I know, I know…some categories of advertising are hard to make palatable (let's agree now that almost every expression I use in this post is going to have some opportunity for sniggering or ambiguity).
But first - this ad (from McCann in Singapore) - holed up in a dark place a number of brown figures are seated (and not a stool in sight). One marks the days of their confinement on the wall. They huddle round a vent or shaft…wait, is that what I think it is? A sphincter? Are they turds?…
Yes and yes. This is potty humour. Whether it is potty humour of the highest order or the lowest - I couldn't possibly know.
I assume that, even in the land of excellent spicy food, some Singaporeans suffer from constipation.
I know that in the healthcare category a lot of the advertising definitely suffers from constipation. It can seem so forced that every product has either a bizarre and, sometimes, unfathomable metaphor that an art critic with a degree in semiotics would struggle to decode; or the ads simply show a product with a member of the intended audience hallucinating about having the most fabulous time of their lives.
If there is one thing I know about healthcare advertising it is that any message's salience is mostly a matter of time.
Let me give you an illustration. When we were developing the Family Health Diary brand my colleagues and I were routinely mocked (that's right - mocked - there were even parodies on broadcast TV). "This stuff is so terrible…" And yet brands that featured on the platform routinely outperformed both their prior sales and increased category share - sometimes dramatically.
Here's what happens: a remedy for a problem it is little more than interesting if you don't have the problem.
Given the world is filled with distractions you will either ignore or mentally note then forget the message. The former scenario is more likely ("oooh, cat video, funny…like and share.").
If, however, you have been cramped up with constipation for…let's just say 'a while'…then the presentation of Ducolax with the promise of being able to retake charge of your entire life will be like manna from heaven (because I think that is a subtext of this ad - projecting a feeing of entombment - the cause and the effect are the same). When you suffer from a chronic health condition you will be highly sensitive to information about that condition. When you were on the brink of trying 'anything', a snake oil colonic, leeches and lychees - salvation came in a box. Someone once invented a term for this - apertures of receptivity (no sniggering in the back).
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.