By: Amy Clerkin
This year’s Tide Super Bowl commercial set itself apart from any other ad ever done before. With this being Tide’s return to the Super Bowl after four years, they wanted to do something that would get everyone talking. Hoping to ignite a “social media blaze”, Tide made the bold decision to incorporate their commercial into the Super Bowl.
Tide incorporated their commercial into the big game by having Terry Bradshaw, former NFL quarterback and one of the hosts for the Super Bowl, sport a bright orange stain on his shirt without addressing it. As a result, many people took to social media to point out the very obvious stain. Shortly after, Tide aired this commercial in segments so that it played out as a story and kept people interested. The way that Tide laid out the commercial made it seem realistic and like it was happening in real time. The commercial starts out with the other host pointing out the stain to the oblivious Bradshaw. Followed by Bradshaw realizing that him and his stain were trending. Bradshaw takes off in a golf cart to take care of the stain when he passes by “fans” shouting out of their car window pointing out the stain. Seconds after Bradshaw swerves off the road and ends up at actor Jeffery Tambor’s house where Tambor takes care of Bradshaw’s stained shirt with Tide’s newest product, Tide Pods with Downy. The commercial ends by stating that “No stain deserves fame” followed by Tide’s slogan “It’s got to be Tide.”
Through out the commercial there are many symbols of the influence that social media can have on branding. The semiotics of the ad, such as the stain, serve as a symbol for how word travels very rapidly on social media which can become an integral part of a company’s success. Once people see how effective Tide’s products are and after all of the “publicity” the stain got on social media, attention will be brought to Tide. We see this in the commercial when the screen becomes filled with texts, tweets, etc. followed by several people calling attention to the stain. They will then see Tide solving the solution to the problem that the stain is and more people will be likely to want to buy Tide.
As for the emotional appeals, Tide uses well known celebrities, such as Bradshaw and actor Jeffery Tambor, that most people including football fans and those watching the Super Bowl are familiar with. They also incorporate a well-known song playing in the background. These aspects help to create a casual vibe which sets it apart from a typical super bowl ad, which in many cases seem unattainable or not something that could occur in average, everyday life. They want you to trust Tide and to be able to relate to the commercial.
There isn’t a specific target audience for this commercial. Everyone does laundry and gets stains on their clothes and Tide wants to be the one that everyone goes to, including former football stars, to cater to their laundry needs. Tide’s company slogan is, “It’s got to be Tide.” This is evident in the commercial because Tide is so well known and used. Tide wanted to go above and beyond to appeal to everyone in this years Super Bowl while still making things interesting. After trying at several rounds of scripts, Tide finally decided on this one because “It was unbelievably funny; every time we watched it, we had people in the room laugh out loud and it was all about that insight that everyone feels—the anxiety of a stain and how, in the end, Tide was what you trust to get it out.”
The popularity of the commercial met the goal that the company had for it. In less than one day the commercial was viewed almost 3 million time. The “fame” that this commercial was receiving helped to earn it a spot of number 25 on Youtube’s trending list. The unexpected turn that Tide’s commercial helped it to earn it’s status and success.
Tide has become accustom to the success that their Super Bowl commercials receive which is why they felt the need to do something that was never done before, in order to “one up” their 2013 talking stain commercial. Tide wasn’t the only Proctor & Gamble brand to be featured in Super Bowl LI. Tide’s commercial was the third ad to be purchased by Proctor & Gamble followed by Mr. Clean and Febreeze.