Monday, April 11, 2005

Apprentice Promotion Sample Arrives

In a show airing Thu Feb 10 2005, contestants on The Apprentice (NBC) were tasked with creating TV spots for Dove's launch of its Cool Moisture Body Wash with Cucumber and Green Tea. In other words, you get a salad and drink while you scrub up. (ha ha ha snort snort cough)

During real commercial breaks, viewers were invited to request a free sample. Well, I got mine in the mail today. Note the Apprentice logo (click to enlarge). It prevents me from confusing this sample with any other Dove sample I might have received through another TV show product placement. (Heh.)

Actually, if I had decided against it, Unilever NA would have no one to blame but Trump's reality show fiasco. The Week 4 episode made great drama with a twist, but what a risk and total time waster for Dove's marketers.

Neither Net Worth (Street Smarts) nor Magna (Book Smarts) had the marketing savvy to pull it off. Net Worth had no clue about how the product was used (body wash on a face), while Magna resorted to sleaze (fondling a cucumber). In fact, if I had used the word "mediocre" to describe their lame ad concepts, I would have been way too kind. Both teams stank...embarrassingly so.

Because of the terrible results, Dove is offering a Marketing Boot Camp to all Apprentice candidates, beginning with Kristen. Boot Camp will include an immersion at Dove headquarters with sessions from the industry leading beauty brand on advertising and brand marketing, as well as a critique on why the ads were so bad. -- PR Newswire via Forbes
"You must have been crazy to think the stupid cucumber idea wouldn't offend anyone," said The Donald. "Those commercials were just awful. Dove is better off making their own ad." And make their own ad they did. It was delightful, with copy that conveyed a refreshing product.

Take a fresh look at yourself with touches of cucumber, green tea, and 1/4 hydrating lotion in new Dove cool moisture bar and body wash," said the female announcer. We saw images of different women in work clothes versus casual clothes. The spot was colorful, light-hearted and fast-paced, transforming a businesswoman, a Vegas show girl and a Geisha into relaxed women sans the trappings.

The Dove folks knew how to turn lemons. Cucumbers. Whatever. They left nothing to chance with extensive cable and network buys. Versions of the spot aired on ABC World News, EXTRA, Texas Justice, The Simple Life: Interns, Celebrity Justice, Passions, Late Night With Conan O'Brien and America's Funniest Home Videos, to name a few placements, according to Google Video, my source for the stills.

Dove had the real spot ready during the show, right after everyone suffered through the amateur versions. What a difference in execution. I'm still hunting around the Web to find video archives of the "good" commercial so I can point you there.

Now advertising mindshare relies on repetition so I couldn't connect the URL to Dove after seeing the ad just once. It took me forever to recall the address so I could visit the site later. It's not their fault, either. I mean, who sits in front of the TV with pen and paper in hand to jot down addresses? Okay. (sheepish smile) I do...sometimes.

But you gotta hand it to Trump, The Apprentice and Dove for the excellent cross promotion, too. It mixed outgoing TV messages with incoming Web consumer requests. The telling will be in the market share over time. I haven't torn open the small pouch found in the box yet, but if I use it and like it, I'll be back.

To see what all the fuss is about, go here, click on Exclusive Video. BTW, the two spots are at the end of the video segments for Week 4. For the best analysis of how The Apprentice is making minced out of paying sponsors, check out AdRants' comments on the show's advertising tasks.

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