Emission impossible, advice for coaches… and a strangely reoccurring London connection

Skunky feet a question of Degree
A fast-moving action scene with comic-book-style graphics forms the setting for Unilever's campaign to introduce the newly launched Degree Gel antiperspirant for men.

Skunky feet a question of Degree

A fast-moving action scene with comic-book-style graphics forms the setting for Unilever’s campaign to introduce the newly launched Degree Gel antiperspirant for men.

In a dramatic shift away from Palmer Jarvis DDB’s humorous product demonstration spots of last year, the new 30-second spot ‘Feet’ which launches nationally on April 1, builds on the agency’s earlier ‘stress meter’ campaign.

‘It was designed to be an evolution of the old campaign but with a much bigger push and a bigger connection to the audience,’ says Michael Alexandor, category director at Unilever. ‘Sixty-five percent of Degree’s users are currently women so we wanted to push the masculinity of this product, with a Mission Impossible feel to it.’

The latest campaign, which is the result of a collaboration between PJDDB’s Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago offices, incorporates a graphic animation technique on top of live action, to generate the comic-book superhero-style atmosphere. It is designed to appeal particularly to the target demo: twentysomething males.

The spot, helmed by Hollywood director Simon West (Tomb Raider, Con Air), focuses on a thief who goes into super-burglar mode in order to nab a painting. He uses Batman-style wings to dodge surveillance cameras and tumble deftly through a laser grid, under the remote-controlled guidance of a female cohort.

When the thief approaches a heat-sensitive floor, he simply applies liberal quantities of Degree Gel to the soles of his feet and strolls across to the painting. Just as he thinks his work is done, his lookout informs him that there is one more obstacle – attack dogs, which begin to charge him as the spot ends with the voice-over message: ‘When your body heat rises, new Degree Gel kicks in in the clutch.’

‘This campaign is radically different from anything we’ve done in the past in terms of the look and feel and personality,’ says Wendy Caricari, account director at Palmer Jarvis in Toronto. ‘But the message is still the same; that Degree is body-heat activated and protects you in any situation.

‘The animation technique is designed to be very cool and different. It really adds something to the creative execution and reflects the personality of the product,’ she adds. The live action was shot in Toronto, and graphic elements including the laser beams were added subsequently by U.K.-based graphic design company, Skunk.

An early preview of ‘Feet’ also aired March 11 on CTV Sportsnet, as part of Degree’s sponsorship of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). The ad launches in the U.S on March 25, together with a similar spot featuring a female thief to promote Degree Gel for women. This one will initially run only in the U.S. but Unilever hopes to bring it to Canada in the near future.


Client: Unilever – Degree

Agency: Palmer Jarvis DDB

Account Directors: Barb Taylor & Wendy Caricari

Creative Directors: Diane Ruggie & Susan Prancia

Art Director: Susan Prancia

Copywriter: Diane Ruggie

Production Company: Imported Artists

Animation Company: Skunk

Coaches’ couch

Even coaches sometimes need a bit of advice. This is the message behind a national print campaign to raise awareness of the Canadian Hockey Association’s support system for coaches.

Parallel Strategies in Calgary has created three humorous print ads to promote the National Hockey Mentorship Program, which allows coaches to turn to experts for help with their coaching skills in a number of different areas.

In one ad you see a hockey stick and puck have been lined with velcro to help kids develop passing skills. Another features an interfering mother, trying to give advice to the coach, while the tagline reads: ‘He needs help. Just not from her. How do you deal with the problems off the ice? Coach Mentors have answers.’

Launching in late March, the ads, which are being distributed by local CHA branches, have been regionalized with logos and phone numbers for each province. They will run for the next year in local publications that cater to the hockey audience.

Got drugs?

A new campaign for the West-coast retailer, London Drugs, aims to raise awareness of the many in-store services on offer.

A series of four 30-second humorous spots, due to launch in late March on networks throughout B.C, Alberta and Manitoba, has been created by Vancouver-based Wasserman & Partners. The agency has held the London Drugs account for just a year, since it was resigned by Bryant Fulton & Shee.

‘Deserted Island’ is a parody of the TV show Survivor. It shows several contestants, each allowed to bring just one survival item, running all over the island in a state of panic. But one calm contestant tells the interviewer she brought London Drugs, where ‘you can find everything you need to survive in one convenient place.’

‘This is our first TV campaign for London Drugs so we really wanted to make a mark,’ says Alvin Wasserman, agency president and CD on the campaign. ‘We chose to evolve the humor that was created in their earlier campaigns.’ The campaign is designed to reach the retailer’s target market of 25- to 55-year-olds, with the skew varying from spot to spot.

The first spot aims to promote the overall merchandising, while subsequent spots, ‘Ex’, ‘Postcards’ and ‘Tennis’ each focus on a specific service: the London Drugs beauty advisors, in-store computer experts, and photo technicians.

Each ad ends with a jingle which gives the tagline: ‘Nobody does every thing better than London Drugs,’ an evolution of the previous tagline: ‘Nobody does it better.’


Agency: Parallel Strategies

Creative Director: Les Kahl

Art Director: Leah Gray

Writer: Melanie Woytiuk

Account Management: Dason Wells

Seen our Tower?

Sharpe Blackmore has created a print campaign to promote the Toronto-based CN Tower to tourists and locals who are entertaining visiting friends or relatives.

The campaign, which launched on billboards around the city earlier this month, will be expanding into transit shelters at the end of March.

Three ads each feature a well-known tourist attraction from another country such as the Taj Mahal, which has been incorporated with the CN Tower. The message at the bottom of each ad reads: ‘Friends in from out of town? Show them our place in the world. CN Tower. Canada’s Wonder of the World.’

‘Tourists generally know about the CN Tower but people who have friends in from out of town often don’t think of taking them up the tower,’ says Tony Miller, CD at Sharpe Blackmore.

The campaign comes on the heels of another promoting the 360 Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower, which Sharpe Blackmore launched in February in magazines and on billboards, as well as in hotels and the Toronto Convention Centre. It features an image of the CN Tower turned into objects such as a cork-screw or a fork holding a shrimp, with the message: ‘Wonderful wine, Wonderful food. Wonderful view.’

Both campaigns will run until the end of the summer.


Client: CN Tower

Agency: Sharpe Blackmore

Creative Director: Tony Miller

Writer: Ron Tite

Art Director: Robert Beattie

Account Management: Tom Blackmore & Jennifer Hrenko