Published on April 22nd, 2010 | by thevyne0
Olay’s "Quench for Clunkers" Disappointment
A few days ago some a friend and Vyne reader shared a link to a website for Olay’s Quench lotion called “Quench for Clunkers”. In the site the comedy duo, Frangela talked about looking for a cause to stand behind and decided that “eradicating the ash” was going to be their cause. They used Olay Quench lotion to get rid of their “ashiness” and wanted other ladies to do so as well. They subsequently made a music video to the tune of Salt-n-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” which included phrases like “Olay, baby!” “Dry Don’t Fly.”
I was so appalled by the site, it prompted me to write this to Procter & Gamble, Olay’s parent company (and, of course, tweet and talk on Facebook about it). To my surprise, as of yesterday the site had been taken down. When I searched for the videos on YouTube, they also had been removed. I can only imagine that there was enough backlash that they had to respond accordingly.
Over the years, P&G brands had created numerous effective ad campaigns targeting black audiences. But lately they have made some poor choices. Remember our article on the My Black is Beautiful site and TV show on BET? Anyway, here’s the note. Let us know your thoughts. Also check out Kiss My Black Ads and Soulful Beauty for more context about “Quench for Clunkers”, screen shots and additional commentary.
I want to thank you for some of your past successes with connecting with black women using positive images. I love that you came out with a Pantene line just for us, and how you’ve seemed to use care and thoughtfulness while advertising to black women throughout the years. To my dismay, this all changed in an instant when I saw www.quenchforclunkers.com. When I first saw the site, I thought it had to be a parody. But it wasn’t.
Though there were several reasons why I was appalled by this site and poor taste in targeting black women, I will highlight three in this letter: 1) the use of the term “ashy” throughout, 2) the use of “coonery” and “bafoonery” tactics to connect with us, and 3) the overall poor taste in the “Tell Your Own Quench Story” section. First, let’s start with the term “ashy.” Yes, I am a black woman and I do use the term “ashy” on occasion, referring to dry skin, when talking in a joking manner to my friends or family. Though black women may use the term to one another, we do not want to hear the term in advertising (FYI: the same goes for the term “nappy”). Secondly, why Frangela? Yes, they are comediennes that are, at times, funny. But though we can take comedy in advertising, “Quench for Clunkers” went way too far into the “shuckin’ and jivin’” zone, making the comedy more offensive than funny. Finally, I want to address the “Tell Your Own Quench Story” section. I understand the attempt at trying to be funny, but do you really want this type of language used on a site associated with the Olay brand?
Overall I was disappointed in you, P&G. I can tell you that neither my peers nor I appreciated this. I can only imagine that others sharing the same sentiment voiced their opinion to you as well, causing you to take down the site and videos. Thank you for that. Next time, I suggest you do a better job in “sanity checking” before putting something out there, especially if it targets an under-represented audience.
A Disappointed Consumer
Did any of you see the site? What did you think?