I Don’t Understand Cleaning Product Marketing

By Matt Van Hoven 

Here’s an observation that is in no way new: cleaning/household products are almost always marketed to women. This makes no sense to me since in my experience (cue misogyny) women are fairly clean beings, and tend to know more than me about how to remain/get stuff clean &#151 this is a generalization I’m confident in making, though I recognize it is in no way wholly true.

Sometimes I clean stuff with Windex. That’s probably fine, but I’m pretty sure that product in particular is meant for mirrors, windows and maybe tiles. But the toilet? Nuh uh. Yet there I am, staring at the Fantastic wondering what the hell it’s used for. Sure, I could read the bottle, but who has time for that. I’m spending as little time as possible on this project to begin with, so reading is out of the question. I defer to Windex pretty much all the time. Or that air freshening stuff, which doesn’t clean shit but gives my tiny place that fresh smell I wish I naturally produced.

This brings me to the marketing issue. I just watched a pre-roll ad where a bunch of women are sitting around a GUY who is giving lessons to this alleged “support group” (that’s what is says in the spot!) on when to use bleach or not. Well, I think that’s what it was about. But there’s two major flaws in this ad that I’d like to waste your time pointing out.

Stupid Flaw #One: Women seem to know much more about men when it comes to these matters, so why, for the love of Spray N Wash, do they need a friggin support group on bleaching?

Even Stupider Flaw #Two: Why in the name of Windex is a man teaching women how to do this? Is this some super-genius man who spends his spare time staining his jeans and working the dirt out? Nay! It’s the fault of really, really thoughtless people who think women need educating in the household. Well, maybe some do &#151 but the ladies in the ad seem like the type who’d rather spend their days doing more important things than attend a bleach support group. Furthermore, it bemoans the point that we’re here to discuss &#151 women, as a group, probably need much less educating in this area than men.

Bla bla women buy the household cleaning products. Lies (to some degree)! I buy Windex because when I worked in a bar, we used it to clean everything. Why? The bar was owned by a man, and that’s what he bought. So ah, maybe it’s time to say, “fuck the research” and show me via commercial what I need to use to clean my damn sink. OK?

Note: I don’t want to hear about no stinking Tide Pens or whatever. I want legit commercials for legit cleaning products where guys are shown in their normal realms, sans women there to help out. You know what I’m talking about &#151 where ha ha a guy spills mustard on his brilliantly white shirt and kaboom, in walks Shirley or whoever with that smug fucking look on her face, all like “Oh Ed, let me take care of that.” I’m pretty sure Clorox doesn’t come with a 30-something semi-MILF, ready to clean my drawers and maybe pat my head. We’re stupid, teach us your ways (via 30 second spot).

Another note: I fully admit that there probably exists or existed a campaign that does exactly what I’m looking for, but since I haven’t seen it or don’t recall it, I’m assuming it doesn’t exist. School me if I’m wrong, but these “women need help” ads gotta go. I’m gunning to be a stay at home dad and will need to know this stuff. And I need a sugar mama.

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