Yash Bhatia

News or ad?: Colgate-Palmolive mimics a newspaper for its Visible White print ad

The ads featured in the major editions of The Times of India's city supplements—Bombay Times, Delhi Times, and Bangalore Times.

In Ogilvy on Advertising, the renowned adman David Ogilvy famously asserted that an advertisement need not scream its commercial intent; instead, it can mimic an editorial page to attract more readers, a philosophy Colgate-Palmolive seems to have embraced with its Visible White Toothpaste print ad.

Colgate-Palmolive seems to take a leaf out of Ogilvy's playbook by strategically fashioning its advertisement to mimic the layout of a newspaper's front page. 

The innovative newspaper campaign integrates its ad within newspaper content, by presenting the entire page as an ad, including news-like elements that create a visually engaging and contextually relevant experience. 

The print campaign cleverly leverages the appearance of an editorial page entirely dedicated to soft news features, covering topics like “OTT platforms vs silver screen,” “Is the metaverse the new fashion runway?” and “Smart shoes designed to detect heart rate.” 

These features are meticulously crafted to resemble genuine news articles, with content that earnestly addresses the respective topics without overtly promoting the brand. An inconspicuous disclaimer tucked away in the right corner, though easily overlooked, reveals the orchestrated nature of the content

News or ad?: Colgate-Palmolive mimics a newspaper for its Visible White print ad

What stands out to the reader are the individuals featured in the news stories covering their mouths in embarrassment, juxtaposed against a model featured in a Colgate-Palmolive ad with exceptionally white teeth. 

A strategically placed caption beneath reads, 'When visible teeth shine bright, other teeth stay out of sight.' This approach not only captures attention but also underscores the societal perception of teeth aesthetics. 

The advert, at first glance, appears as a seamless blend with news content, featuring editorial-style images where individuals seem hesitant to reveal their teeth. 

Upon turning the page, the reader is confronted with a full-page advertisement from Colgate-Palmolive, positioning Colgate Visible White as the catalyst for noticeable teeth whitening in just one week. 

News or ad?: Colgate-Palmolive mimics a newspaper for its Visible White print ad

Leveraging the legacy of a brand trusted globally for decades, this meta integration of the advertisement within the news format blurs the line between editorial and promotional content, a technique aimed at capturing the reader's attention and engagement, and establishes a unique positioning for the brand in a market where teeth whitening products are not as widely recognized. 

The ads for Visible White toothpaste were prominently featured in the major editions of The Times of India's city supplements, including Bombay Times, Delhi Times, and Bangalore Times.

In addition to the print campaign, Colgate-Palmolive is complementing its strategy with a television commercial (TVC) that underscores the transformative impact of a whiter smile. 

The TVC, an integral part of the new campaign, employs a humorous narrative to accentuate the practical benefits of Colgate Visible White toothpaste. By presenting relatable scenarios with a touch of wit, the brand seeks to resonate with consumers, emphasizing the product's efficacy in a memorable and entertaining manner.

The conceptualisation of the ads align with Colgate’s aspirations to lead the premiumisation of the category by establishing and owning higher-order benefits and aiming for a holistic approach to oral care.

The campaigns follow Colgate-Palmolive's The Sweet Truth campaign which aimed to address the prevalent issue of cavities by striving to reshape oral care habits across diverse demographics in the country.

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com