In this recent advertisement from Swiffer, via Procter & Gamble show a real-life old-age couple getting some help with their household cleaning with a lot of free Swiffer products. This ad seeks to charm viewers with a real-life couple that together keep up a household even though they are both 90, because hey, who doesn’t love old people? This seems like it will be in contrast to typical cleaning product ads where a young, beautiful women tries to do it all, keeping her kids happy, house spotless, and food on the table.
However, as we see in the video, the notion of keeping the household clean is still incredibly gendered here, which makes this commercial hard for me to watch. Even in their old age, the wife, Lee, takes full responsibility for cleaning the house. We watch her (and I cringe) as she tries to get up on a folding chair to clean hard-to-reach areas while the husband watches. In his words, “I don’t do anything.” Even though neither of these seniors works, it seems these two have decided the woman is responsible for everything in the household, which is their choice and should be respected but seems like this classical notion of suburban home life from the past, that the husband just sits around while the wife does it all.
When she sits in a circle with her female friends to rave about the cleaning products, I question whether this talk is just for the ad or if they always just sit around and talk about keeping up their household, because it is so much work for one person to do, regardless of gender.
The target audience for this ad is made up of adults who are running households themselves, but also those who have access to the Internet because this 3 minute-long video would never land on television.