Leo Burnett introduces Daz soap opera theme

Procter & Gamble has undertaken a radical advertising overhaul of its Daz brand, which has seen it finally drop its "doorstep challenge", a mainstay of its advertising for ten years.

In its place, the FMCG giant has introduced a series of soap opera-style commercials in a fictional location called Cleaner Close.

The doorstep challenge has been dropped as it was perceived as old-fashioned.

The move sounds the death knell for advertising that had featured celebrities including Shane Ritchie, Danny Baker, Michael Barrymore and, most recently, Julian Clary, who had all interrogated women on their laundry habits, then challenged them to try Daz.

In a surprise move from the usually more conservative P&G, Leo Burnett has introduced the concept of infidelity into its soap opera. Its first ad, "grubby affair", features an overbearing mother cleaning out her son's room. She finds a bra under the bed and rushes off to confront him.

He is having a drink with a girl, whom the mother accuses of being grubby.

However, she is not referring to the girl's morality, but rather the fact that her bra is not as white as the mother's blouse, which is washed with Daz.

The soap opera ends with the revelation that the bra does not in fact belong to the girl in question. The camera then focuses on a barmaid skulking in the background.

As yet unspecified press, radio and below-the-line work will support the campaign.

The soap opera medium was chosen in a bid to target avid soap opera fans, who have been identified as Daz's core audience. The campaign follows Daz's recent broadcast sponsorship of ITV1's soap opera, Emmerdale. It will run during breaks in major soap operas across the networks.

The change in Daz's advertising strategy follows the decision by P&G and its rival, Unilever, to raise the prices of all detergent powder and tablet brands by 4.7 per cent.

According to the most recent data from Mintel, Daz had a 9 per cent share by value of the UK clothes-washing detergent market in 2001. This had declined by nearly 10 per cent on 1999 and reflects declining values across the category as consumers switch to liquid capsules and tablets.

The departing Leo Burnett executive creative director, Nick Bell, wrote and art directed the campaign.

It was directed by Declan Lowney through Tomboy Films and Production International.

Bell said: "The creative idea was to position Daz as a soap you can believe in, at the heart of a series of highly entertaining, over-the-top and unbelievable soap dramas."

Media for the campaign was planned by MediaVest and bought by Starcom Motive.