P&G France links all Mr. Clean ads to topical events

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PARIS--In an effort make brand marketing livelier, Procter & Gamble Co. has lightened its tone in a new French advertising campaign for leading household cleaning product Mr. Clean.

The new ads, designed by Grey, Paris, will see the bald, earring-wearing, muscular marketing icon Mr. Clean address consumers on a series oftopical issues without actually communicating directly about the brand.

The first ad in the new topical campaign saw Mr. Clean wish French consumers a Happy Valentine's Day. The pink poster showed Mr. Clean holding a heart-shaped sponge under the slogan: "His only love is your interior."

P&G first experimented with the topical approach during the 1998 World Cup held in France, when Mr. Clean appeared in a soccer-themed ad. The approach was successfully used a second time in August 1999 during a spot that made reference to the full eclipse that crossed much of Europe.

The positive response to the one-off ads led Grey to propose an extension of the idea. Mr. Clean brand advertising in France will now be basedaround this approach through 2000, with at least one topical ad per month,according to sources at Grey.

The next ad is scheduled to debut in March, but neither Grey nor P&G sources were willing to divulge the topic. While the campaign will focusprimarily on billboard and other forms of outdoor advertising, topical ads will also appear in the press, on the Internet and before sponsored TV shows on the youth-oriented M6 network.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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