Tide’s ‘Doctor Strange’ Ads Connect MCU to Past Marketing

Diving brief:

  • Procter & Gamble’s Tide is running a tie-in with Marvel Studio’s upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” that runs through its own branded universe, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • In a teaser shared on social media last week, actor David Harbor reprises his role from the detergent dispenser’s “It’s a Tide Ad” Super Bowl commercials. As he seeks to remove a stubborn jelly stain from a shirt, one of the “Doctor Strange” portals appears in the background and rips his Tide Pods before he can wash off, Harbor noticing that the sudden disappearance is “strange”.
  • The post serves as a lead for a new 60-second spot where Benedict Wong, who plays Sorcerer Supreme Wong in the film, goes on a frantic chase to grab and clean Doctor Strange’s sentient levitation cloak before the titular hero returns to its home port. at the Sanctum Sanctorum. The ad developed between Saatchi & Saatchi, Marvel Studios, and Bullitt shows Tide trying to transfer the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) focus on interconnected storytelling to its own branding initiatives.

Overview of the dive:

Tide weaves together a multi-part narrative to support its connection to the MCU’s latest installment, which hits theaters on May 6. Bullitt, the hot creative studio, was co-founded by the Russo brothers, who have directed several MCU films.

Tide’s effort is filled with nods not only to the long-running superhero franchise, but also to P&G’s past marketing work, particularly a well-regarded Super Bowl campaign that was also done with Saatchi & Saatchi. A number of spots aired during Super Bowl LII in 2018 tricked viewers into different storylines before revealing that they were all promoting laundry detergent. Harbor, the creative star, has also appeared in the MCU, tying the two brands together.

Tide clearly believes that consumers still have warm feelings towards “It’s a Tide ad” and will appreciate the reference. The longer spot featuring Wong, which was directed by Anthony Leonardi III and executed with help from visual effects company Framestore, contains additional MCU-related easter eggs.

It begins with Wong smearing Doctor Strange’s levitation cape with a melted tuna sandwich, which he previously expressed a desire for in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” The magical hero then chases the cape through the streets of New York before to catch the flying garment in a food truck, which displays a phone number that viewers can call to hear a pre-recorded message from the character. Since the cape is so dirty, Wong forgoes the liquid detergent and instead creates a portal to steal Tide Pods from Harbor, completing the concept full circle.

Branded ties to movie franchises are common, but marketers often try to fit into the longer MCU timeline to fill in the gaps between the various entries and cater to detail-oriented fans that closely set each aspect of the franchise. Last year, Hyundai launched a campaign outlining what happened to villain Loki between his disappearance during “Avengers: Endgame” and a streaming series bearing his name on Disney+ (the ad involved a jaunt in a Hyundai) .

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