Commercials and other promotions for Swiffer — the refillable mop and duster products by Proctor & Gamble — are commonplace on TV, social media and elsewhere.
But the product got more publicity than it bargained for with an ad posted this week that played on the image of the famous Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It” poster from World War II. The Rosie image is particularly popular in Richmond, where the Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park commemorates the entry of women and minorities into the work force.
The ad, since pulled, for the Swiffer-Bissell steam mop featured a woman with a polka dot bandana holding the new product in her folded arms in the “We Can Do It” fashion of the poster.
That brought quick criticism, most noteably from a blog on the Washington Post that questioned the idea of using Rosie to promote cleaning the kitchen instead of breaking barriers in the workforce:
Who thought this was a good idea? What ideas did they reject? Feminine Mystique: The Perfume from Calvin Klein? Using Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as Before and After images on a weight-loss poster? Using Lady Macbeth to sell hand sanitizer? Using The Lorax to sell cars? (Oh wait.) Using Cookie Monster to promote vegetables — dang it, reality! Rushing miles ahead of all the most extreme examples.
The company has since been posting apologetic, promoted messages on Twitter this week that note it is trying to remove the offending image: