Persil not looking so white hot

Detergent manufacturer's latest ad marks 100 years of the brand, but consumers are not attached to it.

One continuing theme to emerge from the recession is that consumers are returning to brands with heritage.

Advertisers have been quick to capitalise on this development, with numerous recent ads reminiscing about past campaigns or the history of a company.

Examples of advertisers that have taken this approach include Virgin Atlantic, which focused on the strength of the brand through time; Renault, which ran an ad aimed at adapting past beliefs; and Heinz, which aired a montage of past ads for its brand.

The latest ad for Persil - Tough but Gentle for 100 Years - is of a similar ilk to the Heinz campaign and conveys the message that Persil is still true to itself 100 years on. The campaign first aired on 4 April and features a collection of ads from the brand's history.

The ad likens Persil to its dominant target audience (mothers), noting that mothers are tough but gentle - as is Persil.

However, a browse on internet forums suggests some mothers find the ad condescending, in particular the opening line of the ad: "What is a mum? A mum is someone who saves to buy a pretty hat and then buys a cricket bat instead."

The accompanying chart shows the scores for positive buzz (respondents who have heard something positive about the brand in the past two weeks), positive recommend (respondents who would recommend the brand), female respondents and total respondents.

After the ad first aired, positive buzz increased for female and total responses - both peaked at +8, increasing by three and four points respectively, suggesting both sets of respondents had a positive opinion of the ad.

It is noteworthy that total respondents score the brand slightly higher than female-only.

However, the number of respondents who would recommend the brand does not increase for either set of respondents.

This is a concern for Persil. On one hand, the ad has been acknowledged by the brand's target market. On the other hand, however, it appears consumers are not that attached to the Persil brand, meaning Persil has its work cut out in terms of increasing consumer advocacy.

Richard Wood, www.brandindex.co.uk

METHODOLOGY: YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday to form its BrandIndex, a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors. It is measured on a seven-point profile:
1. Buzz
2. General impression
3. Quality
4. Value
5. Satisfaction
6. Recommend
7. Corporate reputation.
In addition, we supply an index score.

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