Super Bowl plot twist: Did Persil copy P&G's Tide ad?

Henkel: Persil spot 'quite different' than Tide's
Posted at 11:05 AM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 11:06:40-05

CINCINNATI - Did anyone else think laundry brands Tide and Persil developed very similar plots for the Super Bowl ads they ran Sunday night?

Perhaps there is a reason it’s called ad copy. 

Famous guy stains his white garment at work and solves the problem with a humorous sidekick, special effects and a superior brand of detergent.

You won’t find either brand calling out copycat on this coincidence.

“Did we know about the other? Absolutely not,” said Henkel spokesman Wilson Solano. “Actually, from my perspective, it’s quite different.”

Procter & Gamble Co. declined to comment on the similarity of its rival’s commercial, but offered this assessment of its own spot:

We participate as an opportunity to reach a big, captive audience with an entertaining yet insightful story that showcases the cleaning power of the brand.  We strive for a high craft as expected in Super Bowl advertising and we have been very happy with the response and thrilled to be recognized as one of the top Super Bowl ads by many publications including USA Today.

Persil’s ad features Bill Nye “the science guy” and actor Peter Hermann as Persil’s “stain-fighting superhero, ‘The Professional.’” It was created by TWBA/Chiat/Day and directed by Elizabeth Banks in her Super Bowl debut.

Tide’s ad was developed by Saatchi and Saatchi and directed by Patrik von Krusenstjerna. It featured Fox Sports announcers Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee, actor Jeffrey Tambor and injured New England Patriots receiver Rob Gronkowski.

AdAge magazine described it as an ambitious and costly attempt to become part of the broadcast, with Bradshaw’s unexplained barbeque stain generating Twitter commentary before viewers realized it was part of the Tide campaign.

Local marketing executive Kevin Dugan said both companies got bang for the buck with their ads, which he doesn’t view as similar.

“The ads may seem similar, but the only common denominators between them is both are Super Bowl spots from soap brands,” said Dugan, senior global communications executive for Apex Supply Chain Technologies in Mason. “P&G is trying to become part of a sports/football lifestyle, much in the way Red Bull is seamlessly associated with the extreme sports life style. Even the way P&G integrated their storyline into various points of the big game reinforced this.”

But Persil used its Super Bowl spot just “to become a part of the conversation” in laundry detergent and “selling a better chemistry message” to the 111 million people who watched the game.

“My assumption is they’re trying to gain awareness and trial, something Tide doesn’t need to worry about,” he said. “P&G is doing it to evolve their lead position to an even higher ground.”