Today we’re looking at a brand that you’ve probably come across. Dr. Squatch is on the map because of several successful ads over the last couple of years on Facebook and YouTube. Though, a lot of that comes from comedian James Schrader’s excellent presenting and writing skills.
It’s interesting to look at the new ad without the guy who’s become the face of the brand. But they’ve got it right once again.
Here’s the creative breakdown:
Why is the ad so good?
On the surface, this looks like a very simple ad to create but it avoids the mistakes that most people would make.
First, they made an excellent casting decision.
It’s easy enough to find a handsome man to be the face of a male grooming product. But they also got someone who has plenty of charm and acted out ingredient confusion in a very natural way.
Too many times, brands think they can do this in-house or they pick any actor who likes the part. This usually results in the owner awkwardly trying to be a comedian or not enough thought going into casting.
You don’t need an expensive actor, but you do need people who understand the style and tone you’re going for. It takes effort to find these people but when it works, you can build that partnership for years.
Second, they dialed back the comedy to make the ad more natural. The ads with James Schrader have a very specific style and tone. Rather than keeping the same kind of script, they’re trying a different approach.
It’s smart because the internet gets sick of things quickly. One of the downsides is that the ads feel familiar because the Dr. Squatch character is very noticeable. It’s not a problem so far, but you never know when ad fatigue or message fatigue might set in. It’s a good idea to stay ahead of it and try something new.
If you open VidTao and search for Dr. Squatch, you’ll see that they’re using mash-ups of their various ads to keep the account fresh. They do this without changing the winning angle, which should always be the focus.
By keeping a winning angle and making small variations, you can get better results from a different frame or genre.
If you don’t try anything new, you won’t give yourself the chance to find a winning angle and unlock more scale. Instead, you risk having nowhere to go when ad fatigue sets in and your message doesn’t work anymore.
Recently, they gained excellent user responses by filming live ads on the street that show the reaction from women. Seeing how well this worked, they brought a girlfriend into the ad to include this element as well. It shows how well they are balancing the process of trying something new while keeping things that work.
The frame is a problem.
By simply reading out the strange-sounding ingredients in his regular body wash, it makes the chemical names sound suspicious.
Yet, what’s interesting is that they never actually sell Dr. Squatch soap as the solution to this problem. The old body washes get thrown out and Dr. Squatch is now in their place. Even though they don’t explicitly say it, we assume this soap is natural and not filled with scary chemicals. This goes to show that even ads can sometimes use the oldest advice in Hollywood:
“Show, don’t tell.”
This is a comedy ad but done in the style of user-generated content (UGC).
They filmed it so it almost feels like an influencer video. Though, if you look at the variety of camera angles and cuts, you’ll see they have a great balance between feeling natural, being visually interesting, and having a dynamic edit.
They opened with a simple joke about the smell before going back to the angle around unnatural ingredients.
But let’s acknowledge that some things in advertising will stay the same, no matter the platform. Good-looking people in less clothes help sell things.
Thank you, I humbly await my Nobel prize in stating the obvious.
It’s a paid product, so you click and go straight to the sales page.
Compare to a Competitor
Let’s take a quick look at how another men's grooming brand tried the comedy ad approach. Focus on the previous point about casting and the value of getting a real actor.
Even though the script isn’t perfect, the basic idea is good and there are some decent jokes in there. Yet, everything gets let down by amateur acting.
By getting a half-decent actor, you could elevate this whole ad - even if you kept everything else the same. You don’t need higher production or better editing, even if a few more cuts would help break up the man in the mirror.
There are two main points to take away today. The first is that if you are going for a comedy ad, you have to have talent that can carry it. If you’re lucky enough to have a founder who can do it, then by all means use them. But when in doubt, hire a pro. You’ll be wasting the rest of the filming budget if you don’t.
The second is to make sure to set aside some time and budget to test new ideas. Even with a winning account, if you stick too close to one note, you’ll have no idea what to do when it stops working.
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Have a great week!
The VidTao Team
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