If you can find that kernel, the core of what that product is, so that when you talk about it, no matter how you talk about it, people respond and say “Yes! That’s right!”, then if you talk about it in a strong, interesting, memorable way, they say “Yeah that’s right, I’m gonna buy it.”

– Jim Durfee (co-founder, Carl Ally Inc.) as quoted in Art & Copy

Every now and then an ad comes along that really nails the true essence of the product. Ads that achieve both maximum impact and dramatic sales success. Think “Got Milk.”

This Clorox ad belongs in that category:

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Think about it, bleach isn’t really about just getting things clean. Soap does that well enough. Nor is it about merely disinfecting things, although that’s closer to the mark. Bleach is about making things “ritually clean.”

When a kid poops in the tub and you bleach it, you not only cleaned the tub of poop, you removed whatever imaginary, psychological contagion might have been left over. That’s how we think of bleach — it’s beyond clean, beyond merely disinfected, and taken all the way to pristinely, immaculately, safe. And, yes, there’s a whole lot of Magical Thinking involved in this.

The essence of Clorox isn’t just what it does (Pine Sol and Lysol also disinfect), but encompasses as well what we unconsciously believe bleach does, as well as the full context of it’s use and role in our lives.

Remember that when creating advertising for your products.


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