Ad of the Day: Mr. Clean

P&G gives us the origin story of a guy who was 'born to clean'

He had plenty of friends, but a different idea of fun."

You know, with more than 100 licensing partners and some $173 million in product placement, you'd think Man of Steel would take a shine to this new Mr. Clean commercial from Leo Burnett in Toronto. Maybe Superman doesn't want the competition. This spot has some great call-outs to the trailer, though, including Mr. Clean hitchhiking his way through life and working on a boat, just like the nomadic Clark Kent in the latest Man of Steel trailer.

But there are things this spot doesn't tell you.

The shaky-cam over-the-shoulder shots of Mr. C. walking down the pier notwithstanding, this isn't the whole truth. This ad doesn't address, for example, Mr. Clean's much-debated role in the death of painter Jackson Pollock in 1956, two years before the beginning of his mainstream career. It also leaves out the crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder with which the great P&G mascot has struggled since childhood—it's true that he "will clean your whole house and everything that's in it," but it's also true that he has to touch the doorknob three times before he leaves a room and has developed a skin condition from washing his hands so often.

There is tragedy here, but this spot doesn't give it to us. Instead, we get a mellifluous voiceover telling us simply that he was "born to clean." We all know that only in that monastery, where he's seen balanced on one leg before an approving sensei, has Mr. C ever truly been at peace.

And yet he continues to serve us, the filthy public, no matter how dirty we become.


Client: Procter & Gamble/Mr. Clean

Agency: Leo Burnett, Toronto

Publish date: June 13, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT