Branding and Doing Dishes


dishwashing gloves

There’s this great ad running in the The New York Times showing a pair of blue rubber dishwashing gloves. Scads of copy surround the gloves and an antiseptic logo – the kind that only pharmaceutical companies can make – letting us know this is a DTC drug ad. But for a pharma ad, it’s quite good. It tells a compelling little story. Arthritis pain can interrupt the simplest of daily activities and the drug Humira can help.

So are dishwashing gloves a branding idea?

When Dawn detergent came upon the brilliant and real idea to show the degreasing quality of its product with ducks being washed with Dawn after an oil spill (nice idea John Murphy), was that a branding idea? In both cases the answer is “no.” These are demonstrations. Supports. Tactics. Memorable though they are, and as campaignable as they are, they’re not branding ideas.

For the gloves ad, the branding idea is something like “Humira frees the joints to return to life’s little pleasures.” For Dawn, the branding idea was presumably “Dawn disperses grease better than anything on the planet.” Gloves and greasy ducks may be campaigable elements or icons but they are not strategies – they are not the idea.

Campaigns come and go, a powerful branding idea is indelible. Peace!