Ad Nut
Jun 8, 2021

Palmolive says something about nature

An Australia campaign from VMLY&R is so message-free that it doesn't even amount to greenwashing. At most it's greenspritzing, says our pal Ad Nut.

Nature is good. Palmolive logo.

That's what Ad Nut got out of a new Australia brand campaign from VMLY&R for Palmolive.

Go ahead, watch the ad above. See if you can decode more meaning from it.

Ad Nut submits that you can't. There's nothing else there. It's exactly what it appears to be: a lazy and content-free effort to associate the brand name with some pleasant images of people enjoying natural things. There's no attempt whatsoever to explain why you should associate Palmolive with these images.

Flummoxed, Ad Nut turned to the press materials, which presumably represent what the company and its agency are up to. There Ad Nut learned that this is the company's first brand campaign in eight years in the market, and that it's meant to remind Aussies what the brand stands for.

Ad Nut read on: 

From enjoying the breeze on a high-rise city balcony to pruning unkempt jasmine that turns gardens into time machines, Colgate-Palmolive is reminding Australians to reconnect with nature in its latest brand campaign, created by VMLY&R.

The aim of the campaign is to reignite Australians’ love of Palmolive by highlighting the link between nature and Palmolive products. “Find your moment with nature” helps Aussies remember that no matter where they live, or what they’re doing, nature is always within arm’s reach.

Anthony Crewes, marketing director, Colgate-Palmolive Australia, said this:

At Palmolive, we genuinely believe that by growing our connection with nature—by really noticing, by really paying attention, by really spending time—we improve our lives in immeasurable ways. This campaign is our way of re-connecting with our customers in Australia and New Zealand by reminding them to re-connect with nature.

So apparently, the folks at Palmolive believe that there's a big problem with people not being sufficiently connected to nature. And what the brand stands for, it seems, is cajoling people to do better. Come on, people! Open your senses. Really pay attention now! You must appreciate nature more! To improve your lives! Because a giant corporation said you should! 

Ad Nut has now gone from puzzled to outright mad. 

It's hard to believe that this needs to be said at this point, but it is far, far past time for large corporations to realise how tone-deaf it is to harangue the citizens of the world for being out of touch with the natural world. The inhabitants of this planet are plenty in touch with the planet and its plight, thank you. They're also well aware of the role giant corporations have played in putting the planet into its current state. And they are finished with being guilted about it by the very entities that should be not only working furiously to fix things but also groveling at the feet of consumers for forgiveness.

This campaign is doubly annoying in that it doesn't even bother to engage with this zeitgeist. You can't even call it greenwashing, because that would imply the company had made some effort to establish its concern for, and/or its actions on behalf of, nature. It hasn't.

At most, this is greenspritzing. And Ad Nut is afraid that a little spray from a bottle of eau de environmental concern isn't going to do the job for a company such as Colgate-Palmolive, which, to be frank, has some work to do on the sustainability front. Just take this very first (and only) comment on the YouTube version of the ad, for example: 

Ad Nut doesn't know how correct Pixie Paris is (aside from their spelling). But you don't have to Google far to find Colgate-Palmolive on lists of top polluters, and at the very least the comment shows the perception the company is up against.

The campaign includes three 30-second TVCs, digital, social and in-store print materials. Ad Nut has asked a minion to contact the agency for access to those assets, and sincerely hopes the additional  materials actually make some kind of argument. Please, show us that there's a smart, honest strategy in store for us here.

But even if there is, this was a weak and frankly dumb way to start. 


Marketing Director: Anthony Crewes
Marketing Manager: Kate Hickey
Senior Brand Manager: Tina Kim
Brand Manager: Rachel Southwood

Chief Strategy Officer AUNZ: Alison Tilling
Associate Strategy Director: Alan Patterson
Senior Producer: Stevi Russell
Chief Creative Officer AUNZ: Paul Nagy
Creative Director: Ross Weythman
Associate Creative Director: Melba Gounas
Senior Copywriter Creative: Blair Panozza
Senior Creative: Bryce Waters
Senior Account Director: Aisling Fitzpatrick

Director: Justin McMillan
Producer: Caroline David
DOP: Tim Tregoning
Underwater DOP: Stefan Jose

Editor: Lucas Vasquez
Executive Producer: Will Alexander
Producer: Georgia Noe O'Brien
Colourist: Billy Wychgel
Online Artist: Doron Man
Edit Assist: Daniel Page
Rumble Studios: Engineer: Anthony Aston
Photography: Paul Blackmore

Strategy Director: Marco Del Castillo
Client & Communications Director: Laura Brady
Client & Communications Executive: Arabella Magno

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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