What’d You Say?! Author: Lori Brown

What’d You Say?!

Author: Lori Brown

In the 2008 Super bowl the detergent company Tide released a commercial advertising their product Tide to go. What was to follow was a series of subsequent commercials generating a lot of buzz on the pop culture radar. So much buzz in fact that they created a website for the public to log onto and submit their own stories and ideas. www.mytalkingstain.com (no longer active).


Tide to go is a portable stain remover detergent stick to be used, well, on the go if you will. The following link is to a video clip of one of commercials that became popular.

In their brilliant campaign ad, Tide illustrated and played off of common place nonverbal communication. The commercial begins in the detergent aisle of the supermarket.  We see a young man about to purchase a bottle of traditional Tide in for what appears to be a mustard stain on the pocket of his shirt he is wearing.  A young woman notices him and “accidently” crashes her cart into his to get his attention.  The man turns toward the woman to begin a dialogue with her but the woman can’t hear the man because she is staring at the stain on his shirt.  The stain begins talking and the man’s voice is drowned out as the stain begins to make character statements about the man such as, “I’m sloppy Joe, I leave my gym socks on the floor.”  The woman who was interested in the man before she saw the stain becomes immediately disenchanted and walks away.  The man then turns around, sees the Tide to go stick, shrugs, and buys it.  The man’s reaction infers that he wished he had the Tide to go stick before and might have gotten a date.

This commercial is a wonderful display of nonverbal communication that takes place in the body observation realm with personal appearance and adornment.  We see the halo effect- what is beautiful is good (Burgoon, Guerrero, & Floyd, 2010) unfold when the woman observes an attractive man and tries to gain his attention.  It is not spoken directly that but only inferred that she believes he is good when the message sent by the stain debunks her positive projection by painting a picture of a messy ill groomed and irresponsible person.

The nonverbal communication topic of personal appearance is also addressed by the ad.   We do make judgments about others we do not know based on their personal grooming, styles they dress in or body modifications they may have. According to a recent online publication by Lisa Quast with Forbes, “…most studies show that first impressions are shaped by what can be seen or heard in the initial few seconds.”  Quast goes on to list grooming in the top 5 tips to create a positive impression. In Tide’s commercial we see the woman’s first impression change instantly when she noticed the man was not well groomed.

Besides being entertaining and funny, I love the way these commercials depict nonverbal communication.  In a fun way they have taken the nonverbal communication (the idea of grooming and in this case the lack thereof) and personified it by making the stain verbal.  I applaud Tide’s marketing campaign and use it as an example of supporting what we have learned in class.


Tide to go- at the supermarket [Web series episode]. (2008). In My Talking Stain submission. Via Youtube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju4jAfg4p8s

Burgoon, J., Guerrero, L., & Floyd, K. (2010). Nonverbal communication. (p. 82). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Quast, L. (2012, 09 09). 5 tips to create a positive first impression. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2013/09/09/5-tips-to-create-a-positive-first-impression/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s