consumer packaged goods

Tide's 'Cold Callers' Push Detergent's Environment-Themed Campaign


Procter & Gamble detergent brand Tide has upped its campaign to get users to start washing their clothes in cold water, with new commercials that feature Ice-T and Stone Cold Steve Austin as “Cold Callers.”

In five commercials from Saatchi & Saatchi that began airing last week, the rapper and former pro wrestler also call other celebrity personalities, including Mr T., Vanilla Ice, “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy, and hockey legend Mark Messier.

In the first ad, Ice-T’s conversation with a caller leads him to ask, “Why wouldn’t you turn to cold? It helps the environment.” Seated next to him, Austin, reading woodenly from the Cold Call script, asks a caller, “Did you know washing in cold can save you a hundred dollars a year on your energy bill?”



Apparently unswayed, Austin fumes at the person on the line: “What? ! Because Stone Cold says so! Plus, Tide cleans great in cold.”

Their call finds Mr. T and his cell phone in a locker room, and Austin tells him, “Tide cleans better in cold than the bargain brand does in hot.” At that, Mr. T, seated near a pile of his sweaty clothes, exclaims, “So Mr T can wash his Hanes tees in cold!”  (Hanes is partnering with Tide on the cold-water push.)

Messier, for his part, tells the Cold Callers he’s already using cold water to wash. He spends much of the commercial explaining to the Cold Callers how to correctly pronounce his last name. (“Mess-C-A.”)

The ads have a certain where-are-they-now kind of appeal that may keep viewers watching. So it's easy to overlook that as a detergent commercial, these new spots make only the most rudimentary pitches. No “whiter whites” in these. Instead, the selling points are saving the environment and saving money by not using as much energy.

In fact, though the commercial displays Tide’s new Hygienic Clean 10 X Heavy Duty variety, that product is never mentioned or explained. In other marketing materials, P&G says the product is  “formulated with 50% more cleaning power [than Tide Original Liquid] and was specifically formulated to perform better in cold than bargain brands in hot.”

Tide has been on a campaign to get consumers to switch to cold-water washing, though it seems second nature to many that to really get clothes clean, the hotter the better. Tide says two-thirds of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the Tide lifecycle come from consumers, because 90% of the energy in a load of wash comes from heating water to do it.

Tide’s goal is to get three out of four laundry loads in the U.S. and Canada done using cold water by 2030. It says that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to what removing one million cars from the road would accomplish.

That goal is part of P&G’s platform to do “2,021 acts of good” this year -- a new campaign aimed at inspiring people to take action and spread kindness.

That effort builds on P&G’s support of the United Nations’ Global Goals through the company’s Lead With Love campaign, which gives consumer rewards for doing good.

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