This Tasteless Floor Cleaner Ad Trivializes Child Prostitution

A jarring Thai ad campaign for Penguin Multi Surface Floor Cleaner makes light of child prostitution in one of its print works.

Titled “Soliciting,” the ad shows a schoolgirl and an older businessman’s legs standing next to a bed. Before you’re fooled into thinking that this is an innocent scene, the reflection on the clean floor show the man paying the child. The ad also gives viewers a disturbing look up the child’s uniform style skirt. The tagline reads, “Filth has nowhere to hide.”

thai ad bad child prostitution

Photo: Ads of the World

Child prostitution is a tragic pandemic, especially in Thailand. According to the UNICEF, one million children are forced into the sex trade market in Asia every year. ECPAT, an international NGO dedicated to ending child sex abuse in Thailand, says that 40 per cent of prostitutes in the country are under 18 years of age. While the real numbers are unknown, NGOs estimate that 60,000 kids are prostitutes.

Statistics aside, it is very hard to get a handle on Thai agency Hakuhodo’s intent for the ad. What’s the message here? The scene certainly shows a “filthy” situation, but associating the brand with a criminal and pedophile will hardly motivate people to run to the super market to buy some cleaner.

The other ads in the campaign are slightly less offensive.

 “Bribe” shows that the two men are exchanging money under the table. 

thai bad ad bribe

Photo: Ads of the World

“Payoff” shows that the man in the loud shirt has a loaded gun taped under the table in case things don’t go according to plan. This is the only situation where a clean floor might be useful to a subject in the ad.

thai ad bad money

Photo: Ads of the World

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