This ad is actually introducing two different companies, one is Mr. Clean, the cleaning brand, the other one is a residential cleaning franchise called “The Maids.” Mr. Clean wanted to use this ad to announce that they have partnered up with The Maids, and that all services provided by this company will be using Mr. Clean’s products. This advertisement consists of a colored woman dressing like a cleaner, she is standing in a well-cleaned room, expressing a sense of pride for doing a great job cleaning for whoever lives in that house with her body languages. The phrase “Mr. Clean made his choice, Make The Maids your choice too” is taking the central place in this ad. Clearly, this ad is trying to sell not only cleaning products, but also sell services provided by this residential cleaning franchise. The main targets of this ad are mainly those relatively wealthy families that can afford hiring people to do cleaning for them.
From my point of view, there are two main problems in this ad. First, by saying “Mr. Clean made HIS choice” while having a woman standing next to this slogan, it feels like this ad was made based on the stereotype that men are the ones that can sit in a chair, have a cup of coffee in their hands and give orders to women to do the cleaning tasks. Especially when the partner they chose is using such a stereotypical name – The Maids – the female servants. The second problem that I want to address from this ad is that fact that they chose a colored woman, which makes me feel like they are implicitly sending a message that all maids are colored women. So, to criticize this ad seriously, I would say this ad is gender biased, and also somehow racism.
Here is another evidence that can support my feeling that this ad is somehow racism. In the other ad they created, all three cleaners are colored women.
Here is my jammed version of this ad. Unfortunately, I am not super good at using photoshop or any kinds of photo editing apps. So, I figure the most straightforward way to dig out the implicit message and make it visible to the public is to use words.
First, I replaced the original first line of the slogan with a slightly altered phrase. Instead of saying “Mr. clean made his choice,” I changed it to “Mr. __ made his choice” to generalize the male character to men in general, as a way to point out how this ad is implicitly putting men in the position of being able to make autonomous choices. In the original slogan, it says “make The Maids Your Choice Too,” putting women in a position that can only wait there to be selected by men. So, the second line is replaced with a sharp and straightforward phrase “get colored women to be your servant!” to directly point out how not only women are being seen as lower-ranked, this ad is also ranking colored women even lower in social class.
I also changed the color of the slogan. Instead of using one of the soft and calming colors like the ad originally chose, I chose dark red because it is more striking and eye-catching. Moreover, dark red looks like the color of blood, symbolizing the cruelty of the implicit message this ad is conveying to consumers.
I think it is very important for potential consumers to uncover the latent message hiding beneath the smiley faces in this ad. Gender stereotypes, as well as race/class discrimination, should not be promoted and used as a way to sell more products/services. My jamming can dig out the latent and absurd message and made it clear and obvious for the public, so that people can be more aware of these issues and think deeper about them.
Source for original ad: https://marketersmedia.com/mr-clean-partners-with-the-maids-of-cape-cod/407997
Source for supplemental evidence: https://zh-hk.facebook.com/mrclean/