Daytime television is, of course, all about the soap: the soap products, the soap operas, and of course, advertisement upon advertisement showing people using cleaners, detergents, scrubs and rubs to do their chores -- and enjoying it. Procter & Gamble's Cheer brand decided to try something different with its latest effort. Instead of trying to convince people that doing laundry with the right suds is a ticket to Nirvana, it tried entertainment.
Cheer's "Brighten Bay" campaign is also a commentary on the very tradition of soap-sponsored daytime drama, with its Web-based tongue-in-cheek meta-soap opera centered in the eponymous seaside town with its requisite handsome doctor, venal villains and sirens, all scheming against each other. It stars actual soap opera actors, such as Cameron Mathison of "All My Children" who plays Doctor Dan.
Alberto Huerta, associate marketing director at the P&G unit, says necessity was the mother of the Brighten Bay campaign. "It's fun and very different from what the category has seen in a while," he says. "Cheer has tremendous equity out there with consumers, but what we realized is that we needed to provide a stronger value proposition -- including [the message of] a new, lower price -- and we had to make sure consumers are aware of it." But, he adds, consumers are also immune to traditional detergent ads. "They are tired of the 'same old same old,' so we see the new campaign as a way to be more relevant."
The company also launched a TV campaign in November to support the Web-centered soaps, with the ads also featuring Mathison. Huerta tells Marketing Daily that the company is promoting the site through media tours, in-store promotions featuring the actors and online marketing. The campaign was developed by Leo Burnett's Toronto office.
Huerta says the Cheer value proposition around "sparkling bright" at a lower price is part of Cheer's traditional advertising, but it is furthered through character development in the Brighten Bay campaign, with its "bright" and "dingy" characters. "We played around a lot with the language," he says. "Once people get involved with the campaign, what we give them is a more entertaining branded experience around the soap-opera spoof; at that point we don't see the point of leading with a product message," he says.
The product is everywhere in the parody, as is the message about Cheer. The doctor, whose clothes are always spotlessly bright, never misses a chance to grab a bottle of Cheer to explain his sartorial splendor to swooning patients. The fact that there happens to be a bottle of Cheer in a patient's hospital room is part of the parody.
The company is furthering the campaign with a promotion in which consumers can audition for the chance to be a walk-on in an episode of "As the World Turns," which is in its last season this year.
One overall winner for the Brighten Bay idol will get a walk-on role in "As the World Turns," which is on its last season, as well as a three-day trip to New York City for the taping, plus headshots. "What we are excited about is that people will get involved not just in submitting, but in viewing the different videos," says Huerta. Cheer will also award prizes for people who cast votes, he says. "We are already getting submissions and it's early in the period, so we expect there will be a lot of videos submitted."