette’s TAG do we see what the AXE EFFECT truly is – spawning mindless competition.
You can’t blame the agency for this spot. It is executed extremely well, but it is executed against the same strategy as AXE. The AXE EFFECT is getting women uncontrollably excited. The TAG effect is – getting women uncontrollably excited?? Is there a subtle difference in thinking that older women will also take notice? Perhaps. But TAG is trying to own something that AXE already has locked up.
This advertising blog suspects that when you watch this commercial you are watching a financial strategy at play, not a marketing strategy. Launch a second product in a successful category (well, Old Spice Red Zone might have beat them, but ignore that for the moment) and you get some guaranteed share. And it is a big, big market. So no need to put the braintrust behind the marketing strategy – just more or less follow the blueprint put down by Unilever.
Pardon us if we’re unimpressed.
Branding Bottom Line:
Procter & Gamble cannot take control of Gillette marketing soon enough.