With a product as universal as batteries, Duracell has a lot of scope when it comes to advertising — anything powered by its products is fair game.
That ubiquity gives the brand license to take on causes it thinks are particularly meaningful without seeming overly exploitative.
In its latest campaign, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned battery maker is focusing on untreated hearing loss, an affliction that affects about 36 million Americans, or about 17% of the country’s adult population.
Backed by a short cameo voiceover from Mad Men‘s John Slattery, the two-minute commercial follows a new grandfather who feels increasingly isolated from his family and social circle as his hearing begins to fail.
He inadvertently ignores coworkers, misses out on dinner party conversations and — to his family’s alarm — neglects his crying infant grandkid because of the television volume. That’s when the man decides it’s time for a battery-powered hearing aid.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” he says, wiping a tear from his eye after using it for the firm time.
The campaign was timed to coincide with the American Speech-Language Association’s national hearing month, and Slattery was chosen for the part based on his father’s struggle with hearing loss.
“When we started looking at what these [hearing-impaired] consumers went through, we were very compelled to tell their story,” Duracell’s brand manager, Ramon Velutini, told Mashable.
According to Velutini, the narrative of the video was inspired by a Hellen Keller quote: “Blindness separates people from things. Deafness separates people from people.”
In addition to the commercial, Duracell is offering 50,000 free over-the-phone hearing tests through a partnership with a nonprofit.
The new campaign marks Duracell’s first big advertising foray since the brand’s sale from household goods giant Procter & Gamble to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway was finally completed earlier this year.
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