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About Colgate's recent spell of unconventional ads

The brand's recent ads are atypical of the category standards of white coats and pseudo-docs. Here's why.

The latest advertising campaign by Colgate MaxFresh has veered off the beaten path of the ‘Dentist recommended’ trope, opting for a humorous twist that involves the iconic characters of ACP Pradyuman and his CID team. 

Under the banner of ‘Neend Bhagao Taazgi Jagao,’ the campaign endeavours to tackle the mishaps of the morning routine, showcasing the efficacy of Colgate MaxFresh toothpaste with its cooling crystals. The initial ad film that was launched in November 2023, saw a doctor enter an operation theatre while still dealing with residual sleep from the morning. This inevitably leads him to a sequence of goof-ups in the hospital.

However, what sets this campaign apart is not just its message but the unexpected errors peppered throughout the ad itself, leading the CID team on a comical investigation. The first ad of the campaign had some deliberate discrepancies within it, which have now become the premise of the new collab.

Afaqs! spoke to Juneston Mathana, the executive creative director spearheading this campaign from WPP@CP, an integrated global WPP team dedicated to serving Colgate-Palmolive worldwide, to unravel the intricacies of this collaboration and understand the rationale behind Colgate's departure from conventional advertising strategies.

Juneston Mathana, executive creative director, WPP@CP
Juneston Mathana, executive creative director, WPP@CP

Mathana discloses that the inception of the CID collaboration arose from an impromptu brainstorming session during the pre-production phase of the original Colgate MaxFresh brand film. He remarks, "There was no specific brief for the CID campaign... The idea of preventing early morning goof-ups was approved. But then a crazy notion struck us during a brainstorming session. What if the ad itself contained goof-ups?"

The decision to deliberately incorporate errors into the ad was strategic, as Mathana points out, "Intentionally planting these goof-ups in the film allowed us to extend the campaign in an unexpected manner, inviting audience participation in uncovering these hidden gaffes."

Regarding the collaboration with CID, Mathana explains the team's desire to transcend the traditional boundaries of advertising contests. "We wanted to create an engaging experience beyond a mere spot-the-error competition... When we showed the Doctor Sleep edit to the client, they appeared akin to detectives, thus paving the way for the collaboration with CID," he states.

This unconventional approach to advertising marks a departure from the norm within the dental care category, which typically leans towards sterile depictions of white-coated professionals. We've seen multiple creatives from the agency for Colgate over the past year or so, with very similar undertones that break the category stereotypes. These ads include The Sweeth Truth, Morning Goof Ups, and now this CID collab.

Mathana provides insight into this departure, stating, "Colgate, as a longstanding market leader, possesses the liberty to communicate its message in a tone of its choosing. What appears humour-like could also be provocative. The storytelling element is pivotal, rendering our campaigns both memorable and distinctive."

Of notable absence in these ad films is Colgate's brand ambassador, a conscious decision according to Mathana. "Colgate's campaigns are crafted to convey the product's story in a compelling manner, fostering enduring brand affinity," he clarifies.

In terms of media channels, the campaign has been strategically tailored for digital platforms, reflecting the evolving landscape of advertising consumption. Mathana shares insights into their approach, stating, "The collaboration with CID aims to drive engagement and encourage viewers to revisit the original ad. Leveraging online publications, messaging platforms, meme pages, and influencer collaborations, we curated a digitally integrated experience."

With its blend of humour, unexpected plot twists, and beloved characters, the Colgate MaxFresh CID collaboration is poised to make a lasting impression on audiences, offering a refreshing take on dental care marketing. As the campaign unfolds, it remains to be seen if it entertains and also ignites conversations surrounding morning routines and the importance of a fresh start to the day.

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