Before I was taken aback by the new Facebook, I was actually planning to blog about an ad campaign that caught my eye on the R train back to Queens a few nights ago. The different intimate images of people kissing, holding each other, and just general togetherness had me figuring there was a new dating or social networking site in town. With labels like, "the original instant message" and "send & receive" accompanying romantic kisses, my theory seemed likely. But narrowing my eyes to see the small logo in the bottom left corners, I realized that these weren't OkCupid's new advertisements - they belonged to Dentyne gum.
The campaign is called, "make face time." and features six different posters of couples kissing, friends hugging, laughing, and just generally being close. Each one bears its own communication technology inspired label branded across it, with a very small picture of a Dentyne gum pack and the tagline, "make face time." in the bottom left corner. The campaign plays off the idea that many people do not communicate in person as much anymore, but suggests that chewing Dentyne gum can facilitate this now rare, intimate form of communication. Aside from the direct references to newer technology, these ads aren't really anything new; fresh breath and the ability to get closer to people because of it has long been the cornerstone of marketing for the minty gum industry.
Yet I was really confused at first and it honestly took me a good minute to really think about it and figure it out. I understood the relationship between gum and fresh breath and kissing, but others like the "friend request accepted" poster with two friends simply hugging tightly to each other didn't make the "fresh breath" and thus, "Dentyne gum" connection for me. The "make face time." tagline helped to clarify the idea, but it was so small and shoved into the corner that I didn't even see the tag for a while. Plus the non-kissing ads seem incredibly out of place to me. The faces don't even necessarily face each other in posters featuring non-smooching pairs, so what would the fresh breath really matter? Sure, they're all warm and fuzzy images, but I just don't see much of a powerful connection for gum in those pictures without a kiss. Overall I think the campaign is nicely done, cute, and creative, but the message isn't as clear as it should be. The whole "icy breath" thing from Dentyne Ice, Winterfresh, and other gum commercials might have been a bit overdone, but at least the image was crystal clear.