Clean Up Your Act

Among the 2017 Super Bowl advertisements, there was a Tide commercial with a particularly funny, interesting and somewhat compelling scenario. However, the story and characters were not entirely impact, unless you knew who the celebrities were in the commercial.

In this Tide advertisement, an old man played by Jeffery Tambor came into a laundromat to pick up his shirt. Employee Rob Gronkowski greeted and with an awkward humor, selected Jeffrey Tambor’s shirt from the others on the rack. The clothes spin around while Gronkowski stares at Tambor for just a bit longer than people normally would.

This creates an awkward yet humorous tension. Gronkowski took the shirt of the rack to reveal that he had cut the sleeves off. But at least he got the soy sauce stain out of the shirt! The commercial ends with the slogan “There’s a better way” and the Tide logo.

Tide 2017 Superbowl Advertisment

What is interesting about this advertisement is that it KIND OF tells a story, KIND OF has compelling characters and as a result, is KIND OF humorous.

There really is no exposition to this commercial or introduction to the characters. Tide probably assumed people would know the celebrities well enough to find the humor in this and relate to these characters better. I do not think that this is the case. Both are either B list celebrities or A list celebrities in their particular field, but the fields of football and acting are typically separated. There is a clear building moment when Gronkowski is scanning through the clothing for the correct shirt. The climax is when the shirt is pulled out to reveal that there are no sleeves, the humorous climax. I don’t know if this is exactly as dramatically laugh out loud funny as it was probably intended to be. Then, Tambor argues that he does not want the shirt and begins to leave, but there is really no solid resolution.

Overall, the commercial is missing some key elements to be a complete and dramatic narrative that really leaves an impact on the audience.

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