Thanks to the help of Ogilvy Paris, we now know that exhaling warm air into the palms of our hands is not the only way to tell if our breath is failing us. Yesterday, the très créatif shop released their new effort for Tic Tac cleverly titled “The Worst Breath in the World,” and no description could better explain it than “It’s a breath of fresh air,” pun intended.
Taking place in the city of Rouen, the spot begins by showing us what appear to be two locals asking two unsuspecting victims for directions. In the process of offering assistance, the so-called “lost locals” pass out in the middle of the conversation, leaving both people being asked appalled. The collapse of both of the “locals” causes the chain reaction collapse of all the other citizens in the square. One by one, the citizens fall to their knees and onto their heads. While the victims remain in a state of comical awe, a large screen projects the on-going domino-effect collapse of the citizens of Rouen, from shops to cafés to alleys. Upon the final few who make their way down emerge the sounds of some of the previously fallen murmuring the words “Tic Tac,” urging the citizens who kindly offered directions to nibble on one of the minuscule mints in order to reverse the damage their bad breaths have cause. Upon consumption, the collapsed crowd resuscitates and the entire city celebrates.
Though it is certainly not far from the truth that flash mobs are to 2011–2012 what bad reality TV is to America, there’s no denying the approach Ogilvy has taken to explain a foul-smelling mouth has caught us off guard. Sultry, Scandinavian-looking bombshells or radical dudes who seem to wear snow gear to bed blowing ice crystals out of their mouths are quite frankly beginning to grow old on the breath freshener category, from mints, to gum, to strips. Promises of longer-lasting flavor like vows of eternal love, staged kisses that freeze upon contact, and just the word “ice” in general have turned the category into the euro pop of the music world, and efforts like these bring the promise of melting our hearts rather than brain freezing us. A short, sweet, and bare strategy takes us from zero to complete understanding and even sympathizing with the message, and considering how incredibly hard it is to nail “less is more” these days, Ogilvy’s golden egg looks like it might mean brighter days.
Hailing from the world's fried food and scorching temperatures capital, Christine Amy is a Puerto Rican copywriter with a passion for words, music, and simple ideas. She has a Master's in Advertising Design from Barcelona, and is a freelance writer for both Beyond Madison Avenue and Dailybeatz, an indie music blog.