Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've been really trying, baby / To hold back this Swiffing for so long

You've probably seen other ads in this series, wherein the brooms and mops try to win the women back (only women do housework, by the way) with flowers and candy. The woman in this ad, however, apparently used to use that broom for more than just sweeping up dust.

Voiceover: "Once you switch to Swiffer Sweeper Vac, you'll never go back to your old broom again."

Next on Maury: "You're no good (at picking up dirt), so I'm leaving you (for a Swiffer Sweeper Vac)!"

[the woman sees a trail of rose petals leading outside]

It was kind of stupid of the broom to make a mess on the floor that would demonstrate how much better the Swiffer Sweeper Vac was, right? What a fool for love.

[the woman looks outside; the broom is sitting in a candle-ringed hot tub; "Baby Come Back" starts playing]

God, this is so gross. It's one thing to have a broom sending flowers; you can just write that off as "the broom is trying to win back her attention by doing something nice." But there is no way to interpret this ad other than "the broom wants her to hop into that hot tub for a nice, bristly makeout session."

[the woman gives a "Really? I don't think so" look, then closes the door]

How did the broom manage to set all that stuff up, given his lack of hands? Also, how did he light all those candles, considering that his head is extremely flammable?

Voiceover: "Swiffer Sweeper Vac does it all. Its powerful vacuum picks up the big stuff, and Swiffer dry cloths trap and lock dirt and dust better than a broom, or your money back! Guaranteed."

Right on. Last chance, broom.

[the woman stands by the sliding door; the broom is outside in a towel; in the last second of the ad, the towel drops to the floor]

How can they get away with showing this filthy broom nudity to our children during prime time?

Historically, broom handles have had some association with female masturbation. (In his book The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan suggests that the association between witches and flight on broomsticks comes from witches using the end of a broomstick to vaginally apply a special hallucinogenic plant mixture that enabled them to "fly" metaphorically.) So, really, what is the fucking deal with this ad? Implying a past sexual relationship between a woman and her broom is creepy territory for an ad, but perhaps the biggest problem is that it's not quite as farfetched as all that. Does the broom want her to "remember the good times" (when they used to get it on in the hot tub) or is he trying to "win her back" (by getting it on in the hot tub)? Either way, even the most cursory amount of analysis leads to nothing good. This honestly didn't occur to anyone at the agency?

Also, if an actual ex-boyfriend did anything like what this broom is doing, how fast would the cops be called? Five seconds after she looked out the door the first time?


Quivering P. Landmass said...

I didn't have a problem with this ad until you brought up the weird sexual connotations. I had thought, "well at least it talks about the product and demonstrates the main benefits." But, yeah, isn't there a less graphic and unsettling way to accomplish that?

Gene Parmesan said...

No, there's not. I only buy brooms, Swiffers, et al. based on their sexual attractiveness. I assume most Americans are that way.