LOS ANGELES— Couch¸ a spot directed by Jan Gleie for Febreze and Grey Worldwide was part of a campaign, dubbed Breathe Happy, that recently won Cannes 2012 Creative Effectiveness Lion. The same campaign earlier took Silver at the 2012 Global Effie Awards.
Gleie, represented in the U.S. by Madheart, directed English and German versions of Couch, which was shot in Berlin. In it, several adults are blindfolded and led into a squalid apartment filled with dirty laundry, smelly shoes, musty furniture and other malodorous objects—all of which had been treated with the air freshening product Febreze. The blindfolded subjects are asked to sniff things handed to them or found by crawling on the floor and told to describe what they smell. “Fresh air.” “A fresh, clean smell.” “Like flowers.” When the blindfolds are removed from their eyes, they gawk at their horrifying surroundings in disbelief.
The subjects of the commercial were real people who were recruited on the street and led directly to a trailer for blindfolding. They were then taken to an apartment that a crew had spent hours stocking with foul-smelling objects treated with Febreze. (The couch prominently featured in the spot was found in a dump.) The responses of the subjects, as they examine their surroundings with their noses, were entirely spontaneous and unrehearsed, and recorded via hidden cameras from a remote site.
Gleie often employs real people in the ads he directs (notably in his acclaimed work for Pampers, Target and Hallmark), but the clever ruse incorporated into this spot gave it a novel twist.
The spot has been wildly successful, earning a huge number of hits on YouTube (and spawning several spoofs). Since the campaign broke, Febreze has become Procter & Gamble’s fastest growing brand.
Madheart is based in Los Angeles. For further information, call 213.995.4555 or visit http://www.madheart.com/. The company is represented on the West Coast by Lisa Gimenez Toliver (firstname.lastname@example.org), Hot Betty in the Midwest (email@example.com), and, on the East Coast, Dana Dubay (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kelly Flint (email@example.com).
Client: Procter & Gamble (Febreze)
Agency: Grey Worldwide. Ingo Klein, creative director; Eric Straub, creative director; Anja Seibert, producer.
Production: TwinFilm, Dusseldorf. Jan Gleie, director; Silvia Kirsch, producer.