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Woolite: Don't Torture Your Clothes!


Doing the laundry can be torturous, not just to the people forced to do piles and piles of it, but to the clothes as well.

Woolite, part of Reckitt Benckiser's family of brands, depicts the metaphorical horror show that can occur to clothing in the washing machine in a new marketing campaign from Euro RSCG Worldwide. The effort, which apes the look and feel of a horror movie, is intended to depict the fear people may have of what can happen to their clothes in the washing machine, while underscoring Woolite's long-held positioning that it helps protect clothing.

"We've been trying to find the ideal way to be more relevant to the consumer, and we think this is it," Christian Ortiz, U.S. brand manager for Woolite, tells Marketing Daily. "It's not that we're changing our positioning. We're just telling it in a more interesting way."



A commercial, which began appearing on the brand's Facebook page on Thursday, looks like a trailer for a horror film. Shot in dark colors with ominous clouds, a figure drags a bag through mud to a ramshackle house. Words such as "stretch," "shrink" and "fade" appear as the clothes are put on a wringer, soaked in water and under searing lights. "Don't let detergents torture your clothes," concludes the ad, before switching to a brightly lit laundry room. "Save them with Woolite." A voice ominously whispers, "Save them," as the ad fades out.

To add a sense of realism, the company hired Rob Zombie (best known for his horror films, such as "The Devil's Rejects," "House of 1,000 Corpses" and the 2007 remake of "Halloween") to direct the spot, Ortiz says. "He's a director who really knows how to communicate horror," he says. "We wanted to communicate the right balance of horror, but not feel scared."

Having premiered on Woolite's Facebook page, the spot will roll out first to theaters over the July 4th weekend and to television in mid-July. Print and online ads will include the same imagery and feel as the television commercial (such as a sweater being stretched across an Iron Maiden-type rack). The overall idea is to push Woolite beyond the long-held image as a brand for delicates and more into everyday use.

"It won't cause damage to your clothes, including jeans and T-shirts," Ortiz says. "You want to make sure they come out as you put them in."

1 comment about "Woolite: Don't Torture Your Clothes! ".
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  1. Kristin Antin from Not applicable, March 12, 2012 at 2:32 p.m.

    Your "Some detergents torture your clothes" Woolite marketing campaign is disgusting and idiotic. I work for an organization that works to heal the wounds of torture and it seems to me like your company thinks that including torture in your commercial is a clever way to make money. Torture is very real and your use of it minimizing the experiences of people that have actually suffered from torture. The "Torturer" commercial is completely inappropriate. I will certainly never buy Woolite or any Reckitt Benckiser product and will encourage others to do the same..

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