Was in my pharmacy yesterday and noticed some pretty impressive POS (point of sale) material for Reckitt Benckiser's Dettol anti-bacterial handwash. [Can't find it replicated on the web - hence the solo packshot]. The irritating aspect is that the visual perpetuated a marketing myth by showing a pic of a little kid and his dog - and horror of horrors - his hands were close to the dog's mouth! Implication: Canine mouths are teeming with bugs. Wrong, Dettol! You lose credibility by claiming to know about bugs when you clearly don't know that a dog's saliva is bacterio-static. Doesn't mean their mouths are clean, but even we humans don't have the bacterio-static advantage.
The same mythology was used in a marketing campaign for the Colgate group's [don't even try searching their deeply dysfunctional local and US websites] Protex antibacterial soaps. [Yeah I know this isn't the SA packaging - but you try find the local one on the web!] They also show the much-maligned mutt with 'thingys' floating around its chops - the implication being that the dog's mouth is the filthiest thing in the house. Try mom's unwashed hands. Or the nurses in your friendly Gandhi Memorial Hospital who were too lazy to wash hands between paediatric patients and were implicated in the deaths via Klebsiella bacteria, of umpteen babies as a result.
It really is time that obviously ill-informed brand managers and their illiterate and socially-untutored ad agency so-called 'creatives' (God help us) did some eclectic and extensive reading and stopped lapsing into stereotypes and canards when they're looking for a creative positioning.
Just by the by, the excesssive use of all of these anti-bacterial washes and surface sprays have awful long-term implications, particularly for children. Immune systems used to be able to cope. Now they will be taught that they don't have to. Stoopid, counter-evolutionary move. Plain soap, plenty bubbles, does the best possible job. The top epidemiologists around the world state that. The rest is a lot of marketing hooey - and bloody badly executed at that.
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Posted by Clive Simpkins