Laser-beam blue and spray-tan orange.
Those are the scary shades of common household cleaning products that make Maya Rudolph uncomfortable, as she describes them in a new campaign for Seventh Generation.
The actress and comic—an alum of Saturday Night Live and movies like Idiocracy, Bridesmaids and Sisters—stars in three ads for the environmentally friendly packaged goods marketer. It's the first work for the master brand from 72andSunny's New York office.
In "Weird Dyes," Rudolph laments the Day-Glo nature of conventional soaps—including one she describes as "Yippee ki-yay yellow," a moment that can't help but evoke Die Hard (though John McClane's filthy tanktop is nowhere to be seen, even if it could serve as a fitting product demo).
In "Common Scents," she takes aim at the fake smells that grace the labels of the same products, indicting fantastical offenders like "Fiji Funk," "Cabo Clean" and "Siberian Sunbeam" (because nothing says warm and welcoming like the tundra).
And in "Not Blue Goo," she sets her sights on traditional laundry detergents, dinging them for distorting the colors of the clothes they're meant to clean. (Competitors would likely counter that the effect is actually meant to counteract natural yellowing, and is therefore desirable—but that's for the chemists to duke out.)
Overall, Rudolph—a mother of four and an actual user of Seventh Generation products, according to the company—is a reasonable fit for the strategy. Highlighting the impossible, industrial colors of less natural soaps is a relatively clean and clear way to emphasize Seventh Generation's core proposition.
She gets that point across well enough, even if the moments she has to play her delivery straight feel the most contrived, and the least entertaining—as if the copy might be trying a bit too hard to charm viewers.
By contrast, the ads work best when Rudolph's oddball side shines through, with her left-field kickers clocking in as the best parts. Take the brilliantly creepy "Clear as an angel's giggle" punch line in "Weird Dyes." Or the moment when she throws her voice while dangling a T-shirt with her own face on it at the end of a 15-second cut of "Not Blue Goo." It's one of the more entertaining attempts to play up a campaign hashtag ever (even if the :30 sadly takes it in a different direction).
All in all, it's a solid showing, building on 72andSunny's strong send-up of millennial advertising for Seventh Generation's reusable water bottle brand, Bobble, last fall.
It's probably worth noting, though, that brightly hued soaps are nowhere near as disconcerting as the sports drinks that also look like window cleaning fluid—even if Gatorade is what plants crave.
Client: Seventh Generation, Inc
General Manager & Chief Marketing Officer: Joey Bergstein
Senior Brand Manager: Julian Blazewicz
Agency: 72andSunny New York
Managing Director: James Townsend
Executive Creative Director: Guillermo Vega
Director of Production: Lora Schulson
Director of Strategy: Tim Jones
Creative Director/Designer: Wei Wei Dong
Creative Director/Writer: Matthew Carey
Designer: Rob McQueen
Writer: Matt Vitou
Executive Producer: Kerli Teo
Sr. Producer: Ryan Chong
Strategy Director: Marshall Ball
Sr. Strategist: Jennifer Lewis
Strategist: Carol Chan
Group Brand Director: Marianne Pizzi
Co-Brand Directors: Brittni Hutchins & Lauren Smith
Brand Manager: Jonathan Weiss
Interactive Producer: Vishal Dheiman
Jr. Art Producer: Brigitte Bishop
Business Affairs Director: Julie Balster
Business Affairs Manager: Marissa Burnett
Jr. Business Affairs Manager: Laura Fraser
Production Company: Pretty Bird
Director: Matt Piedmont
Executive Producer / Vice President: Ali Brown
Producer: Bernard Rahill
Editor: Patrick Colman
Assistant Editor: Andre Castiglioni
Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
Head of Production: Jen Sienkwicz
Producer: Penny Ensley
VFX Production Company: Method NY / Company 3
Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
Sr VFX Producer: Heather Saunders
Lead Flame: Tom McCullough
Colorist: Tom Poole
Sound Design & Mixing
Nylon Studios NY
Sound Engineer: Rob Ballingall
Sr Producer: Halle Petro