Harmon Brothers, the Provo, Utah-based social media ad agency behind viral ads for Poo-Pourri and Squatty Potty, has a new infomercial opus, turning everyday carpet drama into a daytime soap opera.
Harmon Brothers creative director Daniel Harmon said the idea grew out of writing sessions where “the idea of a soap opera felt the most memorable and it evolved into a little bit more of a telenovela,” crediting the concept to Kellen Erskine, a Harmon Brothers copywriter and comedian who has appeared on Conan and Dry Bar Comedy.
“We felt it was a fresh approach for imagining this world as a metaphor to carpet cleaning,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, the agency manages to inject its trademark blend of surreal comedy and potty humor into the mix.
The ad opens on a woman with a relatable, if gross, problem: a carpet that won’t get clean, with the butt of a canine companion bearing the brunt of the blame. That conflict is translated into daytime soap opera melodrama via a personification of the carpet as the woman’s lover.
“Your carpet is like a soap opera,” the voiceover begins, “there’s dirt in it every day,” before comparing ill-fated cleaning efforts with the futility of winning a Daytime Emmy.
After outlining the problems with other cleaning methods, the infomercial arrives back at the soap opera comparison, with the woman threatening to leave her carpet … for tile.
Soon Zerorez is introduced as the answer to all her problems.
“We knew it needed to be grounded in reality, with real shots of real examples,” Harmon said. “With a metaphor you always run the risk of not being clear enough. Especially with a brand like Zerorez that not everybody’s familiar with. We knew it had to educate. … We took this idea of two worlds and jumped in and out of them.”
He compared the approach to Pixar’s Inside Out jumping in and out of the brain of its main character, Riley Andersen, which he explained inspired some of the transitions in the ad.
Eventually the spot spins the soap opera concept out in another direction, suggesting that Zerorez, which doesn’t use soap, takes soap out of the equation to turn it into opera.
The campaign is Harmon Brothers first work for Zerorez after beginning to work with the brand late last year. Another spot is expected within a month or so and the agency hopes it’s just the beginning of a longer-term relationship.
Harmon said he was already a Zerorez customer when the brand reached out, having turned to the company after remodeling his home. “They stood out to me,” he said, “I already loved their service. So when they reached out we were super excited about it.”
While the agency has attracted increased attention from prospective clients with recent successes, Harmon stressed they are particular about who they work with.
“We’re very conscious and very strategic about not growing too fast,” he added, “because we want to maintain a sterling level of quality.”
Harmon Brothers does have plan to offer brands access to their style, beyond the ones they work with directly.
In the coming months the agency plans to introduce a Harmon Brothers University course teaching creatives “how to write, create and produce ad campaigns” with the agency’s particular approach.