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Who'd Have Thought Pine Cleaner Could be Bawdy?

Posted by: David Kiley on March 28, 2006


There is seldom much interesting in terms of advertising in the housecleaning product category. In fact, there is seldom anything interesting at all in the house cleaning product arena.

But, if you go to, it’s difficult to deny that a good old fashioned sex sells strategy could potentially move even pine cleaner.

Mexican packaged goods company Alen Americas is making a bit of hay with its viral campaign for Xtra Pine, a competitor to Pine-Sol. The premise is that a housewife who is clearly tired of housecleaning is visited by a cleaning hunk who appears, Jeannie-like, in her living room to clean for her. She reclines on the couch and gets very hot and bothered watching cleaning boy wipe up.

It’s pretty daring, I must say. The whole ad comes off as the beginning minutes of a porn movie just before the housewife and her cleaning hunk strip down and partake of an afternoon delight. In the web version, hunky boy gets down to his tighty briefs. In the last scene, he says he’s about to take his undies off and use them as a dust rag.

Alen used a Hispanic agency, Ole, which does its Spanish language ads to do this general market effort. There is a TV version of the ad running, but in that spot, hunky boy only gets down to a bare chest.

So far, the site has had over 100,000 unique visits, but I’ll predict it gets a lot higher. Will it sell more pine cleaner? Time will tell. But I’ll say this. It feels a lot like we have entered an era in which the old P&G school of brand management principles and the old Unique Selling Proposition school of marketing may be in serious need of updating.

The insight that led to this ad was the realization that a lot of Mexican housewives pass pictures of hunky guys around on the Internet to their friends. Women and gay men, I can predict, will find the ad amusing. Since the scene clearly shows a hungry housewife about to bust out of her cleaning duds and…um…..put her quarters in the dimestore horsey ride…I can envision at least a few hard working men not thinking the ad was so funny. But then again…men clearly aren’t the target.

What is more valuable?….An ad for which P&G spends $300,000 to reach an audiece of five million viewers, with a fraction of those actually paying attention or watching at all…or an ad that, in the end, may draw millions who actually sought the ad out on the Net and passed it to their friends. A pine cleaner ad!

I would vote that the second scenario is better for a brand.

My only question is…how long will it be before The American Family Association pounces on this ad with a boycott.

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Reader Comments


March 31, 2006 07:46 AM

I saw the actual ad on television, and it's not nearly as sexual as the web site ad. I think the ad is great, and the product is too. Half the price of Pine Sol is good for me.


April 1, 2006 02:54 PM

I don’t know. I’m usually more offended by the Pine-Sol ads featuring the fat, sassy, stereotypical Black woman.


April 2, 2006 11:40 AM

Oh...he was cute:))))


April 12, 2006 05:19 PM

Half the price of Pine Sol is good for me.


August 10, 2006 01:34 AM

Walmart has taken this out of the store for some reason. I have been using it for years, and would like to know where it can be purchased or who the company is that makes this. It is wonderful on tile and wooden floors. Thank you


October 3, 2006 09:14 AM


Katherine Napiontek

February 12, 2007 11:59 PM

* snorts * the original cleaning hunk needed some lessons...thats ok my brother was just starting out when he got that gig


May 17, 2007 11:43 PM

Hey, the Cleaning Hunks are Hotties, that's for sure...but I'd REALLY rather win cleaning for a year...unfortunately, the click-on to enter the contest does NOT connect, so I'm thinking this is just a B.S. ruse to get people (come on boys, admit YOU are lookin' too!) to peek in. I do say, it's kinda crappy that the company is advertising a contest that appears to be unavailable...isn't that something like fraud? That's no way to build up business. I mean, who really NEEDS Xtra-Pine Hotties...when we STILL have Mr. Clean (Smile!)

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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