Fortune took the opportunity to chat up Mr. Clean, the chrome dome spokescharacter for Procter & Gamble's popular cleaning product. I guess we shouldn't expect too much when Fortune feels compelled to note that "P&G company regulations forbid Mr. Clean from giving his real name or answering questions out of character."
"Staying clean all the time comes naturally to me--I've perfected my cleaning technique so as to never ever get dirty. And I'm never seen out of my whites. I was recently in a contest for America's favorite icon, where I competed against the Jolly Green Giant, the Energizer Bunny, and the Michelin Man. We all got along pretty well. The Michelin Man and I shared fashion tips.
Quite a pity, actually. I understand why brand managers closely control their brand identity and associated characters. After all, who wants to find out a knockoff part-time character spent his time between trade show appearances at the local Hooters.
But creative PR folks should always be looking for opportunities to leverage the company's substantial investment in the character - especially if it speaks clearly and loudly to a valued target audience. After all, shouldn't your character have more personality than a high school guidance counsellor?
Like the closely-guarded Star Wars franchise and its coveted male 15-29 demo. Earlier this year, a stormtrooper was dispatched to the offices of Maxim magazine to serve as a one day intern. The result? A full page in the magazine, with pictures of the stormtrooper hard at work. Pictures are at the bottom of this page.