Let's skip a step: P&G effort for Cascade nearly spotless

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Marketer: Procter & Gamble Co.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New YorkB
Ad review rating: Three and a half stars

The agency is Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. The client is Procter & Gamble Co. The category is dishwasher detergent. So you just know the advertising is going to be memorable.

You think we're being sarcastic? Shame on you for your shocking prejudice.

The campaign introducing Cascade Complete happens to be quite memorable. Also quite amusing. Also strategically and executionally solid. Also an extremely good example of how a one-two punch can attack the same problem in complementary ways.

The USP for the new, improved Cascade is impressive on the face of it: You can put the dishes straight into the dishwasher without rinsing, and they'll come out spotless.

If Procter can make consumers register the claim, and further make them believe it, the world of dish washers with dishwashers will beat a path to its door. Thanks to Saatchi, that is precisely what will occur.

Two of the three spots concentrate on communicating the benefit. One shows a young college graduate, still in cap and gown, explaining to his proud family what he'll do next. He responds with his plans for retirement. In other words, he's skipping a step.

Likewise, the second commercial shows a handsome young couple in a restaurant, on a blind date.

He: "I'm so glad Susan set us up."

She: [Smiling warmly] "Me, too."

He: "Really?"

She: "Yeah."

He: "What are you doing Saturday?"

She: "Uh, nothing"

He: "At all? I went ahead and I booked the church. Yeah, I picked out the flowers. Daffodils! Niagara Falls. The honeymoon suite. [She looks at him strangely.] What do rabbits eat? .|.|. [He displays a ring.] Carats!"

Voice-over: "Want a step you can really skip? New Cascade Complete helps you skip scrubbing and rinsing. Finally skip the sink. Foods just dissolve away."

The scene reopens with the guy alone at the table.

He: [To other diners] "She's going to the bathroom. She'll be back."

VO: "New from Cascade. Cascade Complete. Skip the sink."

This is, of course, a cute and vivid expression of the "skipping a step" concept. But having viewers understand the claim is one thing and having them believe it is quite another.

Enter, then, a third spot, in which a young woman sits in the foreground tasting a freshly iced, pink layer cake. She then removes the icing-smeared plate and heads for a dishwasher arranged oddly in the far left corner of the room.

The smeared plate goes in without rinsing and, after a time lapse, comes out shining clean.

It's a demo, and a good one--but it's more than that, too. The interior of the room is funkily decorated, and the image in the frame is funkily composed to create an offbeat appeal that draws you into the wordless slice-of-cake demonstration in a way that some dreary slice-of-life never would.

This, of course, all begs the question of whether Cascade Complete is as effective with real-life dishwashing challenges, such as dried spaghetti residue.

It had better be. Otherwise, making this extravagant claim is skipping a step, and the world will beat a path to the FTC.

n n n

Ad Review Investigation. While the rest of the media world was obsessing over subliminal messages in political advertising last week, the Ad Review staff was courageously uncovering a scandal of far greater import.

We refer, of course, to the "Jujube" spot for E-trade from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

In the ad, a young executive approaches his company president seeking a raise, while the boss sits daydreaming about Jujubes. "I love Jujubes," the boss says, repeatedly, and finally offers his employee a Jujube.

This "humorous" ad has been on the air for almost a year. However, the candies offered by the boss are not Jujubes at all, but Jujy Fruits, a softer, plumper and sweeter confection.

Were there also marbles under the candy to make them appear more enticing? We called agency partner Rich Silverstein and demanded an explanation.

"If you slow it down," he said, "you see the word 'rats."'

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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