The smell of pine is synonymous with cleanliness – something that works in the favour of trusty cleaning product Pine-Sol. Despite its website claiming that ‘since 1929, Original Pine-Sol has been cleaning America’s toughest dirt, grease and grime’, the brand’s latest campaign – named ‘Pine-Sol Presents’ – is more concerned with the things its product can’t do.
The set of spots – from digital agency Critical Mass – ran as YouTube pre-rolls, geared towards the site’s most-searched terms, which include ‘cat videos’ or ‘make-up tutorials’. In one spot, a woman is putting on make-up in a bathroom mirror. “Susan has a big date tonight,” says the narrator. “Will it work out? We don’t know, we’re not romantic. But we do know how to clean that sink she’s in front of.” It concludes; “We don’t date.” Other spots in the series assert that Pine-Sol hasn’t got eyes, can’t get mad and doesn’t get out much, either.
The aesthetic of these ads – all bright colours and capital letters – the light, silly humour, and pre-YouTube video placement collectively suggest that the spots are designed to appeal to a younger, more internet-savvy audience. And as the ads roll out a growing number of situations in which its product can come into its own – promising to clean carpets, cookers, gym clothes, hardwood floors, and more – its all-in-one appeal seems ideal for Gen Yers, who spend an average of ten hours less spring-cleaning than their older counterparts.
Pine-Sol doesn’t date or get mad, but it’s pretty good at cleaning stuff
Pine-Sol (2016) ©
The tact these spots have taken isn’t just honest, either – it’s relatable. Its admittance of defeat will inevitably ring true with Gen Yers – this generation is more self-deprecating than any other. In short, it’s talking to them in a language they understand – something Amsterdam-born hotel chain Hans Brinker and UK-based beer brand Newcastle Brown Ale have similarly found success in doing.
By targeting this audience on the platforms they frequent – 72% of Gen Yers use YouTube – Pine-Sol hasn’t just exemplified its ability to help people keep their homes clean, it’s also mopped the floor with traditional cleaning advertisements, by engaging with a generation that isn’t necessarily that keen on cleaning. "The work was designed to resonate with the audience by talking about the things they're talking about," says Stefan Smith, senior copywriter at Critical Mass, which developed the campaign. "Our target is too clever and focused to watch something they don't connect with right away, and Pine-Sol isn't something they are naturally enthused about."
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Hannah Callaghan is an account executive at Canvas8. As an Advertising Management graduate, she’s an expert in all things celebrity and pop culture.
03 Oct 16