Just the Facts, Ma’am: Ads Without Attitude: New Isuzu, ‘TV Guide’ and Clorox Campaigns Give Up the Glitz for ’93 Hard Sell

LOS ANGELES – If the earliest campaigns of 1993 are any indication, style will take a back seat to substance in advertising this year. New TV work from Foote, Cone & Belding/S.F. for Clorox and Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif. for TV Guide both eschew the kinds of subtle messages once used for straight talk about what the product is or what it does. Though the Isuzu Trooper commercials that begin airing this week from Goodby Berlin & Silverstein/S.F. continue to use cleverly crafted vignettes that highlight the vehicle’s features, a series of 15-second spots which will make up about 25% of Isuzu’s network buy, do little more than compare the Trooper outright to its most successful rivals. ‘The Trooper was designed to compete in the upscale category,’ said Ron Dusenberry, national advertising manager at Isuzu. ‘We used the most visible (approach) to help consumers place in their minds where this new Trooper fits.’
The TV Guide campaign, which debuted from C/D with comic scenes of imaginery TV shows from hell, has now evolved to messages about editorial features. ‘The first phase of the ad campaign was designed to contemporize the image of TV Guide,’ said TVG president Joe Cece. ‘That having been accomplished, with the addition of more editorial feature pages, it makes sense to promote the content of the individual issues.’
Earlier Clorox liquid bleach ads showed bemused consumers watching their whites fade to beige from one wash to the next. The latest commercials feature two babies and a voiceover that compares the white of one’s robe to the dingy color of the other. Like the other advertisers who chose their newest approach to help solve specific marketing problems, Clorox is battling increased competition from detergents with bleach, and needs a hard-hitting message that tells consumers those other products won’t do the job as well. But Richard Ward, evp/gm at Clorox shop FCB, pointed out that these new executions may be a paradigm for ads in the ’90s. ‘In a lot of selling situations,’ Ward said, ‘the clear, sort of very direct selling proposition is what’s going to be important.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)