Was The “Tide Pod Challenge” The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Tide?

In 2016 a lesser known YouTube user shared a video of himself eating a Tide Pod. After that The Onion and College Humor posted satirical content about Tide Pods and their new ‘delicious’ flavors. Then in December of 2017 meme accounts suddenly had a new topic to obsess about which resulted in the Tide Pod Challenge going viral.

Suddenly the YouTube challenge culture saw eating Tide Pods as the next opportunity to get more views with the hopes of being seen as funny, not seriously encouraging others to do the same. Unfortunately, after this videos gained some traction many teenagers and children began making their own Tide Pod Challenge videos that eventually were picked up by news outlets. After news stories began breaking, all eyes were on Tide and their concentrated pod product as a safety hazard.

Because of this Tide was in the spotlight and not for good reason. The brand was challenged with protecting their reputation while maintaining their dominance in the category. What marketing tactics could they deploy to distract from a story this big?

Two words: Super Bowl

Tide isn’t new to the world of Super Bowl commercials, however, they knew that it would take extreme creativity to stand out in the crowd of advertisements. Their plan was simple, hijack all of the “Big Game” commercials in order to make every ad a #TideAd.

Throughout the game Tide purchased 4 ad slots to air in each quarter to insert the brand in the conversation in unique ways. This concept was extended into the digital space by having celebrities, such as Betty White, post their own #TideAds to their social platforms.

These ads were among those being praised by viewers and publications in the advertising industry for being the most successful and most entertaining.

Why it’s hot: Tide successfully redirected the conversation around their brand through an iconic advertising strategy. Less than 6% of the 164,000+ mentions of the brand during the game was about Tide Pods. Since these commercials aired on Sunday evening, the general brand conversation is finally outnumbering the Tide Pod Challenge chatter.