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“Proper bants” and “second families”: The Dettol campaign that went viral

“Proper bants” and “second families”: The Dettol campaign that went viral

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

“Going viral” is often seen as the holy grail of social campaigns. Getting your name and your work widely seen, shared and engaged with. But, as Dettol found out last week, having your brand name splashed across the four corners of the internet isn’t always the marker of success you’d hoped for.

The topic of such heated debate? The cleaning supplies manufacturer’s ‘Keep Protecting’ ad campaign. Specifically, it’s back to work’ tube adverts, which list the various elements of office life commuters may have missed during six months of staying home.

Featured on the list are everything from “Caffeine-filled air” to “Proper bants” and a reference to colleagues as “Second families” With a structure that has (corporate) undertones of Irvine Welsh’s ‘Choose Life’ Trainspotting speech (incidentally, the author added his own voice to the digital cacophony, sharing the photo and simply captioning it ‘Choose death’), the internet was quick to voice its collective opinion. And to say it wasn’t entirely positive would be an optimistic take.

Twitter users leapt to the platform to parody the ads with their own views on what office life meant to them. Guerrilla submissions included “Passive-aggressively labelling food,” “Bad I.T.” and, more damningly, “Eating your cornflakes with a crippling sense of anxiety about catching a deadly virus and passing it on to at-risk strangers and people you dearly love.”

The campaign, conceived by McCann London, has been widely accused of reducing corporate life to a series of hackneyed cliches, which don’t represent the reality of working in an office in 2020.

Dettol’s mission – preventing the spread of illnesses caused by germs – is more central to the way we live now than ever before. So, it’s unfortunate that the tone and content of the advertising campaign has landed as disingenuous, verging on political. Many confused the campaign for government communications encouraging workers back to the office, as oddly the ads don’t feature Dettol’s logo or its brand name anywhere. Which is, perhaps, a blessing, given the response.

Tool of the week

The pandemic has changed the way we work across the world, with millions of us finding new ways to maintain focus and be productive outside of an office environment. Naturally, we are looking for tips and tricks on how we can work, live and socialise in this new way.

Handily, on LinkedIn Learning there are courses for a wide range of interests and disciplines. You can develop your emotional intelligence, become an Excel whizz, or even improve your listening skills.

LinkedIn has revealed that, during lockdown, people have spent triple the amount of time learning on LinkedIn, with two of the top three courses undertaken related to remote working.

Read more about the top 20 courses here.

Top tip

This week’s tip comes from the Innovation team as a collective.

In the midst of so much uncertainty, setting concrete plans can feel like an act of misplaced faith. But Los Angeles – the host of the 2028 Olympics – is hoping that planning eight years into the future should be a safe bet.

The city has revealed its logo for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games with 32 different versions by various personalities – including pop stars, actors, artists, and of course, athletes. Some of the big names who’ve got involved include Billie Eilish, Reese Witherspoon, Lolo Spencer and Ezra French. The logo itself is a bold logotype, where the ‘A’ of LA is adaptable and has been given a personal touch by each of the contributors.

View them all here – and let us know your favourite.

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