Okay, I may be (and in fact, am) in the minority on this issue. Three-fourths of viewers who bothered to record their opinions about the current Vaseline Intensive Care lotion commercial online thought it was right on target. I don’t. Here’s my reasoning, and I might add, I have seen more than my share of focus groups on consumer products across a wide spectrum of consumer products, from cigarettes to bread to cough medicine.
Let’s start with the basics: Vaseline is an old brand. It wasn’t always a skin lotion. It started out as petroleum jelly. Then, the brand expanded decades ago to include skin lotion and other fripperies. Of course, I understand why the poohbahs at Vaseline would like to create a market among younger women. Mainly because more mature women, well, they tend to buy cheaper stuff because they’re on Social Security, or (banish the thought) they pass away. Need to fill the pipeline of purchasers.
So how do you make an old brand appeal to new consumers? In my view, you need to bring the older purchasers along while appealing to a younger market as well. I don’t think it brings older women along to show them a taut young body that they can’t even envision as theirs. The spot features a 20- to 30-something woman wearing a sleek, tricky leotard (without underwear, ladies) with a thin vertical strap holding it up. Sexy! That’s not me, or any of my women friends.
How many woman who are long-time fans of the Vaseline brand remember when (or if) they looked like this? How many mature women think Vaseline Intensive Care lotion will make them look like this?
Maybe this is just an issue for me, the primary mature woman in question. I’m trim and healthy, but at my age, no matter how much Vaseline Intensive Care lotion I apply, my skin ain’t gonna get more elastic. Wrinkles happen. And fortunately, so does wisdom. Accordingly, I don’t see any advantage to paying more for Vaseline lotion. Store brands and St. Ives are often just as effective. Who was it said, “We grow too soon old and too late shmart?” Not true.
Which leads me to wonder: what age are the women who bothered to say they think this TV spot is spot-on? I’m willing to bet they’re about the age of the model in the spot. Not women who remember when Vaseline was just petroleum jelly. Women who still think paying more for a brand product will enhance their looks.
I would like to see sales figure for Vaseline Intensive Care, in the wake of this advertising push. Of course, there will never be a direct correlation, because many other factors are involved. Distribution, promotions at the grocery headquarters level and at local level, weather, and so on. But I’m betting somebody at some ad agency has put this spot on his or her reel with pride. Yes, it’s nicely produced (but what are those blue protuberances in the background? Boobs?). I would put it on my reel, too. But what about results? Oh well.
So sez I.