Saatchi Rids Homes of Houseguests From Hell

LOS ANGELES The second ad in a new campaign for PUR furnace filters by Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi breaks in spot markets Jan. 19, the agency said.

Called “Contaminants,” the 30-second spot vivifies household-air pollutants by dressing actors in detailed, if not scientifically suggestive costumes, and treats them as unwanted houseguests. (A 15-second commercial using one of the characters, as well as an ad for the client’s water filter, broke in the same spot markets earlier in the month.)

As “Dust” loafs underfoot in a living room reading a newspaper, “Pet dander” hangs out on the couch looking bored and sunflower “Pollen” jumps up and down on the bed while the human host sneezes, a narrator says: “Ordinary furnace filters leave some contaminants just hanging around. A PUR air filter transforms your furnace into a more sophisticated air-filtration system.”

The spot then shows the product being installed and a thermostat being adjusted before returning to a fanciful shot of the pollutant creatures kicking and screaming as they spiral into the filter. “Contaminants feel a lot less welcome,” the narrator continues, finally reinforcing a slate at the end with the tagline, “Your air should be PUR.”

“Everyone has relatives out there who won’t leave,” said Arnie Presiado, art director at Saatchi’s Torrance, Calif., office. “This reminded us of something from Saturday Night Live in the ’70s, the contaminants that wouldn’t go away. Personifying the pollutants as characters give the spots a more human character.” Presiado said the most recent ads for the product demonstrated how easily PUR filters could be changed.

“We started with really loose sketches of what the contaminants would look like,” said Presiado. “Then [director] Pat Sherman developed them into something funnier and more precise, particularly ‘pet dander.’ A lot of the comedy comes out of his directing. For instance, he put expressions on the faces that made them seem particularly unwanted.”

Chip Ross, account supervisor, said that Sherman, a director for Anonymous Content, Culver City, Calif., had a game spot on his reel that displayed the same playful attitude attention to character detail. “We tried to get in a little physical comedy,” Ross said. “[Co-creative director] Bret Ridgeway had the great idea of having them hit the filter.”

“We did want to make a point of the filter catching the contaminants,” said Presiado. “So for this shot we considered something less low tech, making it look real.”

Campaign spending for PUR’s furnace filters was not disclosed. The client is a part of Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati.