Pine-Sol goes after ‘convenience cleaners’

Who: The Clorox Company of Canada (PIne-Sol), with FCB Canada for creative. Production/post-production by Circle, Married to Giants, Alter Ego, Wingman and Grayson.

What: A new campaign, “Give cleaning 99.9%.”

When & Where: The campaign launched this month across TV, online video and Pinterest, running through next summer.

Why: Disinfecting has taken on additional importance during the pandemic, and Pine-Sol’s objective is to get so-called “convenience cleaners” to question their methods and start using its product. The campaign is about reinforcing Pine-Sol’s stated claims that it can kill 99.9% of household germs, including COVID.

How: The creative is aimed at a customer subset called “convenience cleaners”—those people who tend to use whatever’s at hand, like a socked foot (guilty, although never for peanut butter) or their bare hand, to clean up spills and other messes.

Creative shows people using less-than-optimal methods to clean up spills when they think nobody’s watching, only to have an authority figure shame them by catching them in the act. A voiceover assigns random percentage values about how clean the mess is using that particular tactic, while noting that Pine-Sol can get it 99.9% clean.

What about the COVID killing claims? Health Canada lists Pine-Sol among the hard-surface disinfectants and cleaning products that are “likely to be effective and may be used” against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (although the list is 53 pages long).

In September, The Clorox Company’s U.S. division announced that Pine-Sol had received approval from the U.S. EPA for kill claims against SARS-Cov-2, following third-party laboratory testing using 10-minute contact time on hard, non-porous surfaces.

The COVID effect: Not surprisingly, the pandemic has been a major contributor to the bottom line for companies specializing in cleaning products. In its annual report released earlier this month, the Clorox Company said that sales for its cleaning segment, which includes brands such as Pine-Sol, Clorox and Tilex, were up 30% on a year-over-year basis, while company wide sales were up 8% to US$6.7 billion.

“With a name that’s synonymous with the words ‘clean’ and ‘trust,’ Clorox is uniquely positioned to expand the base of consumers, communities and people we serve beyond the pandemic,” said the company’s outgoing CEO Benno O’Dorer in the report.

And we quote: “Let’s face it: we all know somebody who takes cleaning shortcuts when nobody is looking. But COVID-19 has taught us if you aren’t disinfecting, you aren’t really cleaning.” — Matt Kohler, vice president of marketing, Clorox Company of Canada

Chris Powell