Pantene Swissh – The most annoying ad on TV?

It’s probably either testament to me being a core target for Pantene or evidence of how much crap TV I watch that the Pantene (and Cat deeley) Swissh ad seems to be hitting me everytime I hit the remote control. As I sat this morning watching New America’s Next Top Model it hit me yet again and, rather than cringe at Cat Deeley’s terrible “Swwwwissssh” voice over, with laptop poised and ready,  I thought I’d check out the website that Cat keeps telling me to look at – more out of marketing curiosity as opposed to learning how to swish my locks.

The first stumbling block, and marketing error – make the URL easy for the consumer to remember (and type)… I went online and typed in the URL as I heard from Cat “Visit make a swish dot com”

Nothing there…

Error 2 – make sure you make it easy for users to find the ad if they dont remember the URL. Surely if you’re spending a huge chunk of TV budget you can afford some PPC advertising around some of the key terms swish, Pantene, Cat Deeley….. I googled Pantene Swish, thinking this was the obvious, and went to the brand site (top result) – I reached a static page about swishing and was shocked that a TV ad was backed up by 3 steps on how to swish – surely there had to be more?! Error 3 – There was more content (see later), just not linked from that site!

Determined I rewound on the SKY PLUS to double check the URL on screen (Error 4 – how many consumers would really do that!)  and realised that the voiceover of “visit make a swish” was slightly misleading… It should have been

  Make, hyphen, a, hypen, swissh with two s dot com.

Not quite as catchy…

Once there the campaign site has a lot more content from both the brand, and consumers. I wont review it’s challenging usability, nor the relevancy of the content back to the brand but it appears to have some impact with 995 swisshes uploaded and 17k views (Visited Oct 2010). In terms of KPIs I dont know what they would have intended but, considering the media backup that this campaign is getting, and based on the sort of KPIs I know I would set for this type of campaign media spend,  this seems to be at face value a disappointing level of interactions – although without seeing the figures or final ROI I can’t really comment!

I think the key challenge with this campaign is what makes the content interesting – whilst uploading a swissh to enter a competition is an incentive to participate, there isn’t really a massive incentive to explore the content or engage further. There is only so much interest, and so much viewing of “swisshes” you can do! With such a minority of individuals within the population actively uploading content, and the majority of consumers only prepared to share, comment, or passively view brands,  ensuring that there is interesting content for the majority is almost more important for these mainstream brands.

That said there is a good attempt at through the line integration with this campaign. The TV advertising tying into the digital work, partnership deal online/offline with Cosmopolitan including an investment in a 3D cover to grab impact, a blogger outreach program and ending with an experiential stunt in December with the worlds biggest Swissh at the clothes show live.

I can’t help but think this campaign will do well on the impacts and see an immediate uplift in sales / trial purely due to its consistency in it’s approach and frequency of impacts that it must be achieving. Despite this, for long term brand impact, and for it’s creativity in the digital space this FMCG brand, as with many others, still have a lot to learn to digitally engage audiences fully and truly involve or immerse them in the brand, although perhaps this was never an objective in the first place…