Last year was Mr. Clean’s fiftieth birthday and to celebrate, the company ran a series of ads based on the belief that women have some kind of romantic attachment to him. Here’s an example:
Other examples of ads from this campaign pretty much looked the same, but the background color varied and some of the other headlines read:
– Good men aren’t hard to find. Just look in the cleaning aisle
-Strong, clean and performs well under pressure
-A relationship built on stubborn stains and routine cleaning tasks
Apparently, the ad executives hired by Proctor and Gamble (the company that makes Mr. Clean products) really seriously believe that women have some kind of emotional, romantic attachment to this mute, cartoon bald guy who spends his days cleaning floors and toilets.
I’m not sure if I should laugh at this or be insulted. Seriously, guys, he’s a cartoon spokesperson for a cleaning product and he doesn’t even talk, he just… sparkles. He’s actually kind of creepy when you think about it.
But clearly Proctor and Gamble think that their primary customers for Mr. Clean are housewife moms (just visit Mr. Clean’s website and you’ll see what I mean) and while I would like to think that they respect this customer base, this ad campaign doesn’t make me feel like they do. It reeks of the “desperate housewives” stereotype that would have been patronizing in the 1950s and 1960s, but now when fewer and fewer women are housewives at all is downright insulting.
I hate to break it to you guys, but men clean too. Not that any other cleaning product company seems to know this either, but it’s true. Women aren’t the only ones who have to scrub floors and toilets nor are they happy when they’re told that it’s their job to do so. That’s not to say that women don’t scrub floors and toilets, just that they aren’t always the ones to do it and that they shouldn’t be the only ones expected to do it.
And, I’m sorry, but despite what cheesy gift books might say, “girl porn” is not pictures of guys cleaning. It’s pretty much the same as guy porn, but with fewer big boobs and more hot guys.