Meet the creatives behind tide’s latest super bowl Lauren Varvara, Liz Harrison, Preethi Balakrishnan, and Kelsey Boylan.
After all the success Tide had in the last couple of years how was the brief different this time?
LV: Hahahah. It wasn’t. At all. Our goal is always to be the most loved brand in the Super Bowl and achieving that once is a huge accomplishment — trying to do it multiple times when you’re up against the best of the best feels nearly impossible. But that’s also what makes it so satisfying. Every time you think the idea tank is empty someone comes up with a nugget that gets everyone excited again.
LH: Lauren’s right, but the thing that made each new nugget of an idea all the more exciting is that there was one thing new about this year’s brief: it had to sell a very specific product proposition, not just the brand.
Recent data shows that although housework has become more equitable between men and women, women still made 80% of household purchases and spent considerably more time on chores. As a woman, is this something you think about when concepting for a product like Tide? How do stereotypes affect or not affect your approach to creative?
KB: I think a big part of our job is making sure we aren’t only speaking to women. Advertising reflects culture but it also shapes it. There’s always a balance to strike between making something feel relatable but also not playing into stereotypes.
PB: It’s always in the back of my head, even if it’s not always relevant. I think it’s important to use topics of diversity and inclusion as a filter when creating new work, woman or not.
LV: I try to make sure my gender affects the work in a positive way. When you’re in a male-dominated field, you are often the only voice representing your gender so it’s on you to use it and speak up when something feels patronizing or out of touch. No one can argue about your experience.
Given that you had more than one spot running in the super bowl and clearly more than one person working on the campaign, how did everyone work together/figure out their role?
LH: It was some weirdly magical blend of an amoeba and a hot potato. Most of the time we worked as this blobby amoeba, with ideas coming from different corners of the room that would move the whole group forward. Other times it was like tossing around a hot potato via WhatsApp and Google Docs. A need would pop up, and whoever was available would jump on it. With so much to do, most everyone’s role becomes “what needs to get done and how can I help?” Even when that’s writing scripts on the way to set, motion sickness is damned.
LV: What she said.
KB: What they said.
PB: Do I have to say it?
Besides your own amazing work from the SB, what is your favorite SB ad of all time?
KB: It’s hard to just pick one but I always find myself going back to the Weight Watcher’s manifesto from 2015.
LV: There are so many that were smart, or powerful, or silly that I like but if I had to choose the one that simply tickled me..I would have to go with the Snickers Betty White You’re Not You spot. Good plain fun layered on top of brilliant insight.
LH: I’m a dinosaur who pines for the days when our attention spans were a little less manic and we were able to save the brand name for the end of a really good story, so I’m going to say Volkswagen’s “The Force.”
PB: I love ETrade’s “Wasted.” So simple, yet so smart!
Finally, we want to know who inspires you creatively? Any advertising heroes?
LV: Maddy Kramer. 😉 But also Susan Credle (and Oprah).
LH: Lauren Varvara. And Mary Wells Lawrence, who was basically Peggy Olson and Don Draper rolled into one.
PB: Shout-out to Phyllis Robinson, for doing what she did so that we can do what we do.