By Barry Janoff
January 30, 2017: Some 115 million are expected to tune into the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show on Feb. 5, starring Lady Gaga, in Houston’s NRG Stadium.
But that number could be impacted by a new campaign from Procter & Gamble’s Febreze, "Odor Odes," starring actress Kathryn Hahn.
The concept of the effort is to pay "witty tribute to the things we love, even though they stink." Febreze’s new OdorClear technology "acts like a stink vacuum" to eliminate smells on such items as couches, kids, dogs and in cars and bathrooms.
But will one leg of the campaign, “Halftime Bathroom Break,” actually piss off Lady Gaga by implying that people should use the time between the second and third quarters to relieve themselves rather than watching the halftime show?
In the ad, which will air late in the second quarter of the game, we see shots of people watching football on TV or sitting in a stadium. Most of them are squirming in their seats, as if they have an urgent need to be somewhere else.
Hahn says in voiceover, "On Super Bowl, for two-plus hours of must-see football and can’t-miss commercials, we do the unthinkable: We hold it. Until that halftime whistle blows."
At which point we see herds of people stampeding like cattle (visualized by a shot of stampeding cattle) toward bathrooms.
"I love you, halftime break," Hahn continues. "But sometimes you stink." The solution. "Febreze with Odorclear."
“(The commercial) provides a humorous look at the much-anticipated and treasured Halftime Bathroom Break," said Febreze. "Imagine the game without it!”
People also are encouraged to share their stories via social media using the hash tag #BathroomBreak.
"With over 100 million fans expected to watch the Super Bowl this year — and the anticipated spikes in halftime bathroom usage —we felt it was the perfect time and place to unveil our first-ever Super Bowl ad,” Martin Hettich, vp-P&G Home Care North America and Brand Franchise Leader for Global Air Care, said in a statement.
"We’re capturing the experience of millions of game watchers as they sit cross legged, squirming and holding it until halftime. It’s a witty and relatable moment that Febreze is uniquely poised to own on game day," said Hettich.
P&G is an official partner with the NFL, as are products including Febreze and Mr. Clean.
Sending fans and TV viewers to the bathroom isn’t the only goal in Febreze’s new campaign.
"If you aren’t cleaning the air and the things you love of odors, you’re breathing it all in," warns Febreze. "All 500 trillion odor molecules that may be in your home before you are even able to smell them.
According to Febreze, it’s OdorClear technology "seeks out odors and cleans ’em away." Among the "stinky molecules" that OdorClear targets: "last night’s savory Brussels sprouts or this morning’s bacon, the post-thunderstorm parfum from your dog, Gordo or the fast food funk your kids left behind in your beloved minivan."
In "The Couch," we are told that even though people love the family couch, that piece of furniture gets mistreated by the odor of barefoot, backseat and (family dog) Gordo’s . . . everything."
In "Bathroom," it is the basement guest restroom that needs cleaning. "Your privacy makes you my No. 1 place to go No. 2," Hanh says in voiceover. "But sometimes you stink."
A third spot, "The Febreze Song," is a straight-up melodic ode to people and things that are loved but stink.
"I love you but sometimes you stink/But it’s okay, the new Febreze is here/It cleans odors away/So I can keep you near."
According to Hahn, "I’m very excited to be the voice of Febreze’s new 'Odor Odes' campaign. I love that we can humorously riff on all of the things we love the most that stink.
"That is real life, people."