Mr. Clean - Legendary Campaign

Packaged Goods (GOLD)
Canadian Success on The Global Stage (GOLD)

Client Credits: Procter & Gamble
Associate Marketing Director: Scott Beal
Senior Brand Manager: Nick Higgins
Assistant Brand Manager: Kriti Lodha

Agency Credits: Leo Burnett, Toronto
SVP, Creative Director: Heather Chambers
SVP, P&G; Brand Agency Leader - Heidi Philip
Group Account Director: Leigh Armstrong
Account Supervisor: Laura Yeo
Account Executive: Emily Gilbert
SVP, Senior Planner: Steve Meraska
Experience Planner: Thomas Kenny
Digital Creative Director: Greg Bolton
Senior Art Director: Mike Cook
Senior Copywriter: Stephen Stahl
Art Director: Mike Sheehan
Copywriter: Marty Hoefkes
Art Director: Mike Morelli
Art Director: Chris Brown
Art Director: Steven Tiao
Copywriter: Britt Wilen
Media Agency: SMG, New York
PR Agency: Citizen PR, New York

Total 3095 Words


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):June 2013 - May 2014
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: June 1, 2013
Base Period as a Benchmark: June 2012 - May 2013

a) Overall Assessment

Please, not another product demo


The household cleaning products category is flooded with literally hundreds of variants, and brands within the category have fallen prey to overuse of classic category techniques like product demos, creating a sea of sameness in the consumer’s mind. People find that one product demonstration blends into the next.


Within this morass of claims and demos, Mr. Clean faced a particular challenge. As a product, it wasn’t the newest or the least expensive, so it needed a different point-of-view that could separate it from the pack. On top of it all, Mr. Clean felt like an older brand. This story was evident in the business too: Mr. Clean sales had suffered declines in volume and dollar share, despite continued brand support. Something had to change or the brand risked obsolescence. 

This is a case that proves a little personality can go a long way, courtesy of Leo Burnett Toronto.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Reinventing an icon called for some pretty big objectives to be addressed. 

From a business standpoint, Mr. Clean had to reverse both the declining volume (95 IYA) and dollar share (97 IYA) (1)from the previous year (2012-13) – and all with essentially a flat media weight. (2)


From a communications standpoint, we had to convince consumers that it was worth paying a premium for Mr. Clean products and also, perhaps even more daunting, rekindle the latent affection consumers once had for an aged brand in the modern world.

c) Annual Media Budget

d) Geographic Area
US National
Canada National

1. Mr.Clean Marketing Plans – 2013
2. SMG – Media Plan Outline - 2013

a) Analysis and Insight

Mr. Clean Becomes a Real Friend

Our primary insight source wasn’t a deep research study, or a bunch of focus groups: it was Facebook.  Like many brands, Mr. Clean had a brand page and it quickly became our real-time lab. What we discovered was that product messages weren’t working at all. What was working was how people talked about Mr. Clean as a guy. There was a surprising affection for him, and fans started personifying him in human terms.


What started as brand page became Mr. Clean's personal page on Facebook. Everything would be in his voice - not that of a brand mascot but of a real friend on Facebook talking about what goes on in his life and the world, and his understandable passion for keeping things clean.


The results were astounding. The page grew to 500k fans and consistently maintained one of the highest engagement ratios of all P&G brands on Facebook. Before long, our social presence was receiving accolades from the likes of Mashable, Buzzfeed and the Wall Street Journal.  The brand was achieving a sense of momentum and cultural relevance it hadn’t seen in over a decade.


The Insight: There was an emotional attachment to the Mr. Clean character that we weren’t reciprocating.


Our one truly differentiating asset, the Mr. Clean character himself, had been given a back seat to product performance. What we needed to do was put him front and centre.


The success we saw on Facebook and then Twitter provided the validation we needed to go beyond social media and commit to a complete restage of the brand.



b) Communication Strategy

Bringing small screen learning to the big screen

We wanted to tap into the latent affection for Mr. Clean and remind people that he is the original cleaning expert – an icon of clean who has dedicated his life to help people clean faster and easier. It was from this articulation that we created the new ‘Legendary’ campaign.


The Strategy: Bring Mr. Clean - our brand’s most valuable asset - back to the forefront by re-establishing his credentials as the legendary icon of clean.  

To re-introduce him to the masses we created an origin story of how he came to be, through a cheekily epic 80-second spot that ran in cinemas and online, with a 60-second version running on TV. The launch spot was accompanied by out of home billboards, print, and online media all featuring Mr. Clean front and centre. What began as a few Facebook posts had become a national, fully integrated campaign that placed the man above all, and meaningfully separated the brand from the pack in the way a product demo never could.

And it didn’t stop there. As the campaign gained traction in North America, our creative platform was being rolled out in France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Greece.

a) Media Used

·      Launch Video (Cinema, TV, Pre-roll, YouTube) 

·      Cinema Lobby Posters

·      Online Media & Pre-Roll

·      Outdoor Billboards

·      Social

b) Creative Discussion

IDEA:  ‘The Origin’

Launch Video (Cinema, Pre-Roll, TV)

Given Mr. Clean’s iconic status, we decided that there was no better way to reintroduce him to the masses than through an origin story as legendary and the man himself. Our idea, ‘The Origin’, set out to establish Mr. Clean’s cleaning credentials by telling the story of how he came to be the king of clean. This came to life in an epic launch video called ‘The Origin’ which appeared in cinemas, on TV, on pre-roll and on YouTube. No longer would Mr. Clean be relegated to a bumper at the end of a spot, he was now the central focus and his mission would be the lens through which we would introduce consumers to his products.   


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Cinema Lobby Posters

To complement the launch video, which ran just prior to the movie trailers in cinemas throughout the start of the summer, we developed movie-themed posters that would appear in theatres during the same period. The contextually relevant posters played up Mr. Clean’s legendary status while teasing ‘The Origin’ video that cinemagoers were about to see.




In addition to the posters, we also created a life-size standee of Mr. Clean wherein moviegoers could take their picture with him and tweet it to us for a chance to win free movie passes.




Online Media & Pre-Roll

We developed online display banners, which would appear surrounding a cut down of ‘The Origin’ which was running as pre-roll. The banners would reinforce Mr. Clean’s legendary status and drive consumer to Facebook, where they could get to know him ever better.




Outdoor Billboards

We wanted ‘Legendary’ to be more than just a campaign, it was to become the big, bold and iconic approach we would take to all communications related to our character. Nowhere was this more evident than in our out of home where Mr. Clean would quite literally become larger than life. Pairing Mr. Clean’s immediately recognizable iconic features with legendary headlines, our outdoor billboards were engineered for maximum impact.






In Facebook and Twitter, we continued to treat Mr. Clean as a real friend. While other channels played up his legendary status, in social we gave brand advocates a window into the man behind the myth. By showing both sides of Mr. Clean – public and private – we hoped to deepen women’s connection with our icon. A big part of this came through real-time, reactive content creation. When someone reaches out to Mr. Clean on Facebook or Twitter, rather than getting a response from a community manager or a customer service rep, they get a response from Mr. Clean himself.


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c) Media Discussion

In light of the cinematic nature of our new campaign creative, we decided to launch the ‘Legendary’ work on the silver screen. Where better to reintroduce an icon than amongst the icons of today?


This bold new visual identity cried out for an impactful out of home opportunity to showcase its distinctive colour palette and design. This led to our outdoor billboard buy.


Knowing how much time our target spent online, we rounded out our plan with a robust digital media buy that included pre-roll, standard banners, search and promoted social posts.

a) Sales/Share Results

Results: Legendary results  


Despite an essentially flat media weight between fiscal years 12/13 and 13/14, we exceeded all of the business objectives previously outlined.


The campaign not only successfully reversed declining volume ad dollar share, it achieved record-high dollar share in North America 9 months into the campaign.




·       12/13 Volume IYA : 95          13/14 Volume IYA : 106

·       12/13 Volume IYA : 97          13/14 Volume IYA : 105


During the campaign period, our social engagement metrics were exceptional also (2) :


·       6.5 million YouTube views

·       During the campaign period (June 2013 – May 2014) Facebook alone delivered :


-       317,396 new fans (a 52% increase), with total fans now at approx. 939,000

-       Total reach of 228,492,109 impressions

-       Cited by Facebook as BIC Brand Page (3)


Not only has the campaign delivered incredible success across North America, the campaign has gone on to be an international campaign running in 10 different European markets – France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands and Greece. All of which are off to a fantastic start!

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

1. Results provided by Mr. Clean HSC Brand Team – Business Update
2. Results provided by SMG and Leo Burnett – Campaign performance tracking debrief
3. As stated in Facebook Publishing Garage Sessions run during 2013/14

a) General Discussion

There are several ways to connect the advertising to the sales results:

  • After only 9 months of the new campaign advertising, we achieved both record dollar and volume share results in North America.
  • The campaign was quantitatively pre-tested and received an ‘Above Average’ score relative to base within the mandatory P+G testing methodology. (Footnote 1)
  • Our overall media weight was flat from the previous fiscal year.
  • The new ‘Origin’ TV spot received the ‘Ad of the Day’ from Adweek in the US (June 2013). (Footnote 2)
  • Immediately after the launch of the ‘Origin’ spot we began to see favourable commentary coming through on our social feeds in direct reaction to the new work (Footnote 3)

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

The Mr. Clean brand experienced essentially a flat media weight between 2013-2014 (campaign period).



Distribution Changes:

There were no major distribution changes (4)

Unusual Promotional Activity:

Promotional activity was consistent from the previous year (5)

Other Potential Causes:

Product launches:

Whilst Mr.Clean launched their new Liquid Muscle multipurpose cleaner (Fig A)  into the cleaning category during the campaign period, there were also notable product launches from both Pine-Sol (Fig B) and Windex (Fig C) within a similar timeframe. (6)

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Fig A – Mr.Clean Liquid Muscle; Fig B – Pine-Sol – Squirt ‘n’ Mop; Fig C - Windex Touch-Up

1. P+G Mr. Clean Research Results Presentation – April 2013
2. Adweek Publication, June 13th 2013
3. Mr. Clean Facebook pages, June and July 2013
4. Mr.Clean – Marketing Plans – 2013
5. Mr.Clean – Marketing Plans – 2013
6. Mintel Report – ‘Cleaning the House, US, June 2014’