Downy turns to the Backstreet Boys in first work from Saatchi

The P&G brand leans into nostalgia as rationale for fabric odor eliminator

Published On
Nov 14, 2022

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Procter & Gamble Co. is reaching back to the turn-of-the-millennium past and nostalgia for the Backstreet Boys to help launch Downy Rinse & Refresh.

The spot from Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, part of the multi-agency Woven Collaborative for P&G North American fabric care brands, is also a break from the past. WPP’s Grey, which handled Downy for more than four decades prior, including after the formation of Woven in 2019, didn’t do this spot and is no longer working on the brand, according to Jenny Maxwell, senior brand director on Downy for P&G.

The ad shows a woman sniffing an old Backstreet Boys concert T-shirt, disturbed by a persistent odor that won’t come out in the wash, until singing band members from an old poster for the group—riffing off the tune of their “Tell Me Why” hit—clue her in on the power of new Downy Rinse & Refresh.

“Outside of loving the Backstreet Boys, and who doesn’t, I think it really started with a deep insight and human truth, which is everyone has their favorite garment and everyone has a favorite brand,” Maxwell said.

It certainly helped that the band had a prominent song in its catalog, “Tell Me Why,” that’s a nearly perfect setup for a commercial explaining benefits of a new product.

As to the why of Saatchi on this: “The rationale being with Saatchi that they have an amazing track record of success and proven creative that they’ve developed,” Maxwell said, noting work on Tide specifically by Saatchi under the Woven banner, which also has included other Publicis Groupe shops such as Leo Burnett, and a P&G in-house media team.

The move follows a series of executive departures and personnel changes, including on the P&G business, at Grey. A spokeswoman for Grey in a statement said: "There was no competitive pitch; it was part of a consolidation effort by P&G."

“They’re fantastic,” Maxwell said of Saatchi. “They deliver great breakthrough results. So we felt like this was a great opportunity for Saatchi to bring that level of creativity to the Downy brand.”

Saatchi has tried a number of pop culture, sports and entertainment collaborations with Tide, such as with Marvel’s latest Dr. Strange film this summer and its NFL partnership, said Daniel Lobaton, chief creative officer of Saatchi, New York.

“It was our first project as part of Woven for Downy, and it felt like the right time, to be honest,” Lobaton said. “People don’t want to get rid of their favorites, and we found that everyone has this favorite band T-shirt,” but sometimes they have persistent odors that need some extra help in the wash.


Nov 14, 2022
Client :
Agency :
Saatchi & Saatchi / Woven Collaborative
Chief Creative Officer :
Daniel Lobaton
Chief Creative Officer :
Ciro Sarmiento
EVP Executive Creative Director :
Dustin Tomes
Creative Director :
David Stevanov
Creative Director :
Will Tran
Associate Creative Director :
Ben Cascella
Art Director :
Caroline Chase
Copywriter :
Malcolm Richardson
Senior Producer :
Danielle Hallack
Associate Producer :
Anna James
Sarah Beaumont
SVP Group Account Director :
Jen Brotman
Account Director :
Kohar Shrikian
Senior Account Supervisor :
Zaki Khalid
VP Director Experience Strategy :
Chris Gilbert
Senior Business Affairs Manager :
Lisa Rimmer
Senior Project Manager :
Matt McGuire
Senior Brand Director :
Jenny Maxwell
Brand Director :
Brian Cofer
Senior Brand Manager :
Erica Yuan
Matt Lumb
Manager Advertising Production :
Paul Chick
Media Director :
Matt O'Shea
Senior Media Manager :
Liv Martin
Media Manager :
Daniel Kelly
Media Specialist :
Ashley Sun
SVP Talent :
Lori Golden
Senior Director of Music :
Amanda Levine
Director :
Guy Shelmerdine
Director of Photography :
Erik Sohlstrom
Executive Producer :
Carlin Wilson-Webb
Line Producer :
Rodney Anderson
Senior Editor :
Steve Evans
Senior Mixer :
Glen Landrum
Audio Producer :
Cammie McGarry
Senior Colorist :
Olsin O'Driscoll
Color Producer :
Brad Martin
Color Producer :
Maxwell Hadson
Supervising Producer :
Lena Lobel
VFX Supervisor :
Phil Crowe
Executive Producer :
Lexi Stearn
2D Lead :
Keith Sullivan
CG Lead :
Tom Bardwell
Producer :
Anna Borysewicz
Production Coordinator :
Sebastien Le Coz
2D Artist :
Adam Deutsch
2D Artist :
Jade Kim
2D Artist :
Shauna Prescott
2D Artist :
David Sanati
CG Artist :
Juan Zavala

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