Singing Crabs a Debut Hit for OceanSaver


The Ocean Will Thank You


OceanSaver are a young laundry brand – they were only founded in 2018, with a mission to (you guessed it) save ocean life from plastic pollution. Their flagship product is their eco-friendly laundry capsules, proudly plastic-free, and they’ve used crowdfunding and community growth to get to the stage where they’re ready for their first TV ad. The commercial is a textbook example of how a new-to-TV brand can make an impact with their first ad, and set themselves up for future success too. 

The commercial, by agency Hearts & Minds, introduces us to four loveable crabs, who perform a sea-shanty to Gareth, a somewhat bemused OceanSaver customer. The crabs dance, sing and unveil a “thank you” banner – they’ve invaded Gareth’s home out of gratitude for buying the brand and helping keep their habitat safe and clean. It sets up the brand’s new platform: “The Ocean Will Thank You”. 

It’s a charming ad which gets a great deal done. Most viewers won’t know the OceanSaver brand or understand its mission. The ad fills them in with enough detail to understand it and remember the name. That’s the basic job done. But the way it does that job is what’s special. The delivery is memorable and distinctive – a sea shanty – and the messengers are unusual and loveable, the kind of characters a brand can use again and again. 

At System1 we’re great believers in using brand characters and mascots as Fluent Devices, creative elements which brands can reuse repeatedly and use as the basis for future creative work. Fluent Device characters build both long- and short-term effectiveness – they’re emotionally appealing, which makes them and their ads more memorable in the long term. And as they become a regular brand asset, they increase the Fluency of the brand in the same way any other distinctive asset does. 

In the case of the shanty-singing crabs, there’s an extra element at work. As well as reminding viewers of the brand, the crabs recall its mission – they’re living examples of the creatures who benefit from the work OceanSaver is doing. 

In our recent The Greenprint report with ITV, looking at the effectiveness of sustainability messages in advertising, behavioural science expert Richard Shotton identified several behaviour change principles brands could leverage to create positive shifts in action on sustainability. One of them is what OceanSaver are doing here, emphasising the positive outcomes that a small action like buying their plastic-free products can lead to, which makes it easier for people to take that action.  

"Crafting something that not only promises positive social impact but also predicts market success was undoubtedly a moment of great pride. System1’s insights are incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate, and their expert knowledge in topics such as sustainability, uncovered in ‘The Greenprint’ research, ensured that we were hitting both commercial objectives and social objectives. Having such insights early in the creative process was both reassuring and affirming."

Adam Parker Marketing Director at OceanSaver

So the ad is a terrific combination of brand, message and execution: purpose with a smile. How do the public like it? On Test Your Ad it scores a round 4-Stars, with the “environmentally friendly” message coming across loud and clear as a key association. 4-Stars is a strong performance for the category and particularly good for a new-to-TV brand, proving that the ad is a strong platform for OceanSaver to build on with future work. 

"When launching a TV advert for the first time, the stakes were high, and its success weighed heavily on our minds. Thanks to System1's pre-testing and consultancy, we not only benchmarked the creative against industry norms and new-to-TV standards but also pinpointed features to optimise the final output. While adjustments were subtle, their impact proved significant, particularly in enhancing fluency (brand recognition) and message clarity. Having this foresight was invaluable, empowering us to move forward with confidence in our creative vision."

Andy George Creative Director at Hearts&Minds
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