The Art of Abandonment

Recently, I noticed a new something. Perhaps it’s nothing, or perhaps it’s the beginning of a new fad in the world of advertising. Two major brands have been using self-deprecating  humor, by abandoning their past.


The use of spokespersons by major brands is a common practice. Virtually all major brands from all categories have employed spokespersons at some point. Healthy Choice is no exception. However, as Healthy Choice launches new flavors and new products, it seeks to reveal its new self to the world in a new way. The latest Healthy Choice ads mock the use of spokespersons. They are paid a “boatload of cash” to deliver a line. In these mockumentaries, Ms. Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears to be hesitant to take the role of spokesperson. Of course, she does ultimately deliver sound bites like “delicious”, “made with good healthy ingredients”, etc. Behind the humorous story, the message was clear. The product benefits were highlighted, clearly and obviously. I find these ads engaging. The storyline continues to evolve with each new round of ads. I find myself wondering what Ms. Lous-Dreyfus latest scruples are, and thus find myself learning more and more about Healthy Choice.

Kotex took the art of mocking oneself to the next level. These ads don’t just mock the use of spokesperson. They mock every other Kotex ad, as they mock every other feminine care ads. Kotex is launching a new line U, with a target audience of young ladies aged 14 to 21. Kotex wanted to break the tradition storyline used in many feminine care advertisements. White pants and active lives are all just part of the act, unrealistic and irrelevant. The new ads, I suppose, is to reveal that U really understand what a period means to young ladies. It’s not about able to wear white pants during cruises. It is an all too apparent effort to announce to young ladies that U is different. That’s why the ads are different. These ads are not targeting the moms. These ads understand. These ads know that periods are tough, particularly for those newly initiated. It’ll be interesting to find out if the unique advertising angle can truly differentiate U from all the other feminine care products out there.

It will be interesting to see if more brands will start mocking their own past. It’ll be interesting to see if a brand must so wholly abandon the old in order to establish itself anew.

Links:
New York Times: Healthy Choice Tries a Humor Campaign
New York Times: Rebelling Against the Commonly Evasive Feminine Care Ad

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