P&G's new cleaning crew: It's Thing One and Thing Two

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Procter & Gamble Co.'s home-care brands are handled by an assortment of global agencies from Publicis Groupe and Grey Global Group, but a 15-person Connecticut promotion shop is spearheading the brands' joint $25 million to $30 million tie-in with Universal's "Cat In the Hat."

P&G Nov. 2 breaks a 30-second TV ad for its cleaning brands from Connect One, Westport, Conn., as the centerpiece of its partnership with the Nov. 21 release of the Mike Myers film.

The spot, computer-animated by Universal's Rhythm & Hues unit based on a storyboard by Connect One, is a product placement dream come true for Swiffer, Febreze, Cascade, Dawn and Mr. Clean. In the ad, computer-generated versions of all five brands are brandished by the Dr. Seussian cleaning machine that appears in the book and movie, even though the film itself includes none of the product placements.

"It wasn't that kind of property," said Bill McBrayer, partner-chief creative officer of Connect One, who said Connect and P&G didn't broach the idea of placements within the film but added that Universal had no problems with placements in the TV ad.

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"The bigger deal with any kind of entertainment marketing is just making sure the link makes sense when a consumer sees it," he said. "The TV is going to break before the movie. So the placement is just a cherry on top sometimes."

Concept One originally began discussing the deal with Nick Patterson, Swiffer assistant brand manager, last winter in the more limited context of a tie-in with the DVD release. But the agency then developed the storyboard and pitched a broader multi-brand tie-in with the film release, which ultimately was championed by Maurice Coffey, Swiffer brand manager.

Moms are the initiative's primary target, but the idea of getting kids more involved in household chores is part of the appeal, Mr. McBrayer said.

Print and promotion materials are being handled by Barefoot Advertising, which has done several other P&G multi-brand efforts. Coupons in the P&G BrandSaver newspaper insert by WPP Group's Landor Associates will also back the "Cat in the Hat" tie-in.

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