Link: Click Here (new campaign
spots are ‘Reversal of Fortune’
and ‘Full Circle’)
Target: Homeowning Men
Two new spots in what we would consider a new campaign for the U.K. Vacuum cleaner manufacturer. In ‘Reversal of Fortune’ the spot opens on an elegant living room with wall-to-wall carpet. The camera quickly zooms from the human view into a microscopic view of the carpe. As we observe dust mites walking through the wool fibers, we hear a vacuum cleaner and the mites are sucked up into the cleaner, arriving at the filter. The voiceover says, “vacuum manufactures want you to believe that dust stops here, at the filter – and it does, until the filter gets clogged,” here we see the dust mites and other debris clogging the grimy-looking filter. Then a dramatic zoomout follows the dust mite back through the cleaner into the carpet as the voiceover says, “Then there’s less suction to pick up dust so it stays where you don’t want it – in your house.” The spot cuts to a silent black screen and the line “Fact: Vacuums Don’t Always Work Effectively” Underneath this, “Dyson Does” appears. The final screen has the logo, a product shot and “Get the Facts at Dyson.com”
‘Full Circle’ features nearly identical shots with a different voiceover, except that this time the anti-hero is a mold spore instead of a dust mite. The voiceover says “Vacuum manufactures want you to believe that dust – and the mold spores it contains – stops here, at the filter. But in attempting to improve suction, some vacuums use filters with bigger holes. So dust ends up back where you don’t want it – in your house.” Also new in this spot is a virtual visualization of the bigger holes in some vacuum filters that allows our renegade mold spore to escape back into the carpet.
Dyson continues its scientific pitch to men by creating creepy and compelling visuals to accompany the cold hard facts about filter vacuum cleaners. What we like about this ad by the numbers:
- Brand Positioning: Dyson’s real inspiration was not the filter-less vacuum – it was to market the vacuum to men instead of women. Thus the product is defined less by the context (how the vacuum is used) or the product (the unique product benefit) and more by the user: the left-brained man. This requires a change of archetype in thinking about the vacuum cleaner. Instead of being a home cleaning accessory like a sponge or a mop, Dyson reimagined the lowly vacuum cleaner as a big power tool. The design of the Dyson plays perfectly into this image – it looks more Makita than Mr. Clean.
- Visual Impact: Dyson’s original spots were a little geeky and unpolished. These new spots are as slick as an episode of CSI (and apparently using the same visual effects coordinator). The zoom shot from the livingroom to the microscopic view of the carpet is engaging and keeps you watching the rest of the spot.
- Clever Claims: Dyson has done a good job of massaging the claims that these two spots make. They don’t exactly say that the Dyson vacuum is superior to other vacuums. They merely say that there are some problems that some filter vacuums can have and that Dyson does not have these problems. This is a good way of finessing the legal issue of not being able to substantiate a superiority claim but still making a strong consumer claim.
In spite of the slickness of the execution here, we think Dyson has made a strategic error in conceptualizing this spot. It goes back to the archetype Dyson has created of the vacuum cleaner as power tool rather than home cleaner. The key to making that archetype real in the minds of consumers was making the Dyson vacuum cleaner the hero of the earlier spots. We particularly liked two executions run previously to the current campaign which explained the benefit of the Dyson ball suspension. (View them here) These spots make the Dyson look like a big, fun power tool. Seth Godin has pointed out that one of the cleverest design features of the Dyson was the visible suction tunnel – the vacuum cleaner begs for the proud male owners to pull it out and show their friends how cool it looks when it is sucking dirt (while their wives or girlfriends stare in horror as the neighbors see dirt coming out of the carpet they are standing on). By backing away from the ‘product-as-hero’ execution, the Dyson gets much less air time in these spots. This advertising blog calls it a mistake.
We also think the substitution of Mr. Dyson for a female voiceover is a bad call. There is undoubtedly some research suggesting that the female voice is more soothing and convincing, or perhaps it expands the brand’s appeal to women. If the former case we doubt the research – in the latter case we suggest that narrowing rather than expanding the brand’s appeal will be better for longterm sales. Consumer seek expertise and Dyson is the expert at knowing what men want in a power-tool vacuum cleaner.
Branding Bottom Line:
Dyson shows us the evil in our carpets, but we’d rather see their cool vacuum cleaner swirling dirt.