Ad Nut
Jul 1, 2024

Tracking down the strange scent of an elusive shampoo brand message

The mock detective drama for Clear Men shampoo by MullenLowe Singapore starring football greats Erling Haaland and Vinicius Jr is so bad it's... no, not good.

There are some times when bad is good. Ad Nut has been known to celebrate the ridiculous and  campy, alongside the truly great work, worthy of accolades.

With its latest mock detective drama for Clear Men anti-dandruff shampoo, MullenLowe Singapore comes tantalisingly close to scoring with football star power in time for UEFA's Euro 2024, only to end up with a red card, unfortunately.

The film features features Norway's Erling Haaland and Brazil's Vinicius Jr in what is meant to be a hilarious plot on the trail of mysterious white flakes left by men who are missing from action, having been lured into using women's scented shampoos that aren't formulated well for men by a nefarious bald businessman out for... revenge?

Advertising referees should give more leeway to campaigns that are out to have a bit of fun. Having the guts to take football stars with minimal acting skills and place them into a film plot is courageous. The inclusion of policie detective drama tropes cutting over to scenes of deranged villians in their subterranean hideouts brings enjoyable moments. 

But aside from the fantastic shot of Haaland mock-stereotypically unleashing his cascading locks, the film's shortcomings in execution strip away any points put up for bravery. Placing stars who can't act into leading roles only works if the jokes are aimed at themselves or the punchlines fall flat. Beyond this, the additional part that includes Vinicius Jr in Brazil seems tacked on after the main film starting Haaland neatly wraps. The Clear Men brand has an affinity for using football celebrities and their appearances feel shoehorned into the script. 

Can it still work well for the brand? The message seems to be that men suffer from dandruff if they're lured into using lovely scented but ill-formulated shampoos for men's needs. But we're not told why exactly. We're more likely to remember the scenes and the stars than any compelling reason to buy the shampoo.

MullenLowe Singapore's comedic bravery worked much better in last year's Prism+ electronics ads, where the brand message shared in the punchlines.

Launching as a trailer ahead of full-length movies along with TikTok-styled content on social media, the work will be appreciated by football fans and might earn a few chuckles. Opting for a funny drama is a more inventive way to use football stars than a predictable ad showing them on the pitch for sure, yet is unlikely to be memorable enough to move the needle for the brand.

Campaign Asia

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