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No Words Necessary When Familiar To All

When the feeling is so familiar, there is no need for words. Lysol’s new ad “Protect Like A Mother” by Agency McCann, is a great example of this.

The concept is something, most of us are familiar with, and most mothers would be proud to associate with. So right away there is buy-in with the message. Adding simple situations which most of us have been in – a car failing to stop at a crosswalk, getting rained on, bullies, etc…  works to reinforce the primary message, by making the whole thing much more relatable. Throw in some animals that exude the motherly vibe, and you now have the cute and cuddly appeal.

But besides the topical treatments, this spot has additional depth to it. They (McCann) made the choice to add music that is serious, yet a little playful, yielding everyone’s mother distilled into a few notes. The colour is representative (we’re not sure if it was intentional or just a good colourist working on this spot, but the colours and tones commit to the scene. Drab blues for rainy day, warm oranges for a sunny early morning, bright and open for a teenager exploring new feelings. The choices are smart and organized, much how we look at moms.).

Why no voice? While we can’t speak directly for McCann’s creative team, our guess is that it has to do with keeping the integrity of the feeling alive. Because the feeling we have with this topic can be so strong, including a voice would be a mistake. Sayings, word play, even tone could take away from the familiar feeling this spot evokes, as the audience might not be able to associate those vocal specifics with those of their own mother.

But who is the audience? In this case, Lysol is targeting mothers, mothers to be, anyone who has felt a mothers love, and of course, anyone who sees germs and bacteria as harmful to themselves and the people they love.

Now what about the one minute length? Could this have been done in 30 or 60 seconds? Yes. Each scene seems to have been developed to be able to run as a stand alone, so the brand can also get longevity out of the commercial – it’s an important thing to consider when developing for multiple platforms – release the longer ad, then follow up with a series of shorts.


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