Ad of the Day: Mr. Clean Is Freshened Up for Millennials With a Catchy Upgraded Jingle

P&G updates a song that's 'ownable and relatable'

Everybody's favorite bald, muscular clean-freak returns to TV commercials today with a revamped jingle from Leo Burnett Canada that's so kitschy-catchy, no amount of scrubbing will wash it out of your brain.

With his sparkling white T-shirt and gleaming gold earring, the animated Mr. Clean character was developed by Chicago agency Latham-Laird and artist Richard Black in the late 1950s as a mascot for a new detergent-based product from Procter & Gamble. The big dude's obsession with making household surfaces shine has been featured in ads ever since, though this marks the first major update of his theme song—originally penned by Tom Scott Cadden—in decades:

Hey, slinging those axes makes Mr. Clean look kind of like Moby, but with a better sense of melody and more of a career. 

While the ripped dude is most assuredly iconic, "we also discovered that there is something magical in the jingle," P&G associate brand director Kevin Wenzel tells Adweek. "We recognized that there was a uniquely ownable and relatable campaign in the jingle that could span generations."

Lyrical tweaks reflect the changing times. For example, references to cleaning white sidewall tires and window sashes have been removed. Also excised: a line about shining a diamond ring, because of course, the American Dream died back in the Eisenhower days. 

Here's an early Mr. Clean commercial for comparison:

Back in '58, Mom was expected to clean house, while Dad was presumably off boosting the GDP over a three-martini lunch. 

"We wanted to renew the jingle for today's millennial households," says Heather Chambers, creative director at Burnett Canada, making certain to show the product "helping to make the cleaning process easier with people from all walks of life." 

Here's a Spanish-language version of the spot, though the brand name is sung in English:

P&G believes the concept cuts across generational and cultural lines, scoring points with those who grew up with the chrome-domed, ultra-hygienic hunk and appealing to folks unfamiliar with the Clean One's charms. 

"His inherent appeal is less about demographics, and more about the insight that people are still spending time they need to do a thorough clean in their homes," P&G's Wenzel says. "His strength and well-groomed appearance fit what the product promises. One glance at him and you know he represents cleaning power." 

As for the lingering debate over the character's sexuality—some say Mr. Clean is gay; others insist he's just a cartoon—Wenzel maintains: "His one true love is cleaning."

Sing along if you can, to whatever version suits you, below.

The Original Jingle

Mr. Clean will clean up dirt & grime & grease in just 1 minute!

Mr. Clean will clean your whole house & everything that's in it!

Floors, doors, walls, halls, white sidewall tires, and old golf balls!

Sinks, stoves, bathtubs he'll do, he'll even help with the laundry too!

Q. Can he clean a kitchen sink?

A. Quicker than a wink!

Q. Can he clean a window sash?

A. Faster than a flash!

Q. Can he clean a dirty mirror?

A. He makes it bright & cleaner!

Q. Can he clean a diamond ring?

A: Mr. Clean cleans anything!

The 2016 Reboot

Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime

And grease in just a minute

Mr. Clean will clean your whole house

And everything that's in it.

Floors, doors, walls, halls

He's so tough he cleans them all

Grimy tubs and tiles he'll do

so your bathroom looks clean and new!

Mr. Clean gets tough on stuck on stuff

cleans kitchens in a minute

Mr. Clean will clean your whole house

And everything that's in it.

Mr. Clean!

Mr. Clean!

Mr. Clean!


Client: Mr. Clean

Where TV Ads Ran: U.S., Canada

Date of Appearance: July 1, 2016

Media Company: Hearts and Science

Agency: Leo Burnett Canada

Chief Creative Officer: Judy John

Creative Director: Heather Chambers

Group Creative Directors 

Copywriter: Mike Cook

Art Director: Mike Sheehan

Agency Producer: Tina Muratovic

Group Account Director: Anchie Contractor

Account Executive: Aryana Hassan

Account Supervisors: Samantha Sabatini, Spring Morris

Planner: Dan Koutoulakis

Production Companies: Skin and Bones; The Big Picture

Director: David Hicks

Producers: Andrew Sullivan, Dan Ford

Editing Company: School

Editor: Jon Devries

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