Armor All Ads Invite Young Men To Feel the New Car Passion

By Joan Voight

SAN FRANCISCO–Armor All is trying to reenergize its brand with an emotional appeal to young men in its first campaign by DDB Needham.

The agency’s San Francisco office is unveiling a national TV, print and radio campaign this week, backed by a $20-30 million media budget, according to sources. Ad spending has nearly tripled since the Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company was acquired by Clorox late last year and the account was moved from Foote, Cone & Belding’s San Francisco office to DDB because of conflicts.

The new work is a departure from FCB’s former ads touting the features of the car care products with endorsements from retired sports celebrities.

‘Research conducted under new ownership showed that to regain its stature as category leader, Armor All had to be younger, hipper and more emotional,’ said Valerie Vento, agency management supervisor. To achieve that goal, the shop adopted the tag ‘It’s new car juice’ and filled the spot with high-performance cars, jazzy music and special effects, she added.

The advertisements seek to tap into the passion young men feel for their vehicles and focus heavily on image, said company officials.

The spot, running on cable and network TV, has a plain black backdrop and shows dirty cars from arty angles. The cars then burst through a giant bottle of Armor All and emerge looking like new. ‘The gold standard for car care is to make your car look like it is new again,’ Vento said.

Print ads, running in magazines such as Men’s Health and Sports Illustrated, employ the headline ‘Knight in shining armor’ and portray young men and the vehicles they love. The print work also features various Armor All products and the company’s Web address.

Agency copywriter Dave Wolf and art director Larry Gilmour crafted the campaign under the guidance of creative director Kenny Dudwick.

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