Casestudy of Egyptian Shockvertising: Dice Underwear

Afternoon peeps,

In a country where the media scene is becoming more fragmented than ever before, New TV stations and websites are now spreading like wildfire; it is becoming extremely difficult and costly to reach out to your target audience. Because now they’re not where they used to be before, neither behaving in the same manner.
With that said (especially if you’re a startup/small brand with low awareness) you need a breakthrough strategy to literally “break-through” the advertising clutter and stand out as a brand with a unique character, attitude and values.

Last week, we all woke up to a set of commercials that shook some profound values and taboos that are not usually discussed publicly. A set of commercials belonging to an unheard-of brand that goes by the name; Dice Underwear.

Check below (Warning: explicit sexual references)

Taking an academic look at the matter, Dice Underwear is using a notorious marketing strategy that merges both shock and advertising; or as it is most commonly known; Shockvertising..

By definition; shockvertising is a type of advertising generally regarded as one that deliberately, rather than unintentionally startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals....

Shockvertising is a strategy used by numerous brands globally; the most remarkable and recent would be Benetton's UnHate campaign in late 2011; showing world political and religious leaders kissing, in an attempt to bring their differences aside. This campaign caused massive dismay from the general public; that some took matters into their own hands and actually tore down its billboards. The Vatican issued an official statement requesting campaign cessation; just 48 hours after its launch.
Locally we've witnessed some milder examples of the same through in-your-face sexual innuendos in a couple of Melody Entertainment campaigns (Wadee3 & Hamzawy campaigns for example); A campaign that scored extremely well with the youth and even became part of everyday jargon of some.
Shockvertising is designed principally to break through the advertising “clutter” to capture attention and create buzz around a given brand/product or cause.  Quite honestly, Dice Underwear did not fall short in delivering on any of the above.

Just 2 weeks ago, if we had done a quick dipstick to know if anyone has heard of a brand called Dice Underwear, I'm sure we would've gotten rather faint results... Today, I believe it is very difficult to know someone who hasn't seen, talked about or even heard of the new Dice Underwear commercial and was intrigued to take a look at it.
Likeability and brand affinity aside, I believe they overscored on their awareness KPIs

Dice Underwear became a household name overnight, due to a bold advertising tactic that the majority of the Egyptians took with a pinch of salt, so reactions varied from seeing it too offensive, rude or overboard; to just meeting it with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. Samples of mixed reactions below

The beauty of this execution lies in the fact that this particular brand does not need to be “polite” per se, they actually do that and say what they said!
Meaning that the nature of the product makes it in itself a taboo, just because they’re in the underwear business. So law kda kda taboo, yb2a 3laya w 3ala a3da2i b2a… They took the bold route of executing it, went out there with clear sexual insinuations that their target audience would understand and appreciate; because this is how they talk and behave anyway.

From a positioning, product design and pricing standpoint; it would be safe to assume that the core target audience here would be 15-30 B/C Males; who are already more rampant than ever before (esp after Jan 25 which showed them they now matter), rebelling against anything and everything, they cuss, swear, make dirty jokes w bey3akso el banat fel share3..
It would be naïvely stupid to assume they don’t talk this way already; so the brand is simply talking to them in their language, which will help them score higher affinity with that audience cluster, thus reflecting in higher sales…

I don’t think we made the same fuss when French Connection launched their FCUK line in the early 2000s. We were all proud owners of their t-shirts that speak for a certain cult with a given set of values. This is just a local version of it.
Yemken 3o2det el khawaga b2a!

The only point here I blame them for, is that they should’ve made their media selection more specific, because at the end of the day, a TV ad is viewed by everyone, so is an outdoor sign.
As a consequence, children and conservative sects of society are naturally exposed to such messages; which would trigger negative feedback.
It would have been better if they had gone viral with minimum mass media usage, in order to avoid the headache of criticism the campaign is probably causing them already...So the problem is not with the message itself, the problem is that the wrong people saw it.

Looking at things from another angle, seeboohom yefra7o… It might be the last campaign of such caliber we see… With all what the country’s going through these days, you never know.. yemken yelgho el boxers w yragga3o el barbatoz tani! haha

Mel akher kda…
Shocking, check
Safla w mon7atta, check
Dammaha khafeef, check
Delivers the message, double check
Love it, HELL YEAH!

Final take on this, chapeau bas.. Excellent campaign, spot on.. Bravo! 


Anonymous said...

Very good job 3omdaz !! ;)

Anonymous said...

Who are you? You seem to be in the advertising industry as you have a good understanding of the terminology and assessment...

Where do you work?

3omdaz said...


Sorry just saw your comment now, I'm Ahmed Emad.. an advertising and media professional..
and you are? :)

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