Constipation is the villain in this new ad from Leo Burnett China. The uncomfortable condition gets personified as a creep dressed up in a poop costume; he follows you around the office, mocking you, reminding you of your misery and committing the unforgivable sin of farting in a crowded elevator.
It's an online ad for a detox juice drink from Taiwanese beverage-and-food conglomerate Uni-President; the character is called Mr. Dirt, and the idea is to remind people that their high-pressure lifestyles can bring problems like constipation, bad breath and general unhealthiness. It's also a sign that the potty humor of ads for Poo-Pourri and Fiber One has made its way to China.
"I really have to give credit to the client that they were courageous to buy this creative," said Angie Wong, general manager of Leo Burnett Shanghai. The agency worked on the positioning strategy as well as creative.
The enzyme-rich beverage, Qing Chang Jiao Zhu, sells for nearly $3, three or four times what many typical supermarket beverages cost in China. Ms. Wong points out that Uni-President has gone up-market with tea and noodle offerings too.
In China, "the trading-up trend is growing more important for us marketers, for how we position and come up with products," Ms. Wong said. China's growing middle class wants products that are higher-quality and more customized, and they're getting more health-conscious too, she said.
The flavor spotlighted in the video is noni (that's the unusual green fruit the woman is wearing on her head toward the end of the video.)
In general, beverages promoting intestinal health are a hot category right now in China, said Joel Bacall, senior client manager at The Silk Initiative, a brand strategy and insights consulting agency focused on food and beverages. Clients have "approached us to understand what specific elements make up 'gut health' in China and how to articulate that in market," he said. But there's room for fresh thinking, he added: "The great thing about this ad is its ability to cut through."