This Ad Stinks

We mean this in a totally complimentary way: This ad stinks.

A brand new campaign from Listerine, four out of five dentists’ favorite adult beverage, is capturing the world’s attention, as well as its dollars, with a promotion that smells a little funky.

J. Walter Thompson, the agency responsible for the Smarties commercial that had kids questioning whether they should eat the red ones last, has made mouthwash an interactive sale. Their Hong Kong office has created a flipbook for Listerine that, get a whiff of this, emits the smell of onions while an attractive woman “talks” to the user. If you’re really grossed out by bad breath, the ads will have you running to a drugstore. If you like the smell of onions, then the flipbooks are just really hot. Either way, I’m on board.

The icing on the cake, of course, is that the last page is a Listerine coupon that, according to Adweek, has achieved a remarkable redemption rate of 66 per cent. I’m not exactly sure what Listerine would consider as a good coupon redemption rate, but I do know most of the coupons that come into my possession end up as subway transfers in disguise, and are in no way “redeemed.”

A flipbook is no revolutionary product, but adding a unique spin like lathering its pages with the carcass of a dead onion changes its complexity and effectiveness entirely, and tailors it perfectly to a specific product for a recognizable brand.  This is what good advertising is all about.

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