Villarriba and Villabajo

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Villarriba and Villabajo are two fictional Spanish villages that are used as the setting for a series of commercials for the Fairy Ultra hand dishwashing detergent .

The names mean in Spanish the upper and the lower village (villa = village and arriba = above or bajo = below). In addition, associations with the exclamation “Arriba!” (“Let's go!”, Known in Germany for example from Speedy Gonzales , the fastest mouse in Mexico) or the Spanish word “trabajo” (“work”) are awakened alluded to the comparatively quick and laborious flushing action.

Advertising presence

The villages are the setting for commercials, with the help of which the US consumer goods group Procter & Gamble introduced the hand dishwashing detergent Fairy (Ultra) , which it produced, on the Spanish and later the European market from 1991 (in Germany from 1992). The campaign was conceived by the advertising agency Gray Spain, Gray Germany developed the campaign based on the Spanish original for Germany.

In the spots, after a village festival, the residents of both places scrub their large paella pans clean. While the residents of Villabajo find it very difficult to remove the fat residues, the residents of Villarriba are finished with their work after a short time and can celebrate again. The viewer is suggested that this is due to the new fat dissolving formula from Fairy Ultra .

The aim of the campaign was to emphasize the fat-dissolving power of the detergent as the most important property of the product and to place it on the market as the agent with the highest power. The advertising strategists promised themselves to be able to bind consumers to the product in this way.

The campaign is considered extremely successful. Fairy Ultra quickly became one of the three best-selling detergents in Germany. According to a survey, 91 percent of consumers remember Villarriba and Villabajo, 63 percent even associate the places with the brand names.

In 2000, Procter & Gamble replaced the Fairy brand with the Dawn brand as part of an international standardization of products . However, this turned out to be the wrong decision, since Procter & Gamble's market shares in Germany fell drastically. As a result, the Fairy brand was reintroduced in September 2003 . In the accompanying advertising campaign, which was again designed by Gray, the competition between the two Spanish villages revived. This time the residents of Villabajo spied on the neighboring village to discover the secret of clean paella pans.

In the 2010s, too, the company repeatedly relived the history of the two villages. In 2017, on the 25th anniversary of the product name, two young women performed an allegedly scientific product test in front of the backdrop of the two villages, in which they filled plastic bowls with water and washing-up liquid, closed them and then shook them until the bowl was put into the Fairy was completely clean when the water was poured out. TV chef Ralf Zacherl was the godfather of this and other new commercials and recommended the product.

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