Moms will likely relate to this unusual ad for Lysol, which likens them to wild animals as they go to extremes to protect their kids from harm.
Created out of McCann New York and directed by Tom Routson alongside the VFX pros at Framestore, the ad depicts a day-in-the life of children and their mothers, but the mamas here are real beasts of the wild kingdom, including a bear, a vulture, an elephant and baboon.
A girl crosses the street holding the hand of a grizzly bear, who rises on two legs as a car comes speeding toward the crosswalk; a vulture lifts its wing to shield another child from the rain while a teenager at the mall gets cleaned and preened by a chimpanzee, just as a trio of his cute classmates come walking by.
The idea seems quite unusual for the product-filled approach of ads in the cleaning products category, with neither a can of Lysol, nor a housewife spraying at germs in sight.
According to McCann New York Co-CCO Thomas Murphy, the brief from Lysol was "as to unify the brand and define its purpose. Traditionally, Lysol has been much more about 'germ kill,' but we felt there was a bigger emotional truth to the brand. The instinct to protect the ones you love is universal, and Lysol is designed to help people do that."
Animals proved an ideal way to illustrate that truth. "There is something deep and universal in the motherly instinct to protect. and it goes beyond human moms," said Murphy. "Everyone knows that in nature you don't mess with the mother -- wasn't that what 'The Revenant' was all about? Also, sometimes animals are the best way to get at something very human, [like with] 'Charlotte's Web.'"
The new spot is part of a broader platform called "What It Takes to Protect." It will honor moms and dads' protective strength and Lysol's role in enhancing it.
As for not including real "human" moms in the new ad, that was a significant decision. "We considered it very seriously," said Murphy. "But in the end we felt the mom was implied, and that rather than ending on a human mom, which in some ways would have made it very specifically about one person, by leaving her out we would let all moms, and hopefully parents in general, see themselves in it."
Casting the ad proved an entertaining hurdle. "There were intense debates around which animals to feature," said Murphy. "The bear was a no-brainer, given the whole mother bear thing. But the mall scene scene was trickier. The client wanted a lemur. Erin and Lauren, the creatives, wanted a mongoose. We compromised on a baboon."
"As we started to research animals for the film, we realized that there are all these incredible facts about the way moms protect in the wild," Murphy added. Not all the fun tidbits uncovered during research made it on screen, but consumers may experience them in an interactive installation Lysol will be holding at New York's Brooklyn Bridge Park on Mother's Day Weekend, "Protect Like a Mother: An Exhibit Presented by Lysol." It will celebrate mothers as the fiercest protectors in the animal kingdom, featuring vignettes of both animal and human moms.
"Mother alligators carry their young in their mouths. Mother orangutans are in constant contact with their babies for the first six months of their lives. There are mother octopuses that blow bubbles for their young for months at a time to provide oxygen. Human moms have been known to lift cars, and walk into tornadoes for their kids. It occurred to us that it would be a great basis for a kids' science exhibit."