“Clorox Volcano Ad”

The advertisement I chose to analysis is the “Clorox Volcano Clean-up commercial.” This ad was first shown on television back in 2011 and still plays today. The ad gets me every time it comes on. I love all three characters’ reactions throughout the commercial. It is one of those commercials that makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it. The best part is when mom walks in with a look of how, why and sets the spray down and walks away. The item being sold within the advertisement is Clorox Clean-up spray. When it comes to the audience I would say moms/women because that’s what our society would say and that is because society associates cleaning products with women. Although, in this commercial the moms’ nonverbal communication (handing dad the bottle and walking away) clearly shows the audience that the dad and daughter will be cleaning up the mess. So the audience could be adults as well as young adults no matter their sex. The advertisement is striking because it shows a relatable situation to the audience, but in a comical manner. The commercial begins with a father and daughter bounding over a science project. They are in the kitchen about to watch their creation of a volcano. The volcano begins to erupt in what seems a success, but once the daughter speaks of getting an “A” the volcano takes a turn for the worst. The volcano begins to explode, drenching everything in the kitchen with lava. Just as the eruption has stopped mom walks in the door with a look of horror on her face and hands dad and daughter “Clorox Clean-Up Spray.” The comical aspect is watching the reactions of the dad and daughter. The ad could be seen as challenging in a sense because instead of mom cleaning up the mess like society would think, dad and daughter are given the spray to fend for themselves. I think this is challenging society in breaking the mold that women are homemakers and we are the ones who only clean up messes. With that said the commercial does fit the stereotypical dad making a mess with the child, but in this case they are the ones who will clean it up and not mom. Different concepts could be seen within this advertisement, but I chose to apply Burke’s pentad concept. The pentad is a concept that holds five terms: act-what happened, scene-where, agent-who’s talking, agency-techniques used, and purpose-why, which help to discover the motive within the ad. First, the act is the father and daughter creating a science project that turns messy and takes a turn for the worst. Second, the scene is placed at their home in the kitchen, a common and/or relatable setting. Third, the agent is adults and young adults. Fourth, the agency is an advertisement displaying a huge mess that could actually happen within a household and that Clorox will be there to clean it up. The agency shows the audience what they may have already experienced within their homes and that no matter how big or small the mess Clorox is the best choice when cleaning it up. Fifth, the purpose is to show the audience once again that where there is a mess Clorox is there to clean it up. The purpose could also give the audience a sense of security knowing that a cleaning agent could clean such a huge mess. Along with these five terms a ratio can be seen throughout the advertisement and that is the act and purpose. The ad starts with the dad and daughter creating something amazing and then it turns into chaos, but finishes with the thought that the mess will no longer be there. This commercial has a familiar feel to it for the fact that families can relate to a situation of messes that occur on a daily basis whether it be that large or not. I thought the ad was effective because it grabbed my attention from the beginning and still today two years later makes me laugh my butt off. Also, if a commercial that aired in 2011 is still playing today it must have had some kind of impact on the audience to still be airing in 2013. Another way to show effectiveness would be if Clorox Clean-Up sales rose after the ad aired then the hidden motive was accomplished and/or effective, which was selling Clorox. The only change if at all could be to show the cleaning process by the father and daughter and the after shot of the kitchen. This change although could turn people away from watching the advertisement because it is too long and the mystery of how they cleaned the kitchen is lost. All in all I love this commercial for the simple fact of how the characters react to what has happened.

– Kaitlyn Everett

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