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Monday, February 27, 2012

"I'm here to snake your drain."

Posted by on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

The new Liquid Plumr ad:

Guess what? Religious conservatives aren't happy. "They are attempting to use sex to sell a product to unclog drains," fumes the American Family Association. (Someone alert ad execs: sex can only to be used in ads that actually sell sex.) And you gotta love this: "It may be a coincidence, but the man in produce is standing besides cucumbers with a price sign behind him reading 69 cents." May be a coincidence? You think? (Via JMG.)


Comments (66) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
that Pineapple on the front door...Yes it's a fertility symbol from way back.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Vince 2
I could say they can go fuck themselves but they already do.
Posted by Vince on February 27, 2012 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Ah, that was great, but it makes me really glad I don't have a TV.
Posted by Alice Dreger on February 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 4
Not to state another obvious thing here, but they wouldn't be all that pissed if a dude needed to unclog his drain aided by some smokin' handywomen.
Posted by icouldliveinhope on February 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 5
The guy on the left can unclog my drain anytime
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 27, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
pfffter 6
@5 I'll take either guy ... or both.
Posted by pfffter on February 27, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
I subscribe to American Family Association's email list, JUST so I can buy the stuff they want people to avoid. Their breathless email arrived earlier today about this ad: "full of sexual innuendos," "offensive and completely inappropriate for television," etc. etc. I'm gonna buy me some Liquid Plumr!

I've also started buying stuff at JC Penney after OMM got their panties in a twist over JCP's selection of Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson. Oh and you can imagine how much they loved Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls... a delicious ice cream flavor if ever there was one.

Really, everybody should subscribe to OMM's email list and use their "don't shop" rants as a "do shop" guide. If you're interested:…
Posted by Evn on February 27, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@4 exactly. Advertisers use sexy women all the time to sell products and I don't see them complaining.
Posted by karolena on February 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Hmm, for some reason I suddenly have the urge to smoke a cigarette...
Posted by madscntst on February 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
I could watch this ad all day. Advertising perfection. So this is what it's been like for (straight) men all these years...
Posted by sfgurl on February 27, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
balderdash 11
What ad execs really need to know is that sex gets attention but it doesn't sell products. Research actually shows that brand recall is lower after commercials that rely on sex for impact.

I mean, I don't want to side with the conservatives here, but to my personal taste, sexualized ads are pretty abhorrent - sort of like it would presumably be for religionists if products tried to use Jesus to market dish soap or whatever. Or maybe they'd like that because you can never have enough Jesus. I don't even know.

Anyway, sex-based ads are shitty and they don't work, but I feel that way about ads in general, so whatever.
Posted by balderdash on February 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
venomlash 12
When she knocked a few bottles off the shelf at the end, I instinctively glanced under my desk to see where they'd fallen. DAMMIT.
Posted by venomlash on February 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
her reactions are hysterical
Posted by stephen.g on February 27, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
balderdash 14
Although for what it's worth, if the product was actually a video of those two guys plumbing out that woman, instead of some shitty toxic drain cleaner, I'd definitely be interested in that.
Posted by balderdash on February 27, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Besides just buying and endorsing every product/show/spokesperson OMM and American Family Association opposes, another way to be positive in the face of their negativity is to support this facebook page, 1 Million people who support Ellen for JC Penney. They already have 193,000+ Likes; wouldn't it be fun to actually get it to 1 Million, compared to the 40,000 or so Likes on the so-called "One Million Moms" facebook page? Please go to the facebook page and "Like" it and share it.…
Posted by Violet415 on February 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 16
Was that a Super Bowl ad? 'Cause that was way better than the few I saw repeated the week after.

balderdash @11, I'd be inclined to buy it now because I thought it was funny, not because it was sexy.

Who else kept thinking of South Park's "sweet hummingbird love" due to the Issac-Hayes-esque voice-over?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 27, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
--MC 17
The thing was timed like a 30 Rock segment. The gal's timing owes a lot to Tina Fey. I'm surprised they didn't do the whirling camera thing.
Posted by --MC on February 27, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
I agree with @4 and @8: Marketing execs have been using sex to sell stuff to men since the invention of advertisements. Why haven't they complained about those horrible beer ads with women draping themselves all over the men who drink the "right" beer, or the innumerable car ads that use nearly naked women on top of the car? They are only upset because the shoe is on the other foot - two men are sexually objectified for the pleasure of a . . . WOMAN! The horror!

And either or both of those hot plumbers can snake my drain any time they want!
Posted by SherBee on February 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Neptune 19
That was the funniest ad I've seen in a while! I love the part where her hair got caught in her mouth!

@4 Ding ding ding! I just hope it results in the ad itself getting more attention. Because, seriously, it's not like Liquid Plumber is the one that's going to look bad.
Posted by Neptune on February 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM · Report this
I love this ad, but I can't remember seeing anything this hot/suggestive on my TV ever! Is this actually on the air, or just on the internets?
Posted by bobbo on February 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this

How about the guy "slicing ham".

Get it?

Slicing ham?

Actually, I don't and urban dictionary doesn't define it.

So you tell me.

Slicing ham? Huh? Know what I mean, guv'nor?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
The meat counter guy should have been spit-roasting a chicken.
Posted by pox on February 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
What IS OFFENSIVE about this ad is that women's sexuality is more or less 'equated' with cleaning, cleaning hair and shit out of drains - that's HOT...
Posted by elizms on February 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
ankledeep 24
Oh, it's not the slicing of the meat you need to pay attention to but rather the pumping of the ol' ham slicing machine forward and back. That's right, you pump that ham, mister. And other guy, fondle those melons. uh huh. Just like that. "Grocer, why I hardly know her."
Posted by ankledeep on February 27, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
The guy in produce is also squeezing melons...
Posted by bigyaz on February 27, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
@20: Web only for this one. A cleaned-up version is on TV.
Posted by bigyaz on February 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 27
Funniest ad I've seen since the old spice commercials.
My favorite bit is where she says "Ok" and it comes out weird because she's losing her faculties.

@14, I agree. And I prefer to use a high quality metal snake and the bicarb soda / vinegar approach;…
Posted by doloresdaphne on February 27, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Knat 28
Okay, finally caught my breath to post a comment.

I loved that ad. That was hilarious. I have seen my wife do that exact same shiver.
Posted by Knat on February 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
pragmatic 29
Just a bunch of humorless house fraus, pay no attention...
Posted by pragmatic on February 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
aardvark 30
love the gaping drain hole shot
Posted by aardvark on February 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 31
now maybe if that woman was a Rick Santorum lookalike it would be funnier..."need to snake out some of that Santorum?"
Posted by runswithnailclippers on February 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 32
I think this is a pretty clever parody of all of the "sex sells"/lonely housewife/romance novel/porn plot stereotypes. It's a drain cleaner, for crissakes. A few of the commenters here are as humorless as the one million mom crowd.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 27, 2012 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Gospodean 33
@25, "chopping meat" is an old R&B term for sex. See the great Roy Brown to sum it up fer ya....… least that's where MY head went right away!
Posted by Gospodean on February 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Decent Christian women unblock their drains with their own pure bile, thank you very much.
Posted by FeralTurnip on February 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
sirkowski 35
The idea that there is too much sex on TV is ridiculous. You can't even show nipples.
Posted by sirkowski on February 27, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
balderdash 36
In fairness I could not actually watch the video while I was at work.
Posted by balderdash on February 27, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 37
@34 Snap! Perhaps it is *you* who is caustic. :->
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 27, 2012 at 9:12 PM · Report this
prompt 38
Surprisingly quick on the uptake about those cucumbers. I wonder what that says about the people who are noticing and complaining about them.
Posted by prompt on February 27, 2012 at 9:13 PM · Report this
Hilarious, I love the guy slicing the ham.
Posted by nifty on February 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 40
Quibble: doesn't guy #2 particularly set off your gaydar? Kinda messes with the premise, or at least the simplest and least kinky interpretation of it. Not that there's any wrong with that.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 27, 2012 at 9:29 PM · Report this
Greg 41
I thought it was funny.
Posted by Greg on February 27, 2012 at 9:31 PM · Report this
@11 You are absolutely correct. "Sex sells" is one of the biggest psychological myths.…

Maybe someone needs to tell that to the conservatives so they can shut the hell up about sex brainwashing people.
Posted by TheLastComment on February 27, 2012 at 9:33 PM · Report this
Funniest ad I've seen in awhile.
Posted by kersy on February 27, 2012 at 9:41 PM · Report this
@34, perfect.

@26, I could not believe, at all, that they would allow this on TV.

I haven't seen a commercial this good in... ever! And the woman's pretty sexy herself, particularly at the supermarket.

But if it was a man objectifying women in this way, wouldn't we be railing "Sexism!" and decrying a backsliding to pre-feminist times?
Posted by floater on February 27, 2012 at 10:16 PM · Report this
Keep your commandments out of my drain!
Posted by beccoid on February 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 46
Oh, and for what it's worth: when I go home to tend to Mother Vel-DuRay (which I do twice a year) I go into full housewife mode. (it's like the first reel of "Gypsy", in that it usually ends up with me storming out with a piece of jewelry or flatware to hock)

There is a butcher at the local Hy-Vee who makes a visit to the meat/seafood counter a daily requirement. He literally made my Christmas Eve day when I got lost in his eyes as he went into long, boring detail as to how I should make scalloped oysters ( which I already knew how to do, and much better).

Sure, I paid twenty-five bucks or so for two pints of very dubious oysters, but it was SO worth it. Much better than blowing it at one of the casinos.

Housewife fantasies are real!
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM · Report this
I object to all this sex on the telly! I mean, I keep falling off!
Posted by cattycat on February 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM · Report this
doloresdaphne 48
@44 who said "But if it was a man objectifying women in this way, wouldn't we be railing "Sexism!" and decrying a backsliding to pre-feminist times?"
if the genders were switched, this ad would be tired and boring.

This ad is funny to me because it's refreshing (and true). I don't often see women on telly portratyed as becoming foolishly distracted by lust, especially not nerdy women, and especially not over a fantasy of two men at once. It's funny cause it's true.

Switch the genders, and it's still true, but it's not funny, because we already saw that script repeated ad nauseum in the 70's, 80's 90's and 00's. Both this one and a male equivalent are based on objectification, but the male one would be more sexist because it's a script that has repeated so often over the TV years that it's sent a message out there that women on telly are usually there to play the sex object role.
Posted by doloresdaphne on February 28, 2012 at 3:13 AM · Report this
I'm with @4, @8, and @18: an organization that criticizes this ad for using sex to sell and fails to criticize all adds using sex to sell when the target audience is masculine is being hypocritical. Do the Million Mums care when they're targeted, but not when their Million Hubbies are?

@48, I disagree that "objectification" would have to depend on frequency of occurrence to be true. The difference is, I think, that since an ad like that, targeted at women and their fantasies, is rare, you're glossing over the "objectification" of the men in the ad and simply feeling how true it is that women also have fantasies. In other words, you identify with the woman in this ad, who is in a superior(?) position. You would also identify with the women in a similar ad targeted at men, but there you would feel "used" or "objectified".

In other words, I don't think it's a question of frequency, but of who you choose to identify with here. (Leaving aside the whole question of whether using the power of one sex to affect the other is actually "objectifying"...)
Posted by ankylosaur on February 28, 2012 at 5:23 AM · Report this
@47 wins this one!
Posted by Clayton on February 28, 2012 at 5:29 AM · Report this
@30's right, the drain shot is great, especially the sexy drain clearing sound introduced by the smooth voiceover. Overall, very well done. I'm surprised Clorox sexed up Liquid Plumr!
Posted by WestSeven on February 28, 2012 at 5:35 AM · Report this
@49 nails the fact that the woman in the spot is in the "superior" position working the snake as the guys stand behind her at the sink. It's the guys who are objectified. She's totally in control.
Posted by WestSeven on February 28, 2012 at 5:50 AM · Report this
Mr Ank - I wonder about the "superiour" position. It's not as clear here as it is in other commercials. I'd like to see a study of how often protagonists are portrayed as clearly authoritative and how often as hapless broken down on F/M lines.

I'd agree with you about truth, likely, though impact is different. This instance reminds me of virginity. Compare heterosexaul virgins male and female, each of whom wants to marry another virgin. Which, despite walking the walk, has the history of millenia of oppressive roles?

In a general and vague way, though, I'm inclined to agree with the sense of your post. There are things I rarely buy that I'd probably buy rather more often if there were someone different in the advertising.
Posted by vennominon on February 28, 2012 at 6:27 AM · Report this
Jenny from the Block 54
Posted by Jenny from the Block on February 28, 2012 at 6:33 AM · Report this
after I recovered from my laughing induced seizure, I totally sent those plumbers to my bf's fb page
Posted by zack on February 28, 2012 at 7:15 AM · Report this
Ginny Tonic 56
I saw this ad the other day and just had to laugh. I've been saying for years that it won't be too long before a woman wanting a three-way with two hot guys would be just as common and taken for granted fantasy as the reverse is for guys. I didn't think we would get to the using a MFM three-way to sell cleaning products quite this quickly.
Posted by Ginny Tonic on February 28, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Funny. And those of us who prefer lady-parts also got some sex appeal--I found the female protagonist very attractive. The hair-in-mouth bit was perfect--funny, yes, but her flustered yearning was quite sexy. It may be a cliche but it works--women who wear their hair up not only show off the typically lovely female neck and ears, but they can make the classic move of letting their hair down as a signal that says "I'm horny" (very helpful for clueless males such as myself).
Posted by Functional Atheist on February 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
Just awesome parody. It's more making fun of the lazy "house-cleaning satisfies women!" while also providing a little eye candy (but not to the point of ridiculouslessness ... I saw this a while ago and I think the guys keep their shirts on). The actress is also brilliant; her role could have been pretty rote but she pulled it off.

My favourite part is cutting to the drain action -- just because that gross-ass CG clog is totally poking fun at selling anything unsexy (like a giant greasy burger...) with sex.
Posted by Gloria on February 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Oh, that was excellent.

Many drain pipes these days are plastic pipes with hand-tightened fittings. Easiest things in the world to take apart and reassemble. Just unscrew the P-trap and yank the clog out with a gloved hand or whatever tool is handy (screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, etc).
Posted by brendan on February 28, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Geni 60
I'll be in my bunk.
Posted by Geni on February 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
@60 -- :-)
Posted by ankylosaur on February 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
@53(Mr Ven), I wondered about the "superior" position, too (hence the question mark). But I even have some doubts about how well one can really determine when protagonists are clearly authoritative. The possibility of reinterpreting a scene if one shifts a couple of possible variables around (cf. 'topping from the bottom') tends to cause problems. Rather than trying to assess the "deep truth" of situation in the ad itself, I'd probably try to assess how often the people who watched a certain number of ads considered certain protagonists to be authoritative and/or "superior". (That might also be an interesting thing to compare across cultures. I'll bet there are ads who seem male-superior in one culture but female-superior in another.)

Indeed, history makes situations that are apparently mirror images of each other have different meanings. In the context of one kind of economic disparity, a movie showing Black muggers vs. a movie showing White muggers will have a different impact. But: the situations still are, in the abstract, mirror images of each other; and if the reason for fighting against the imbalance in a certain society is the ideal of equality, that 'things shouldn't be like that', then both images do go against this ideal, no matter which one has the more -- or less -- stereotypical distribution of participants.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
If you click through to Moms411, the blogwriter apologizes for some of her views on the Westboro church, which might have seemed extreme, but says that she still thinks homosexuality is wrong. I'm still in shock that ANYONE would agree with Westboro ON ANYTHING.
Posted by MinnySota on February 28, 2012 at 10:18 PM · Report this
Funny and well done--and owes EVERTHING to John Waters' "Dirty Shame."
Posted by Ben Zero on February 29, 2012 at 6:58 AM · Report this
My favorite all time commercial and my very conservative, ex-Marine husband actually DVR'd it show to me. I wonder what my women's bible study group would think. I bet they'd give it a thumbs-up. Smart Christians have figure out a way to have a spiritual life and live in the real word.
Posted by pudwellssi on February 29, 2012 at 6:02 PM · Report this

I am forever in your debt. Those *horns*! Fuck yeah!
Posted by Lord Domly Pants's Bane on March 1, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this

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