You Gotta Love a Man Who Cleans

The commercial, “Cleaner of Your Dreams,” starts with a shot of a middle-aged housewife cleaning her disorganized house.  She looks .  Then, suddenly, Mr. Clean appears and the tone of the commercial becomes excited, hopeful, and comedic.  Music begins to play as Mr. Clean proceeds to clean the woman’s house and dance at the same time.  They exchange sensually charged glances towards one another throughout the commercial, and soon, the passionate connection between the two causes the woman to start dancing erratically, as if she is no longer held back by boredom or fear of judgement.  The woman’s fantasy is then broken as her husband, an out of shape middle-aged man stands where Mr. Clean used to be, holding the Mr. Clean cleaning supplies.  This, however, does not disappoint the woman as she embraces her husband, kisses him, and propels both of them off balance because of the intensity of their passion.

The scene blurs as a line of text appears across the screen saying “You gotta love a man who cleans,” and the Mr. Clean brand sign appears under it.

The biggest symbolic figure in the commercial is Mr. Clean himself.  His character is suave, muscular, and confident and comes in at the woman’s time of need, offering her help while simultaneously seducing her.  When the voice and appearance of her husband is revealed, she realizes that she was simply imagining that Mr. Clean was there.  All the while, it was her husband who was truly cleaning the kitchen.  The woman originally envisioned him as the ideal husband or boyfriend; a man who is muscular, smooth yet sensitive, protective, and responsible.  When the image of Mr. Clean disappears, her out of shape, naive-looking middle-aged husband appears holding Mr. Clean cleaning supplies. While one would assume that that sudden change would be disappointing to the woman, her passion and intensity instead return to her as she pounces on her husband.  The line, “You gotta love a man who cleans,” appears on screen, giving the audience the reason why she was not disappointed.  As Mr. Clean represents the characteristics of an “ideal man,” he also represented the woman’s husband in her eyes because he helped her clean using Mr. Clean cleaning supplies.  This implies that when he used Mr. Clean cleaning supplies, that he became the idealized model of a man, and, regardless of supposed shortcomings, he will be seen as such.

The emotional appeal is one that pokes at the triggers of an individual’s need to be recognized and accepted by others, a feeling of inferiority as well as bringing about the feelings of joy through humor.  The commercial first grabs the attention of the audience through sexuality and humor.  The first shot is of Mr. Clean’s torso, which then pans upwards.  Sensual music with influences from R&B begins to play at the same time as this shot, successfully grabbing the attention of the audience by using their interest of sex to cause them to focus.  Mr. Clean gets close to the woman, gives her intense stares, and dances as he cleans, yet, since he is a cartoon, the absurdity of the situation makes it humorous.  This humor gives the audience a sense of amusement, bringing them to a positive mindset.  The reveal of her husband increases the comedic value of the situation, and at the end, the punchline, “You gotta love a man who cleans,” appears, giving the audience an easy joke to remember, while also subtly explaining the joke to make it entirely clear to everyone what exactly they wanted to portray.  The commercial appeals to the male demographic through its imagery of the “ideal man” and sexual innuendos, implying through the punchline that in order to be that idealized man and be wanted by woman, they have to buy the product.  The commercial appeals to the female demographic through having the main character to be a woman who is seduced by a man, who also is the most sexualized character in the advertisement.

The majority of customers of Mr. Clean products are women, although men do make up around 40% of the company’s customers.  ( Because of this, the commercial appeals to a wide range of people, even putting a focus on the male customer-base at the final point.  Their swiffer and lysol product lines make up the biggest parts of the company’s total sales, so the products that the ad put focus on were those same ones.

The company that owns Mr. Clean is Proctor & Gamble.  They are a multinational consumer goods company who were founded in 1837 and have continued to be a major player in the consumer good industry, garnering $76.27 billion US dollars in annual revenue.  Mr. Clean has been around since 1958, and, too, has developed a well-known reputation among costumers.  The company spent $23 million dollars the past year on advertising and $5 million for the thirty second Super Bowl ad.  By buying a commercial spot during the Super Bowl, Mr. Clean makes it brand name relevant again, revitalizing our memory of its existence and giving us a positive image of it.  Beyond that, however, the commercial does not make an effort to sell any individual products, but instead just the brand name.  This is furthered by the entire advertising scheme of Mr. Clean.  The name of company and mascot is “Mr. Clean” and its logo is simply two bright red, bubble-font words saying “Mr. Clean.”  By saying the name of the company, looking at the brand logo, or saying the name of its iconic mascot, a person will always see “Mr. Clean,” making it very easy for the brand to be remembered and recognized.



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