Most companies don't do a great job of integrating themselves into pop culture.
Lots of them try, mind you, but few of them do it in a way that really makes sense.
Tide's whimsical team-up with the highly anticipated "Dr. Strange In the Multiverse of Madness" film (which opens in theatres later this week) really makes sense.
First, some context for the non-Marvel fans who may be reading this: Dr. Stephen Strange is a powerful sorcerer and a master of the mystic arts. He knows a variety of spells but also has access to several magical objects, the most prominent of which might be his red cape.
His cape, officially known as "The Cloak of Levitation", will follow Strange's commands. But from the various Marvel films in which it's appeared to date, we also know the Cloak is sentient and can act independently as needed.
So, to recap: a prominent character in Dr. Strange is a magical article of clothing that can move about on its own. And in doing so, it can get really, really dirty.
That's pretty much all you need to know to appreciate Tide's latest advertising effort.*
The campaign begins with a "teaser spot" featuring David Harbour, who you might recognize as the "Red Guardian" in Black Widow, as "Hellboy" in the 2019 remake of the film by the same name, or as the star of the 2018 Tide Super Bowl commercial that ingeniously made EVERY Super Bowl ad that year a Tide ad.
Those who've seen Dr. Strange in any of his Marvel appearances to date might recognize exactly what's going on in Harbour's laundry room behind him midway through the clip.
But remember, that ad was just a teaser, and at that point in time, the average viewer wouldn't have known Tide was working with the Marvel Universe... only that somebody has magically "borrowed" Mr. Harbour's supply of Tide pods when he wasn't looking.
Of course, you understand where those Tide Pods went when you see the full commercial...
As a giant nerd and a fan of superhero movies, I really enjoyed this commercial.
But as a marketer, I really liked the integration of the product... because it made sense.
After all, one of the main characters in this ad is a piece of clothing.
And in the ad, this particular piece of clothing gets sullied with tuna, coffee, street water, and flour from a pizza truck.
Clothes get dirty... but Tide helps them get clean.
Sure, it's possible a magical cape would also be able to magically repel stains.
But it sure is amusing to think that after every obstacle the Cloak has overcome, a tuna-melt sandwich is what can't be defeated without Tide's help.
* Okay, you might also need to know the sorcerer eating a tuna-melt sandwich while reading at the beginning of the ad isn't Dr. Strange. That would be Wong... and he knows Strange well enough to know he won't be happy about having his cloak smeared with tuna.