I just saw a Bounty ad that infuriated me.
A boy is sitting at the breakfast table, blowing bubbles through a straw into his glass of chocolate milk, which is overflowing everywhere, dripping onto the floor. His baby brother sits beside him and giggles, saying, "Again! Again!"
The mom looks on, happily. She says, "When we're having this much fun, why quit?" She gets down on her knees, mops up the mess with her paper towels, which "don't quit," and at the end, encourages the baby to blow the same bubbles, telling him, "Again!"
OK, really? What moms out there are excited to get down on the linoleum floor and deal with a mess like that? What moms encourage their little ones to actively spill everywhere because it's just so darn fun to clean up?
I like to think of myself as a playful, creative mom, who can tolerate a little mess if it means everyone is having a great time. I power through the kitchen disaster area while we bake chocolate chip cookies and turn a blind eye when my daughter makes one of her "concoctions." But I'm not exactly happy about it.
As a mom, there are plenty of things that make me smile. I love being with my three kids and watching them laugh. But no matter how much fun they're having, that doesn't mean I ever like cleaning. Does anyone? You just have to do it. It's part of the job. You get through it. Again. Again.
Ads like this one try to shame us into thinking that everything we do should be a breeze if it makes our kids happy. While it's true that the benefits of being around adorable, happy kids makes the bad parts easier to bear, it doesn't make them a walk in the park. I'd like to see some Bounty execs in their suits underneath their kitchen tables scrubbing up messes and then let's see how big their smiles are.
I almost never get upset by TV ads. In fact, I'm usually the one tearing up, my heartstrings easily manipulated by advertisers. The P&G ad during the Olympics still makes me cry just thinking about it ("Thanks, Mom!"). But the Bounty ad was offensive.
Moms are smart, accomplished, passionate women. We have better things to do than wipe up milk. Don't insult us by insinuating that a good day is one when we get use a really great paper towel. I may be a housewife (hate that term!), but I'm not a 1950's-era, Stepford woman. I'd rather pick up the newspaper than pick up their mess from the floor, no matter how quick.
If Bounty wants to relate to moms, they could try to tap into the resentment moms feel about having to clean constantly without getting thanked for it, the endless mess that just repeats itself, like Groundhog's Day. They could tap into the Sisyphus-like daily task list, never-ending amounts of dishes to load and unload, more laundry to do once the last batch is done, and not glamorize it.
Being a mom is not always easy or fun. Even when the kids are happy. The housework just has to be done. At least Bounty makes it easier. Try that for an ad that won't quit.