Dixie Rinse & ReUse plates pass both persuasion and torture test

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Many marketers think their latest ad is the best ever made, but Fort James Corp. might have reason to believe so.

Its $10 million TV campaign from DDB Worldwide, New York, breaking today for Dixie Rinse & ReUse disposable stoneware registered the highest ever combined recall and persuasion score with consumers, from among more than 15,000 ads screened in the past eight years by researcher Ipsos-ASI.

Two 15-second spots show Dixie Rinse & ReUse standing up against the heat of a blow torch and surviving a cycle in a clothes washer while competing plates melt or curl up in balls. The tagline: "Any tougher and they wouldn't be disposable."

Rinse & ReUse are made from a mixture of polypropylene and crushed stone, allowing them to withstand heat up to 250 degrees and up to 20 cycles in a dishwasher.

The ads break initially in about 50% of U.S. markets where the new product has distribution, as production gears up for a full rollout later this year.

DRAMATIC HEIGHTS

Past Dixie ads already featured comparisons with rival plates, said William Schultz, exec VP-Dixie at Fort James, "so we felt we really needed to go to a dramatic new height to demonstrate this product is really unlike any other ordinary disposable on the market today."

A first round of ads from DDB included the line "Prepare to be amazed," which set the tone for the final ads, Mr. Schultz said. Fort James and DDB staff worked with the company's technical group, he said, to "figure out some of the amazing things this product could do."

"It's rare that you have a product that's so demonstrably better than the competition," said Janet Guillet, group creative director at DDB's New York office. "We didn't rely on puffery or wordsmithing of a claim but just presented exactly what this plate could do."

The Dixie flame-thrower ad scored 392 on a copy effectiveness index where 100 represents the average ad result. The washing machine ad also scored in the top 20% of Ipsos-ASI's database. The index combines measures of consumer recall and persuasion.

ATTENTION -GETTING

"The thing that made [the Dixie ad] most effective was the torture-test demo with a flame thrower, and the fact that it was a completely relevant and attention-getting demo," said Charlie Ballard, senior VP-client service of Ipsos-ASI. "Not only was it attention getting, but it branded the ad and was persuasive."

A high consumer score doesn't guarantee success, however. Among Ipsos-ASI's top 25 is a 1998 ad titled "Foster Child" from BBDO Worldwide, New York, for Campbell Soup Co., in which a foster mother makes an emotional connection with a child by fixing a bowl of soup. The ad was part of the emotion-laden campaign that lasted less than a year and didn't reverse Campbell's long sales slide.

The previous top-rated spot ran in 1998 and was created by DDB's Chicago office, for the relatively obscure Duck Brand Correct-It Roller from Manco. It showed a little girl using the product to change unwanted entries on her mom's grocery list.

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