Man with blue eyes and beard looking directly at viewer

Meet the face of new marketing, equipped with a mustache. Through November, the legendary Mr. Clean mascot for Mr. Clean cleaning products will be growing a ’stache in proportion to the amount of new likes he gets on his Facebook fan page. Obviously, Mr. Clean doesn’t actually exist, and neither will his mustache, so the folks at Procter & Gamble who manage the brand will be the ones updating the page with a new avatar every time a new threshold is reached on the mysteriously titled “Mustache-o-Meter,” also located on the Facebook fan page.

The reason for the radical change in appearance is ostensibly in support of Movember, a month-long initiative in support of prostate cancer, which in a display of male solidarity has caused a global outbreak of handlebars, pencil-thins and the occasional fu manchu. Participants can raise money for cancer research on Movember’s website. Mr. Clean has raised $120 so far.

While the cause behind the mustache (the upper-lip, if you will) is certainly a good one, it also serves another purpose for the Mr. Clean brand.  The fact is, Mr. Clean was way overdue for a makeover. He is an American advertising icon, and, like others created in a simpler age, such as the Maytag Repairman and Julius Pringles (who ironically has been criticized for not ditching his antiquated facial hair), he has struggled to stay relevant and increase awareness among the omnipotent 18-35 year old demographic. Think about it – do these ad relics seem “cool” or “modern” to you?

By attaching the Mr. Clean brand to a hip cause like Movember, and promoting it through Facebook, Procter & Gamble has provided a blueprint for other older brands to follow. Mr. Clean has gained over 21,000 new fans on Facebook since the beginning of the month. The promotion is a clever, relatively effortless way to increase exposure, and P&G has backed it up by creating a funny and engaging Facebook personality in Mr. Clean. “Can someone get on developing a mobile Scentalator app? I need to leave my house for a bit,” he wrote on November 13.

Mr. Clean has a new look, a new personality, and perhaps most importantly, a new base of potential customers. The man has been clean-shaven since his birth in 1958, but the next time I’m at the grocery store, I’m going to be a little startled to see him without a mustache on the packaging, and perhaps give him a second look.

That second look is the result of a job-well-done by the smart folks at P&G. Give yourselves a pat on the mustache.


This post was first published by Jason Fidler on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense.