Agency: J Walter Thompson Author: Terry Bullen

Listerine and Clifford - A Breathtaking Success


As a result of the introduction of Clifford the Dragon in the role of Listerine spokesman on TV in 1985, retail sales values have doubled. Moreover, Warner Lambert's profits from a previously static market have risen by 173% in three years as sales of the sister brand, Listermint, have also been stimulated by a similar margin. The bulk of this sales increase can be directly attributed to the advertising, and this paper will indicate how the effects of that advertising were immediate, sustained and measurable.

Certain aspects of the story have a broader significance in that:

  • A change of creative approach in combination with the medium used can be seen to transform a brand's growth rate, without any real change in the budget deployed.
  • Well thought out and developed advertising can be seen to contribute to the building of a genuinely new market. Since that entails attracting extra expenditure from the public it is far more challenging a task than merely deflecting funds from one brand to another within an existing market.
  • Advertising has increased the 'value' of a brand to the extent that its real price has been raised over a period of dynamic volume growth.
  • Advertising for a premium-priced, polarised brand can be seen to have considerable beneficial 'knock-on' effects on its sister brand operating in a sector of the market with more direct competition.
  • The brand share growth of unsupported own-label brands from major multiple retailers, the scourge of the decade for branded goods manufacturers, has demonstrably been halted and reversed with modest above-the-line investment.