Thursday, July 26, 2007

If you're going to make fun of Pantene ads, count me in

Yesterday I bought some Sunsilk shampoo -- ThermaShine, since its purple bottle is the least putrid color in the Sunsilk product line -- solely because of this spot. I have no idea if I'll like the product. The fragrance isn't anything special. Still, I felt it was important to honor this effort to introduce genuine humor to the beauty category. I mean really: did anyone ever laugh at Julia Louis Dreyfuss' Clairol spots or the Herbal Essences organic/orgasmic series? (Hint: No.) "Gorgeous, full hair comes with responsibilites" is a damn funny line.

But here's something interesting. Sunsilk is a Unilever brand. The humor and the tone here is sorta kinda similar to that used by Unilever's Axe. Although unlike Axe, this target is obviously female -- "the 25-year-old single woman who is in a so-called quarter-life crisis." Also unlike Axe, Sunsilk doesn't have its own Urban Dictionary entries. Oh wait. I hadn't realized the Urban Dictionary is as viable a marketing tool as Wikipedia!

Of course Dove is another Unilever brand. Dove has never tried to make anyone laugh out loud because, after all, they have an Important Worldwide Message to convey. Since their target includes older women -- even women who've survived both quarter-life and third-life crises -- it makes me wonder: does Unilever have formalized theories about humor, how best to employ it and who exactly responds to it? Does Unilever believe if you're older than 30, you're done laughing? What's wrong with me? Should I get serious and return my ThermaShine?

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