Guest Review: Dirt Devil – ‘The Exorcist’

By Kiran Aditham 

Arnold EVP/ECD Roger Baldacci returns with his bi-weekly ad critiques, this time tackling a new ad from Dirt Devil that gives a nod to one of the best horror films of all time (the brand name just asks for it, after all). Take it way, Captain Howd–we mean, Roger.

The ability to spend big bucks on an epic 90 second spot for a cheap vacuum cleaner is a great reason to pack up your iPads, ironic T-shirts and notebook full of viral stunt videos and move to Germany. That plus the “healthy” blond women and great beer.


It’s always best to make a rational product benefit in an emotional way. I’ve seen great emotional spots throughout my career, but I’m not sure I’ve seen one that uses fear and humor at the same time.  Imagine trying to produce this in the states:

Network Censors: You can’t run this. This glorifies the occult and offends those with religious beliefs.

Agency: How are we glori….

Lawyers: Moreover, it’s an exaggerated claim. No vacuum cleaner would have the suction power to hold an approximately 112 pound female to the ceiling.

Agency: Well, it’s creative license. Hyperbole. Parody. Puffery.

Lawyers: Not to mention Warner Brothers, the studio that produced The Exorcist, could file a claim because this infers an implied endorsement of the Dirt Devil brand. Plus, we would need to get permission from Linda Blair who would likely want compensation since she hasn’t done much since that hot prison movie called Chained Heat she did in the 80s. I have the Criterion Collection of it on Blue Ray…

Agency: (sigh) Can we even show the Dirt Devil logo?

Lawyers: Doubtful. But we’ll get back to you.

While I think the ending is a bit too broad, Director Andreas Roth and DP Roland Stuprich deserve credit for creating such a cinematic parody of The Exorcist. In fact, the first minute and twelve seconds of this spot is better than the entire Exorcist II: The Heretic. And frankly, I deserve credit for not making any devil puns or wordplays here.