Earlier this year Tiffany and I had a chance to learn about Procter & Gamble’s creative efforts in bringing Mr. Clean to life at the FUSE Conference in Chicago.

Little did we know at the time, that a brand truncation might be in the works, and that there could be reason for an addition to the Alpha Watch here on DuetsBlog.

The only brand truncation visible on the Mr. Clean billboard (currently posted in the Twin Cities metro area) shows some non-verbal brand elements — the bald head with bushy white eyebrows:

To see any evidence of the brand truncation for the verbal element, one needs to visit the website noted in the ad to view Mr. C: YourTube/MrClean.



There you also will be reminded of the other non-verbal brand elements missing from the billboard that I would think are key to any recognition of the Mr. Clean character, if no words are to be used: White t-shirt, folded arms, toothless smile, and sparkling left earring:


Turns out, to see Mr. Clean’s piercing blue eyes in a static representation of the non-verbal brand, I had to visit the USPTO website. Procter & Gamble, surprisingly doesn’t appear to have sought any federally-registered rights for the Mr. Clean character or any of his distinctive visual elements, at least separate and apart from the words Mr. Clean.

The Procter & Gamble marks that do appear on the USPTO database having the word “bald” in the description of the mark field, include only these two composite marks:


Question for our designer friends and marketing types: Why do you suppose the billboard hides Mr. Clean’s eyes, and the YouTube banner does too?

When a lie detector test is not handy, isn’t the “look me in the eye” test the best surrogate? If so, what does that say about brand authenticity and transparency, or am I reading way too much into the missing eyeballs?

As attractive as the billboard is, I was surprised to see only 221, 587 views of the video it promoted, especially since the only call to action in the ad is to “see his opic story” at YouTube.com/MrClean.

Marketing types, does this look like the making of a successful ad campaign to you? If not, do you think showing Mr. C’s eyeballs may have attracted a few more of others’ eyeballs?

It seems a bit light on the engagement side to me (although it certainly caught my attention, albeit as someone who doesn’t make purchasing decisions like these), so what do you think?