At first glance, this Dulcolax ad draws you in with its warm sepia tones and lovely vignetted glow. Then you look closer, and … oh my God. Are those turds in prison?
Indeed, orange is the new brown in this extremely odd laxative ad, showing what appear to be the stinky love children of the Michelin Man and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Turdles?) awaiting sweet release from bowel purgatory. And they're huddled around … is that … ? No, it's not the Sarlacc Pit that almost eats Han Solo and Lando Calrissian.
"Only you can set them free," explains the tagline. If the point is to make the viewer as uncomfortable as a constipation sufferer, mission accomplished.
The agency, McCann Health in Shanghai, says the ad ran throughout China. "Instead of approaching the dramatization from the patient's [point of view], we approached it from the excrement's," the agency says. True enough.
Brand awareness is up "from almost zero to 21 percent" among the target, McCann claims, and the purchase intention rate increased 57 percent. The agency adds that it expects similar success from the next round of "media bursts" this year.
Below is the full ad in all its glory. Click to expand, if you dare.
Agency: McCann Healthcare Worldwide, Shanghai
Executive Creative Director: Kevin Lee
Creative Directors: Danny Li, Band Bai
Art Directors: Danny Li, Band Bai, Qin Qian
Copywriters: Kevin Lee, Bati Wu
General Manager: Joanne Wang
Business Director: Yama Chen
Account Manager: Celine Lv
Production Company: Visionary Group