Two Ducky Plays Behind P&G’s Dawn Campaign

September 9, 2014

Ever wonder what influence strategies are behind the campaigns of simple soaps?  First there was Dove and its unashamed celebration of age and wrinkles.  And, lately again, there’s Dawn dishwashing liquid and its big reach for all things wild and cute.  Here’s how it works:

Screenshot 2014-09-09 14.24.52Just when you thought that soap saves dishes, Procter & Gamble marketers are here to tell you that, well, Dawn saves wildlife.  And not just any flora or fauna, but darling little ducklings and any other birds bemucked by nasty oil spills.  That’s a long way from dishes, and it’s a stretch in the extreme for Dawn’s long-time manufacturer.

But any maker of a commodity is, as a rule, desperate to differentiate their soaps, paper towels and toothbrushes from competitors.  And, as it happens, Dawn apparently works better than, say, Palmolive to remove oil from fragile feathers.   So by way of the Recast, P&G uses its obscure application in bird rescue to position the brand as nature’s friend.  Building on this handiwork, it then applies the play of association, the Screen, to attach to its bubbly product the more noble symbols of conservation and animal care.

You run plays.  Plays are run on you.  From the kitchen sink to the great outdoors.