Swiffer’s New Ad Features A Real Multi-Racial Couple And An Amputee Dad Who Cleans The House
The ad, by Publicis Kaplan Thaler, pulls so many progressive levers at once that it risks feeling contrived or opportunistic, but ultimately ends up coming across as real enough to actually warrant a rare bit of respite from cynicism. Enjoy
Last May, a Cheerios ad featuring a multi-racial family went viral. Its fans held it up as a sign of long-overdue demographic changes in advertising, and as with seemingly anything on the Internet, its detractors felt the need to make racist comments about it.
Within that context, it is easy to be jaded about Swiffer’s new commercial, which features the Rukavina family. The mom is black and the dad is white and an amputee. And as a bonus, he’s the one doing the household cleaning, not his wife. At first glance, it seems like a corny attempt by a casting director to create the perfect ad to start an Internet discussion.
The Rukavina family is real, however, and has had a career in the media. The commercial, like the rest of the family’s television history, is primarily about the father, Zack, adjusting his life to losing his left arm to cancer:
Publicist Kaplan Thaler, the ad agency behind it, was certainly looking to get the cleaning brand attention through a “progressive” commercial, and it succeeded. This could have come across as obnoxious, but the final product is a sweet look at a family with a dad who can especially benefit from the product advertised.
Zack proposed to his wife Afi in 2012 on the Yahoo web series “Ultimate Surprises,” and has appeared in television shows like “Switched At Birth.” His family also appeared in a dramatized documentary about his life as an amputee.
Most Inclusive Ad Ever?
Swiffer Spot Stars Interracial Family, and Dad’s an Amputee Plus, he cleans the house!
Here’s a feel-good moment from Swiffer. A new ad for the brand stars an interracial family, which deserves some credit, if lamentably, in light of the idiotic controversy around last year’s Cheerios ad. But also, Zack Rukavina, the husband and father in the documentary-style spot, also lost an arm to cancer—a fact that is central to the ad’s narrative about how the brand makes cleaning easier, and which seems to be earning the P&G-owned brand extra points.
Zack is also cast as an active participant in the cleaning, unlike Morty Kauffman, the husband in the geriatric Swiffer-endorsing couple from last year, who only does the laundry and leaves the rest to his wife, Lee. In fact, Rukavina even cracks wise about how much better he is at cleaning than his wife, Afi.
The ad, by Publicis Kaplan Thaler, pulls so many progressive levers at once that it risks feeling contrived or opportunistic, but ultimately ends up coming across as real enough to actually warrant a rare bit of respite from cynicism. Enjoy.