The Oddest Spot of 2013

Gain revolving door
We may be in here a while. How does he taste?

I’m still having a hard time believing this Procter & Gamble Gain commercial is real. Or that it isn’t some satire of the old Brand X comparison concept of the ‘sixties.

It starts off with an oddly framed shot of two people in a laundromat; in which the Gain-using man’s arm is inexplicably foreshortened to make him look deformed. It took a couple viewings to ascertain that he wasn’t an amputee.

But then the most ridiculous comparison is made: A distinctly soporific voice-over claims that  “a single scoop of Gain gives more freshness  than a whole box of this other stuff.” The “other stuff” clearly being an ill-disguised Arm & Hammer, which is also shown as half the size of the Gain box.

They never define what they mean by “freshness”. But as the spot unfolds, you get the idea that it means perfumes because the man gets trapped in a revolving door with several other people and they start sniffing him with expressions of rapture on their faces. Clearly he smells good? I guess?

Now, the idea of being trapped in a revolving door with a crowd of people all sniffing me is not my first idea of bliss. Could they be thinking, “we may be trapped in here awhile and we need to think about who we’re going to eat.”? So it was definitely an odd demonstration.

I’m sure they thought it was creative. But the analogy I got was, using Gain is about as much fun as being trapped in a tiny space with carnivorous zombies.

At the end of the spot, a hero shot comes up and the soporific voice delivers the product promise, “Get more freshness from Gain. Or get your money back. Guaranteed.”

More freshness than what? Does this mean that if I can prove there is not as much “freshness” in their box as they claim, I get a refund? How would I prove that? What do they mean by “freshness”? Is there a freshness scale? Can you run it through a mass-spectrometer or a freshometer to calibrate the freshness?

And “Guaranteed?” A guarantee of squat.

Of course, all this spot did for me was to remind me why our family uses Arm & Hammer to begin with; precisely because it’s free of perfumes and dyes. So thanks, Gain, for reaffirming our brand choice.

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