If you already have gray hair you probably remember a commercial where a female voice sang “Mister Proper was in the beginning, now it’s called Don Limpio”. It was 1996 and Procter & Gamble decided to give it the same name in Spain as in the United States (Mr. Clean) or in Mexico (Maestro Limpio). If you are homesick, Mister Proper still exists in Bulgaria, Russia or Kazakhstan. You will see if the nostalgia pays off.
Really Mr. Clean
Interestingly, in the UK and Ireland there is already another product called Mr. Clean, so there he has no choice but to call himself Flash, like the DC superhero. Of course, there are few who see the muscular, smiling man, who has usually been portrayed as a cleaning genius, and do not recognize Mr. Clean. What few know is that he is the mascot has a first name and “Clean” is just his last name. The culprit, a contest gone wrong.
Let’s go back to 1957, when an advertising agency in Chicago came up with the character a year before the brand went on the market. The character was so successful in the ads that in 1962 the brand decided to hold a contest to name him. In the advertising they suggested different names such as Maynard, Waldo, Baldwin or even Napoleon (literally, “because he conquers dirt”). People saw it and said “Yeah, see, no”.
And the prize was spectacular: a house with everything inside worth $30,000 or, if not, the full $30,000. To give you an idea, that’s the current equivalent, taking inflation into account, of $304,000. All for naming a pet. Oh yes, there were also 1000 second prizes consisting of a portable radio. Sorry if, seeing the house, I don’t get excited.
The winning name was “Veritably”. That is, “Truly.” “Mr. Veritably Clean. I hope, frankly, that the house was thoroughly enjoyed. Never was so much won with less.