There has been a lot written in the trade press about Procter and Gamble, one of the worlds largest buyers of advertising, looking to improve their haul at creative awards shows. Quite frankly, this isn’t difficult to figure out. P&G is famous for testing- testing and committees introduce the CYA (cover your ass) factor that kills “award winning creative” instantly.
Now, while we have soldiers dying in Iraq, the idea of using Marines in an attempted comedic P&G TV spot for “Tide to go,” a stain removal pen is an insult to the military and to those who have sons and daughters overseas.
The spot goes something like this:
A Don Rickles type drill Sergeant is yelling at a line of five “Marines” and one has a red stain (metaphorical blood?) on his shirt- one Marine slips the other the pen- he eliminates the stain- which seems to confuse the DI- and the spot finishes with the DI yelling at the camera- in a pleading voice, for you to go to to win a trip to the Martha Stewart Apprentice finale.
What is P&G thinking? The days of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” went away a long time ago.
As our young men and women are dying in Iraq, tying something as inane as a spot remover to people who are about to risk their life for their country, seems about as stupid as tying your product to a convicted felon (I don’t care if she has her own tv show). How this helps to engender trust and lust for this product, I don’t know. All it does is disturb me. Maybe it’s because I spent time in the military, maybe it’s because I believe that advertising should be interesting, stimulating, entertaining, intelligent. This is not.
It’s certainly not a “big idea” or an “award winner.”
As to the concept in general- it has no chance of having any kind of legs- this DI isn’t “Mr. Whipple” and even if he was, “Mr. Whipple’s “ day’s are long gone.
If P&G was smart, they’d pull this stain of an ad faster than their stain remover appears to work.

What do you think?

[note- update 20 Aug 08] The spot I saw is not available on YouTube- but a newer one is- where they identify the stain as catsup and eliminate the pleading at the end: