Media Monday: Kelly Ripa Enjoys Laundry. A Lot.

By special request of fellow Hathor writer SBG, Media Monday this week features one of the Electrolux appliance commercials which star television personality Kelly Ripa. I chose the “Juggle” commercial, which advertises a washer and dryer, largely because I find the use of the music from Bewitched too obvious not to comment on. An embedded version of the commercial follows. You can also view it on YouTube by clicking this link.

And now, my transcription:

The theme music from Bewitched begins to play as Ripa enters a spacious, completely clutter-free room with white shelving and a clothes washer and dryer in turquoise. She wears casual, fitted clothing. She is carrying a large white laundry basket.

A voiceover says: “Now that I have my Electrolux washer and perfect steam dryer, I can juggle more things in my day.”

Ripa smiles broadly as the music picks up. She twirls toward the camera with her laundry basket, then leaves the room. She walks down a hallway. She throws a garment in an open doorway, and the camera follows it to show that it puts itself away in the closet of a pink bedroom. The bedroom is spotlessly tidy. A pre-teen girl is sprawled on the bed, reading a book. She exclaims, “Wow!”

The scene changes. Ripa is now visible through the back of a white storage unit in a yellow room. Her arms are a blur of motion as she rapidly places folded clothing on shelves. A girl is visible in the background. She sits on a white bed, playing a clapping game with a partially-visible playmate, who appears to be another girl of around the same age.

The scene changes again. Ripa is walking through a hallway with her basket. The walls are pale blue, hung with art prints. A console table is under one print, and a white chair under the other. A dog barks. Without looking, she slides a bowl across the floor with her foot. The dog appears, and eats from the bowl.

The scene changes. Three girls wearing tank tops and lounge pants in various colors sit at precise intervals on a brown couch. They are sitting very upright, with their hands on their knees. They are facing a large, flat-panel television. Black display shelves and framed art pieces are visible in the background. As Ripa walks by, each girl in turn raises her arms, and is clothed by a shirt Ripa throws into the air. She is no longer carrying the basket.

There is a voiceover: “With the Electrolux washer and perfect steam dryer you can remove wrinkles, and wash and dry clothes in just 36 minutes.”

During this voiceover, the scene changes twice. First, Ripa is back in the spacious laundry room, removing a man’s dress shirt from the dryer and looking at it, apparently appreciative of the lack of wrinkles. Next, a different view of the room is shown. Ripa throws a child’s jacket into the air, and it puts itself away on a hook behind her. She kicks a laundry basket in the foreground. She is very happy.

The voiceover continues, saying, “So you can be even more amazing,” as the scene changes back to the girls sitting on the couch. They have moved closer together, at one end of the couch. They are holding glasses of milk. Ripa enters, carrying a plate with cookies. The camera angle changes. She sits on the couch, and tilts the plate. The cookies fly through the air and into the free hands of each of the girls. The girls smile and begin to dip their cookies in their glasses of milk as Ripa looks on with a broad smile.

Ripa says, “Nice catch!” to the girls. They look at her and smile as they eat their cookies. One girl nods.

The logo for the Electrolux company appears in blue against a white background. Grey text in a font resembling handwriting appears above the logo, reading “Thinking of you.” In voiceover, Ripa says, “Electrolux: Be even more amazing.” The logo rotates, and becomes the Electrolux web address. The commercial ends.

Annnnd finally, discussion time!

I think there are some obvious points to hit here. The theme music along with the laundry “magically” putting itself away, as though there isn’t still labor involved in washing clothes even with fancy appliances. The way Ripa walks through the house for thirty seconds doing things for the children and the dog (and apparently a man who doesn’t appear in the commercial, unless she plans to wear that shirt herself), smiling brightly and all but dancing. The spotless, tastefully decorated house. Is this a realistic portrait of what housework is like? What life with children and a dog is like? SBG hates this ad. How about you? Is there a positive side?

Comments

  1. sbg says

    HAAAAATTTEEE.

    There’s just such an aura of “you can and should be able to do it ALL,” with the you being woman that just pisses me off and I can’t even articulate why. I’m sure the machines are awesome, but this one and all of the ads in this line grate on my last nerve.

    You can do it all with an Electrolux, and you can do it all while looking cute and perky and sunshiny. Work isn’t work, it’s a joy.

    It’s about as rich as those damned Always “have a happy period” commercials, as far as I’m concerned.

    PS, men can do laundry, too.

  2. says

    So, Superwoman isn’t super enough anymore.

    They had a perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of the machine and how it saves you time. Where they get into trouble is suggesting that the time saved will be used to impress others with your service to them.

    I’d pay someone $5 to do an edit of this commercial where, instead of the theme from “Bewitched”, it plays “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Stones. I mean, seriously. (“MLH” refers to Valium, which doctors prescribed women like crazy in the 60s when it came out – finally, the cure for women’s hysterical ravings about people expecting too much from them, as if the silly cows know the first thing about actual work!)

  3. says

    @ Jenn – Better Valium than a lobotomy! Though, what I’d really like is some recognition that housekeeping is difficult, frustrating work and it’s perfectly reasonable to find it so. Just sayin’.

    @ SBG – And so can children! And even children younger than the ones in this commercial are quite capable of putting away their own clothes. I think seeing the girls at leisure while Ripa-I-mean-the-magic-appliance does all of the laundry chores grated on me as much as anything else in the commercial.

  4. sbg says

    Revena, we used to have to put our own stuff away. The idea of mom or someone else doing that for the kids/spouse/whatever is, frankly, bizarre to me.

    When we weren’t in school, we’d also be the ones to hang the clothes on the line, take them down when dry and fold. Unfortunately, when I say we, I mean the girls in the family. We all had chores, but some of them failed to break the gender line. :(

  5. says

    Though, what I’d really like is some recognition that housekeeping is difficult, frustrating work and it’s perfectly reasonable to find it so.

    The very fact this is missing makes me think they’re targeting people who don’t think it is reasonable to find it so. There’s an unthinking acceptance built into this pitch: that it’s a woman’s lot in life to face unreasonable demands, and rather than try to do something to improve the situation, she should just keep applying Band-Aid solutions.

  6. Robin says

    @sbg: “we used to have to put our own stuff away.”

    So did I and my older brother. Heck, our mom didn’t even bring the clothes up to our rooms. She folded them and left the piles on the stairs so that we’d have to pick them up in order to get to our rooms. And we each had to start washing our own when we were about twelve.

    I can’t say that even super!awesome appliances would make me that perky about doing laundry. I don’t mind it, but it’s not something I look forward to, as such. And setting unrealistic expectations for the human beings actually doing the laborious parts kind of makes the product less appealing. (Plus, if the clothes started flying out of my hands onto hangers, I’d probably freak out more than a little.)

    The lack of any men or boys in the ad is… slightly odd at best. Probably in part because I know Rippa has at least two sons, so I’d expect her environment to contain boy things. But maybe boys are two messy for Electrolux World.

  7. says

    @Dom: I LOLed.

    I would prefer a commercial with a family getting ready to take Easter portraits or a family dinner or something and all the kids and the dad have gotten gross and messy. The mom just makes an “O RLY” face and the kids and dad strip down to their undershirts/slips/etc. while dad runs the washer and dryer.

    But then, I hate how very “HAY LADIES WE HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING” ads for laundry, cleaning products, and children’s food products can be. I’ve ranted about it IRL several times, because for about 4 years I was the “laundry girl” for my family of 6 (up until people got tired of losing socks). IT SUCKS DONKEY ASSHOLE, GUYS.

    I wouldn’t mind the cooking ones so much if the commercials for men’s & children’s food didn’t contrast so starkly with the “YOU’RE SUCH A FATTY FAT FAT FAT HEIFER” women’s food commercials.

  8. mana g says

    See, I enjoy doing laundry. I do. I like the sorting, the washing, the drying and the sorting and putting away again. I find laundry relaxing. And even *I* think this commercial sounds terribly stupid.

  9. says

    @ mana g – Laundry is actually my favorite chore. It’s kind of meditative! I get good story ideas when I’m sorting and folding.

    But, Electrolux, if I had a fancypants washer and dryer that cut the time it took to actually wash and reduced wrinkles and all that, I would not spend the extra time being an even more amazing housekeeper. I already spend plenty of time on that!

    I would watch a movie. :D

  10. Patrick says

    I’ve been taking care of all aspects of my laundry since I was 14 or so. It still amazes me that there are grown men who not only don’t do it, but probably never even had to learn how.

    And where is all this family’s stuff?

  11. cycles says

    Kelly Ripa is a famous gajillionaire. I seriously doubt she does her own laundry or has an opinion on the topic.

    Okay, so she’s acting, playing the part of a person who does their own laundry in this commercial, yet she’s appearing under her own name and personality, I guess in some sort of alternate universe where she’s still the famous Kelly Ripa but also a just-like-me homemaker who doesn’t actually have an army of domestic workers in her mansion? My brain is exploding.

  12. Tobey Deys says

    The only positive thing in this spot is … the Bewitched music … I loved Samantha Stephens. She was the anti-thesis of every ‘housewife’ to whom I was exposed at a tender age. She tried sooooo hard to be the ‘GE Ripa/Suzy HM’ but – thanks to her idiosyncrasies – just could not be the perfect homemaker … and really – it didn’t bother her a bit. She had that signature shrug to prove it (great post! thanks!)

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