Oops, I did it again…

I’d like to take a minute and tell you about Kimberly-Clark, a modest little operation in Wisconsin that’s been cleaning up our bodily fluids for the last hundred years, and mrW’s latest supporter.

Kimberly-Clark makes everything from Kleenex to Kotex. (Alphabetically of course, there isn’t much between Kleenex and Kotex, but you get the idea.) They manufacture safety equipment, medical supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, and a truly comprehensive line of diapers, including Huggies, Depends, Little Swimmers, Goodnights and something called Poise, which Whoopi Goldberg is very excited about. (They make lots and lots of diapers.)

In addition to making diapers for all ages, Kimberly-Clark is creative. A hundred years ago they designed the original cardboard tube inside paper rolls. Impressive. More impressive, nearly a hundred years later they’ve figured out a way to ingeniously remove the very same cardboard tube without affecting the way the roll spins. Hence, millions of trees have been saved, the planet has been rescued from certain doom, and the paper roll has been revolutionized for the second time in a century by the same company. Clearly, this is the kind of company I can get behind, so to speak, so I have agreed to appear in a new commercial for their unusually durable paper towels called Viva! That’s right, Viva! (With an exclamation point.)

Allow me to anticipate your question. Why would a guy with a public affection for dirt and a known aversion to exclamation points associate himself with a paper towel whose name conjures up opening night at The Moulin Rouge? I’ll tell you why. But first, let’s watch the commercial that will soon be adding to your daytime viewing pleasure. Click HERE

First of all, yes – that’s me, Mike Rowe, narrating in the third person. I know it’s a little weird but narrating in the third person for a national commercial is something Mike Rowe has always wanted to do, and this seemed like a good opportunity. So that’s what Mike Rowe did.

Secondly, yes – those are really my actual parents – John and Peggy. Having them in this commercial was a non-negotiable condition of my deal. So, Kimberly Clark agreed to cast my actual parents as my actual parents. (Truth is, I hadn’t seen my folks in a while and kinda missed them.) So back in mid January my folks flew from Baltimore to Hollywood for a happy reunion with their oldest son, and a first-hand look at the glamour of my chosen field.

The shoot itself went very well, right up to the point where the client realized that my parents were not only more talented than me, but much easier to work with. In no time, my folks were upstaging me whenever possible and charming the VIP’s at every turn. My mother in particular was shameless, ingratiating herself to the director as well as the producer, while my father kept busy by asking maybe a hundred thousand technical questions to whomever was standing closest, currying favor with everyone from craft services to the wardrobe mistress. (Especially the wardrobe mistress.)

Anyway, it was a really unusual day for all the Rowes.

I got filthy dirty while John and Peg were utterly spoiled – squired about in a fancy limo and waited on hand and foot in the privacy of their luxurious trailer. John and Peg have been insufferable ever since, calling me from Baltimore every twenty minutes to inquire about “future projects,” and “proper representation.” I suppose I should have seen that coming.

Aside from catching up with the ‘rents, there were other reasons I wanted to make a deal with Kimberly-Clark. Like everyone I’m in business with, K-C has been incredibly supportive of mikeroweWORKS. Here in Las Vegas, they presented me with one of those giant checks you can’t exactly walk into a bank with. Nevertheless, it was somehow deposited into the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, where it will be used for things like trade school scholarships. Thanks, K-C.

Also, you may have noticed the very first shot in the commercial.

Any mention of mrW in a national TV spot is a big deal, and this kind of support means a lot. Kimberly-Clark gets it, and we’re talking about other ways to push mrW into the mainstream. (Maybe I’ll get a shot at the next Kleenex campaign, assuming they haven’t already booked my mother.)

As for the towels themselves, I will tell you in all candor that they really are a lot tougher than their name implies. K-C sent me a whole case, and aside from cleaning up a variety of culinary calamities, I’ve used mine as door mats, oven mitts, weather proofing around the windows, and extra insulation in the attic.

(Of course, I can make no official claim here on behalf of the manufacturer, and must strongly discourage you from using Viva! towels for anything other than their intended purpose. This includes substituting them for Kleenex, Huggies, Little Swimmers, Goodnights, Poise or Depends. Although Barsky has assured me they’re more absorbent than Poise…)

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to, and that’s why I’m in business with Kimberly-Clark.


PS. My father, in his own attempt to upstage both me and my mother, offered an ingenious final line in a version that nearly aired. Had he spit it out faster, it would have made the final cut. (Sorry Dad, that’s showbiz.)

42 thoughts on “Oops, I did it again…

  1. Thank Mike – It was a great shoot. Great product, great commercial, great all around. Look forward to working with Peg and John again really soon.

    Oh – and you too. Take it easy man!


  2. That’s so great, Mike! I love the commercial! Your mom and dad are PERFECT! I hope you get to do lots more of these with them.

    I’m going to try these paper towels because now you have me curious. LOL!

    Lots of great success with this I hope!


  3. Absolutely wonderful Mike. I had read about K-C’s revolution in tubeless paper rolls. I’m glad you pointed it out.

  4. Hey Mike, my family has been using Viva! for years. I literally remember the day I went to kindergarten and asked for a Kleenex and when they gave me an actual Kleenex I asked, “What’s this?” Viva was soft enough to blow your nose with and strong enough to pull out of your back pocket and put it back many, many times before getting tossed. Keep up the great work!

  5. You never cease to amaze me, Mike. I love the commercial, and am now officially fans of your parents. Another great move for mrW!


  6. A very lovely albeit “dirty” commercial. Great idea. It was cute that in the photos of Mike at various ages he was dirty. Loved seeing Mike’s real parents in it.

  7. What a wonderful commercial. They couldn’t have chosen a better mess to clean up! (Sorry about the exclamation point!!) ☺

  8. Looked like jolly good (clean) fun. I guess there are more versions, because what you’re wearing looks like the clothes from the “you’ve got” thing. Am I right? Your parents are naturals, I suppose it must be in the genes too.


  9. What a perfect commercial for a great product. Your parents did such a good job! I see where you got your talent from.

    Yeah Viva!!!! I’m so glad a product I love is getting behind a website I love!


    (currently have 2 packages of Viva in my house)

  10. Hi Mike,

    Loved your blog! The pleasure was ours, I assure you. When you’re in your seventies, you just assume the highlights of your life are in the past. Not so! Hmmm…maybe it’s time to tell my side of the adventure… Love you. Mom and Dad

  11. The commercial, the blog, this is all so sweet on so many levels. Peggy and John, great job. Mike, nice to see you honor your parents this way.

  12. Great commercial and great blog.

    3 things…

    1) Seeing the mrW logo in a national commercial is quite awesome. Congratulations!

    2) I have never learned more about my toilet paper than on this Saturday morning. I guess if you should know where your food comes from, you should probably know what’s facilitating its exit.

    3) Sounds like your parents are complete naturals… both on the screen and on the set. Including them is just another shining example of your character as well as how you came to be such a character.

    Congratulations on yet another incredible partnership!



  13. Your Mom’s a peach. Was she really this understanding when you would track in dirt as children?

    Your Dad deserves a line, though his sigh pretty much said it all.

  14. Mike,loved the commercial your parents were great the commercial was so funny..next time wipe your feet off before coming in the house Mike !!! This could be the start to something big for your parents.

  15. *I have no affiliation with Kimberly-Clark, although my dad always told me that’s who I’m named after because before I was born they had a cute commercial with an adorable little girl.

  16. Great commercial Mike. Love your parents in it. I read the entire blog with a little trepadation, thinking that you might have gone in for promoting the toilet paper you have cleaned from so many sewers and septic tanks. Viva is definitely a good choice. John and Peggy – you are great – hope to see you in more projects in the future!

  17. Great promo for mrW. John and Peggy are a natural with the camera. I see where you’re talents evolved. Maybe another career for them. Look forward to more and hearing Peggy’s side of the story.

  18. Congrats to you and mrW. I LOVE this commercial. Your parents are so sweet. I hope you got them a great agent, Mike!


  19. Loved the commercial. It’s great that you were able to share the limelight, if only for a few moments, with two of the most important people that helped you become who you are today. I think it’s great that you can share your successes with your parents. Hope to see more of your parents in the future.

    Can’t wait to hear your mother’s version of this as well. 😉

  20. I was moved by the tenderness in your face towards your parents. I like VIVA even better now . Seeing MRW in the commercial was the icing on the cake. It’s seen by everybody now. I keep trying to get attention for the site and our mission to get it recognized along with everybody else here. I may not post here a lot , but I am involved and proud of our involvement.

  21. Thanks for sharing the commerical with us! Love it! Hope to see more of your folks!!!

    Mrs Rowe, we look forward to hearing the other side of the story. 🙂

  22. Everyone here at mrW HQ wanted to thank K-C for the case of Viva paper towels. They come in very handy around here especially when Mike’s in town. We may need more very soon.

  23. I love this commercial! I’m glad that your parents got to be in it with you,they seem like lovely people (well they are lovely people, they raised a great man!).

  24. Just saw the commercial for the first time tonight on Food Network – very funny!

    Of course I had to look up if your parents were being played by your parents. This is now a favorite of mine!

  25. I love these paper towels. Although, they do have this strange side effect of smelling slightly like butter went they get wet though.

  26. I really like how you have taken your work, mission and fame and put it to Work for the working man. Nice backstory to for a classic and funny ad!



  28. It’s about 5 or 6 months after the viva commercials began, and I have to say that I really like how well your parents have taken to the camera. They’re lovely people and (YES) could ‘totally’ do the commercials by themselves. I know – I should only whisper that … because you probably would like to keep getting paid. 🙂

    Keep getting dirty, Mike. It looks good on you.


  29. Mr Rowe was one of my teachers at Ridgely Middle School back in the ’70’s. But my favorite memory of him is from our end-of-the-year home ec. party. Our theme was rock and roll and he asked me dance to The Steve Miller Band! I remember thinking “He’s pretty cute for a middle-aged guy!” And he’s still lookin’ good today! ☺

  30. Mr. Rowe –

    As a representative for Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, we have been trying to reach you regarding a speaking engagement at our facility this coming fall.

    We’ve sent a request through the appropriate channels at the Discovery Channel, with no response.

    We feel your presence at this conference would prove beneficial for all involved. The title of the conference is R3 – Right People/Right Job/Right Time. We hope to convey information about job training opportunities at Crowder College to regional employers, school counselors, students, and community members.

    Crowder College’s main campus is located in Neosho, MO, about 20 miles north of the Arkansas border, 12 miles east of the Oklahoma line, and around 20 miles from Kansas. For several years, this has been a rather economically depressed area, due to the loss of major employers in the mining, rubber, and space industries. We’re also about 20 miles south of Joplin, MO, where the massive tornado on May 22, 2011, also contributed to regional jobless levels.

    Crowder’s CTE (Career and Technical Education) and customized training departments are all about providing training opportunities to area residents but we often find that a lot of folks, especially potential employers, are just not aware of what we have to offer. At Crowder, we like to say that we still recognize the “Three Rs”, but for us they represent the Right people for the Right job at the Right time (Now!). This “R3 Conference” will work to establish strong connections among the under-employed/displaced workers in our region, potential employers, and training opportunities at Crowder College. Given your 2011 recognition through the ACTE Image Award, we thought you may be interested in helping us close the “skill gap” to which you alluded in your acceptance video.

  31. Do not lick your parents. It’s okay to like them. It’s okay to love them. But don’t lick them. You have an aura of hotness and the whole licking-the-parents thing just kills that.

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  33. it’s hard to believe that neither your dad and Mom have had any acting lessons. Their voices, the way they carry themselves are all so natural. a lot of actors have problems coming across that way. did they belong to any drama clubs in school?

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