I am not so much a fan of any Swiffer advertisements; the ones with the anthropomorphized dirt messes are creepy and occasionally gross, some of the other ones are just gross. Like this one.
(A woman, in all respects commercial-average – white, probably 30s-40s, brown mom hair, mom jeans, a mom button-up top – maneuvers her Swiffer Wet Jet in her freakishly white kitchen.)
Offscreen Female Announcer: With Swiffer Wet Jet, cleaning better doesn’t have to take longer.
Sidebar: I’ve mentioned before how I hate rooms that are all white. I understand the purpose of it: it’s easier to decorate for filming, probably. Sometimes it’s intentionally clinical and/or creepy. But sometimes, as now, it’s just creepy on accident. What it says to me is “this room and the person who has domain over it have no personality of their own.” Whether that’s a conscious choice on part of the person, because neutrality is inherently agreeable, or a conscious choice on part of the ad’s creative team, because neutrality is inherently malleable, depends on the situation.
Relatively reasonable premise for why a product is useful, though.
Female: (stops cleaning, sounding awed) I’m done!
(A pause; she picks up a mug of coffee that has been left out on the counter – the only careless touch in the kitchen.)
Female: (eyes widening, still awed) I’m going to drink this… on the porch!
(As she says this last part, she literally raises her eyes to the heavens, thankful and reverent.)
This commercial is a great example of the idea in advertising that the wife/mother is the only one in the house who actually does domestic chores. Which is honestly ridiculous – I personally come from a family where household chores are divided between everyone, according to what pertains most to them and what needs to be done, and I don’t actually consciously know of anyone who doesn’t.
Furthermore, what this ad implies is that the household chores, in this case the cleaning of the kitchen, are so time-consuming that the wife/mother just doesn’t have a chance to breathe and that nothing is more precious to her than the luxury of enjoying a beverage outside. She is literally so weighed down with domesticity that she is a prisoner in/to her own house.
Male singer: Freedom is just a little more time…
(The woman picks up her coffee mug and steps out the front door of her also exclusively white house. There’s greenery, there is literally a picket fence, but the house itself is completely devoid of color. Oh, there are yellow pillows on the chairs.
She goes to the table surrounded by the two chairs, and guess who’s there? Her son, her adolescent brown-haired son wearing jeans and a yellow-and-navy rugby shirt. He’s not even doing homework or anything to all appearances, he’s just sitting there.)
This is a pretty clear gendering of household chores right there. It is the mother’s duty to clean the kitchen, while her son, by virtue of his youth and his gender, has the duty of sitting on the front porch doing nothing.
(We go back to a split-screen of the kitchen: on one side, the woman, wearing a gray shirt, uses a mop to clean, while on the other, we again see the purple-shirted woman using her Wet Jet.)
Female Announcer: Mops can be a hassle, but Swiffer spray cleaner and absorbing pads can clean better in half the time, so you don’t miss a thing.
It’s good to be efficient about things, there is no doubt about that. But just once, just once I would like to see an ad for cleaning products featuring a male who’s cleaning. A son helping his mom, because it could be done in a quarter of the time of mother and son were both using Swiffer products, and that helps you not miss a thing too! Etcetera.
–your fangirl heroine.