Besides watching the action -- the Cleaning Hunk strips off his shirt to use as a cleaning rag, and removes his pants when the fascinated housewife spills coffee on them -- women who live in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can also enter a contest at cleaninghunk.com to win a free year of housecleaning.
Alen, a family-owned company that is the Procter & Gamble Co. of Mexico, has U.S. distribution and has acquired U.S. brands, but until now has been best known in the U.S. Hispanic market. Last year Alen hired independent Hispanic shop, Ole, New York, to target Hispanics, and now Ole is doing its first-ever general market campaign.
In its first week, the cleaninghunk.com site has gotten more than 100,000 unique visitors, and a lot of attention from chatrooms and blogs, said Pedro Somarriba, Alen's senior VP-sales for the U.S. Although some hits came from users outside the tri-state area, 20,000 eligible visitors have signed up for the prize of $5,000 worth of housecleaning, or a $5,000 check.
The campaign was inspired by Ole Creative Partner Paco Olavarrieta's discovery that women, especially housewives, like to e-mail their friends playful pictures of hunky men. Mr. Olavarrieta's wife Ena shared her cache of such e-mails from her circle of friends, and Ole shot its low-budget video in a similar style.
A less risque TV version broke about ten days ago. Like the video, it opens with a housewife who is washing her floor with Alen's XtraPine cleanser when the hunky guy appears and takes over the cleaning while she watches him. The words "Win one-year vacation from cleaning" appear on the screen. The spot ends as he takes off his shirt, and viewers are referred to cleaninghunk.com.
The online version, viewed by clicking "Xtras" on the site, goes further, ending only when the guy removes his underwear but is shielded by a strategically-placed can of XtraPine.
"People are willing to look at advertising if it provides some entertainment value," Mr. Somarriba said. "We gave a challenge to Ole, and they came back with a concept that used TV but really leveraged the Internet."
The online video was picked up last week on sites like socialitelife.com, hunkdujour.com and milkandcookies.com. The only negative comment spotted in a quick tour of those sites was "He doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of the cleaning." Mr. Somarriba was particularly pleased that some of the chatroom conversation was about where to buy his products. Given all the interest, the cleaninghunk.com site will add a section where people can add their own comments, he said.
After doing the campaign and free-cleaning contest in the tri-state area, Alen plans to roll it out elsewhere. The results have been so positive so far, though, that the company is reconsidering what to do next, he said.
"It has exceeded all expectations," he said. "I wish I could get [product] distribution that quickly."