Zombie Janitors and the Complexities of Janitorial TV Marketing

The best way to effectively market commercial janitorial services on television has been a question on my mind for quite some time. The issue lies in the fact that when your janitorial service is going well, very few people even notice its existence. Then when it goes bad, the offending company is immediately fired and a new company is hired as quickly as possible. This is just the nature of the beast. However, the problem correlates to marketing when the topic of “cleaning” and “janitorial” service is viewed as irrelevant or boring to professionals. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The cleanliness of a facility generally makes its way into the health and success of every professional in the building. Many just don’t realize it. But how do you succeed in making important decision makers profoundly change their outlook on the importance of your industry in 30 seconds or less? The simple answer is you don’t. Instead, you strive to make your company’s advertisements as memorable as possible. This way, when a company’s looking for new janitorial services, your brand is close to their mind and will likely be chosen to participate in the bidding process, where you will often have the opportunity for that “profound influence” on their views regarding janitorial service.
So the question became, how do you make a substantial advertisement for a janitorial company that will be memorable and entertaining? To get started, we knew we needed a campaign tagline and theme. While wading through several ideas, we stumbled upon the question, “is your janitor brain dead?” From the moment we began discussing the phrases brain, dead and janitor, we were immediately struck by an idea that everyone can appreciate…zombie janitors. You see, recently there has been a surge in the popularity of zombies through TV shows, advertising, literature, etc. This zombie renaissance made it plausible for us to seriously discuss the reality of using zombies to sell janitorial services, which was obviously a lot of fun. However, we knew that there were three important key elements that had to be in place for a zombie janitor ad to be effective. Real world problems, extremely high production quality and a style that demanded attention, not necessarily laughter.
Real World Problems
The demand for these ads to carry the weight of real industry problems was paramount. Many professionals have learned to just accept mediocrity from their cleaning services and we wanted to point out that this should NOT be the standard. Utilizing well known industry horror stories, we integrated important scenarios into each ad to make the viewer ask the question, “is my janitor brain dead?” In this first advertisement, we decided on mopping a floor with dirty water. We unfortunately hear of this issue quite often from clients seeking a new janitorial service. To  me, nothing screams, “I just don’t care about your business,” like this issue.
Extremely High Production Quality
Knowing that people have become conditioned to expect extremely high quality zombie themed productions, like the hit TV series “The Walking Dead” and popular advertisements like Toshibas “Ramifications” ad, we knew every element of our production had to be top notch. With this in mind, we decided to shoot our ad on the new Red Scarlet-X UHD cinema camera. This would allow us to capture the very specific look we wanted. For the gnarly zombie makeup, we reached out to Alyx Vetter, who is a local transplant with years of experience in theatrical makeup. As for our zombie talent, we tracked down Zack Newberry, who amongst other talents has an extensive background in set design and acting for indie productions. By meshing the talents of these professionals with the combined knowledge and experience of the teams from Pro Power Clean and CreativeWave, we were able to bring a quality to this advertisement rarely if ever seen in local productions.
The Style
Thankfully, there are many styles you can choose from when working with zombies. With consideration for all of our options, we eventually decided on a more serious, “grindhouse cinema throwback” direction. We wanted the mood to feel less like an ad and more like what you would have seen in a 1970s horror double feature. The reasons for this were simple. First off, we did not have a multimillion dollar budget to compete with the cutting edge makeup and visual effects of Hollywood industry pros like Tom Savini, so we decided to compete with a slightly more realistic genre. Primarily we knew that the contrast to everything else being shown and advertised on our projected medium was of paramount importance. There are very few styles that are more unique and demanding than the style of grindhouse, so we took it and ran. The elements of grindhouse that can be found in this ad are many, but some of the more pronounced elements are the use of color, film process effects, titles, and camera movement.
In the end, we were left with what we all believe to be one of the most unique local advertisements around. With a level of pure “awesomeness” that is off the charts. Enjoy the ad below, which is the first of many for this campaign. Feel free to check back often for new content.
Written By
Andrew J. Allsbury
Owner & Creative Director | CreativeWave, LLC.
VP of Marketing | Pro Power Clean, INC.
Produced By: CreativeWave, LLC.
Project Shot on RED
Client: Pro Power Clean, INC.
Make Artist: Alyx Vetter
Talent & Zombie Aficionado: Zack Newberry