Tide's Super Bowl ad stars Jason Alexander as a soiled hoodie
Procter & Gamble brand is back in game backing Hygienic Clean, a product line buoyed by the pandemic and the loungewear it popularized
Jan 28, 2021
For the fourth time in five years, it’s a Tide ad in the Super Bowl. And has been the norm of late, it’s a small-screen star, not a football star leading the lineup.
Jason Alexander stars as a badly abused hoodie via computer-generated imagery in Tide’s nearly annual trip to the Super Bowl with a 60-second spot in the second quarter.
The Procter & Gamble Co. brand for the second straight year appears to be the sole laundry detergent brand in the game after Henkel’s Persil opted out following 2019, the only year in the past five Tide hasn’t appeared.
Tide’s ad is from Woven Collaborative, P&G’s multi-agency agency for North American laundry brands with personnel from Publicis Groupe, WPP, and P&G in-house media operations.
The “Seinfeld” star is backing Tide Hygienic Clean, a line that promises to remove “visible and invisible dirt” and a centerpiece of the brand’s advertising on NFL games all year. Prior ads focused on hygienic, socially distanced versions of the traditional jersey swaps among rival players, facilitated by a remote-controlled robot version of Peyton Manning. The brand shipped in to wash and swap jerseys this year after the NFL banned the traditional swaps between players as part of its pandemic protocols.
But as has been the pattern since 2017, when Terry Bradshaw current and former NFL talent takes the bench in Tide’s Super Bowl spot in favor of a TV celebrity.
“We did some research on hoodies with celebrity faces on them,” says Daniel Lobaton, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. “Turns out, there’s a weird combination of what makes these great. Ironic and iconic nostalgia is something we threw around in the creative department. Jason brings everything we were looking for in this story. He was amazing to work with and full of ideas of how we could make this funnier. He was so specific with his acting, giving us a range of emotions—for a hoodie.”
In his CGI hoodie incarnation, Alexander mugs his way through a variety of indignities, including being on the receiving end of dog drool and food droppings.
Suited to the pandemic
Tide Hygienic Clean seems perfectly suited to the pandemic, given that people have been washing their clothes after fewer wearings since it began as part of a broader trend toward heightened hygiene awareness, according to P&G vice chairman-chief operating officer Jon Moeller. But the line was under development for a year prior to the pandemic, according to P&G.
Either way, the launch, which began with the NFL season, is doing nicely, says Amy Krehbiel, brand VP for North America at P&G. Overall P&G laundry sales were up 12% last quarter, according to IRI data from Evercore ISI.
Big face hoodies like that Alexander has been superimposed upon have become increasingly popular, Krehbiel says. And she notes that the hoodie generally has become a sort of de facto work uniform for many people working at home during the pandemic.
“You may not think about it, but even the hoodie you wear through a day of virtual meetings goes through a lot,” she says. “And that’s exactly what our spot is geared to say this year.”
Alexander also shows up in another 11-second spot Tide has produced that will run only online. The spot shows Alexander shopping online for a hoodie bearing his image—which seemingly has some game-day apparel sale potential.
Join Ad Age on Feb. 2 for Ad Age In-Depth: Super Bowl, when we will bring together innovative brands, agency leaders and some of the top creators to discuss how they navigated the pandemic and prioritized diversity in their creative for the Super Bowl. RSVP here.
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Daniel Lobaton is chief creative officer of the Woven Collaborative in addition to Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. Paul Bichler is chief creative officer of the Woven Collaborative.