Black and Decker Got Belgians to Eat Dinner Right Off the Floor of an Old Post Office

A daring stunt to promote the Steam-Mop

Headshot of Robert Klara

Everybody's heard the saying—often in reference to how well someone kept house—that the floor was so clean you could eat off it. But nobody really meant that literally, did they?

Well, Black and Decker evidently does. To nudge sales of its Steam-Mop in Europe, the brand's agency These Days cooked up the idea of finding a well-trod floor, cleaning it, and serving dinner on top. "After we got the brief to promote the Steam-Mop as a product that kills 99.9 percent of all bacteria, we were pretty quickly reminded of the expression 'you could eat off the floor here,'" said creative director Manuel Ostyn.

Ostyn's team could have picked a floor that was relatively clean to start with, but what fun would that be? Instead, it chose the floor of an old post office in the Belgian city Antwerp, a building that's since been converted to an upscale food market called the Mercado. The marble floors there see millions of footsteps a day, most of them right off the street.

These Days marked off a large area with white tape to keep people away, then went over the floor—several times—with the steam appliance. Meanwhile, Anne-Sophie Breysem (Belgian Ladychef of 2015) prepared some designer entrees for the invited guests—mostly journalists and influential bloggers. At the appointed hour, Chef Breysem spooned her decorative food directly onto the tiles.

"This is the first time in my life that I've eaten off the floor," said one participant in a video of the event. "We could really eat off the floor," enthused another.

Was Black and Decker worried about, you know… germs? Liability? A little.

"It's a daring idea," Ostyn admitted. "So it's understandable that there were some concerns at first. But we made sure nothing could go wrong." Black and Decker, he added, "saw the PR potential and got on board pretty quickly."

Who wouldn't want to share a video of adults eating off a post office floor in Antwerp?

Ostyn found it was surprisingly easy to convince people to eat dinner off the floor. "I guess they probably all used the phrase more than once in their lives, so it just seemed fun to actually do it for once," he said.

Chef Anne-Sophie Breysem prepares diners for the main course. Courtesy These Days

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.
Publish date: December 5, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT