This article is part of our Digital Feature on Household.

There’s nothing better than word of mouth to give a product the seal of approval. Vanish is continuing to use people power to maximum effect by ploughing 100% of its advertising budget into TV ads pushing the cleaning brand’s Tip Exchange, its 30-second challenge for Vanish Gold and its PowderPowder carpet cleaner.

Dramatic demos and tests – including how to get mascara stains out of a towel – make cleaning power the forefront of the Reckitt Benckiser brand’s messaging, resulting in Vanish topping the ad spend charts for 2014 with a £12.9m spend, a rise of 27% year on year [Ebiquity 52 w/e 28 February 2015].

And Vanish isn’t the only brand for which Reckitt Benckiser is reserving the entire advertising budget for TV. All of Cillit Bang’s £8.5m budget – a rise of 27% year on year, making it the top third spender – went on TV ads with the brashly enthusiastic Barry Scott continuing to front activity for the brand.

This time Barry is seen riding a roller coaster and a giant slide to convey the cleaning power of the brand, with the hashtag #barrysback.

Dettol saw the biggest jump in traditional ad space spend with a 59% increase to £9.4m. Activity focussed on sponsorship of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me cooking show, which saw idents focussing on kitchen hygiene and the brand’s ‘safe hands’ proposition.

The brand spent 99% of its budget on TV, with just 1% on print advertising featuring celebrity mum Rachel Stevens fronting its baby blanket donation charity campaign. The corporate responsibility drive appealed to parents to donate a blanket to help children in need of a clean and safe environment while highlighting the danger of bacteria on blankets with the strapline ‘keep the memories, not the bacteria’.

Household: top 10 advertisers

MediaTOTAL CinemaOutdoorPressRadioTV
  Spend (£) Y-O-Y % % % % %
Vanish £12,948,196 27.3% - - - - 100.0%
Dettol £9,442,270 59.4% - - 0.2% - 99.8%
Cillit Bang £8,512,166 27.2% - - - - 100.0%
Persil £7,605,566 21.1% 3.2% 7.3% 21.9% - 67.6%
Ariel £6,181,943 -31.1% - - 15.4% - 84.6%
Finish £6,183,621 24.9% - - - - 100.0%
Glade £5,007,629 9.0% - - 4.8% - 95.2%
Lenor £4,805,810 -21.2% - - 8.4% - 91.6%
Mr Muscle £3,863,963 - - - - - 100.0%
Andrex £3,715,709 -27.2% - 0.6% 1.7% - 97.7%
Total £68,266,873 16.1% 0.4% 0.8% 4.9% 0.0% 93.9%

Ebiquity - 1 March 2014 to 28 February 2015

Here’s our pick of the most significant household ad campaigns in the last year:

Andrex: Sparkling stars

How do you tackle the tricky job of marketing toilet tissue wipes? You ask people, or more specifically children, how clean they feel after going to the loo, of course. That’s the question Andrex posed to bemused adults and amused primary school children in the TV ad campaign for its washlets wet wipes.

While the grown-ups were left unsurprisingly speechless by the personal line of questioning viewers saw kids squeal in delight at the prospect of talking about toilet business, with ‘as clean as a washed potato’ and ‘as clean as shiny stars’ among their answers.

And the Andrex puppy better watch out. With the exception of being allowed to bound across a lawn with a child for three seconds at the very end of the ad, the commercial was a dog-free zone.


Ariel pulled on the nation’s heart strings while highlighting the stain removal benefits of its new pre-treat cap and washing liquid with a nostalgic ad focussing on ‘first times’. Viewers saw a little boy being presented with his first bike by his doting dad, before learning how to ride it on his own for the first time.

Predictably the boy takes a tumble, and you guessed it, he gets covered in mud. But there’s no need to panic: in the next frame his T-shirt is sparkling white again with the strap line ‘Ariel gets it right first time’.

Cillit Bang

After Barry Scott’s comeback TV ad (it might seem hard to believe but Mr Scott was actually off screens for six years) was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for exaggerating the capabilities of the product in April 2013 Cillit Bang’s latest offering is toned down slightly. But only slightly.

This time the Reckitt Benckiser brand’s overly enthusiastic ambassador Mr Scott is seen riding a roller coaster and a giant slide to convey the speed and cleaning power of its limescale remover and drain unblocker, with the famous catch line ‘bang and the dirt is gone.’