Reaching parents in real time: The Clorox Ick Awards

Stephen Whiteside

As any parent knows, it only takes a second for a family dinner to descend into a riot of spilled drinks and discarded food, or for dirty hand prints to appear on a freshly-laundered white shirt.

Rather than promising to provide domestic bliss, Clorox – which makes products ranging from disinfecting wipes and bleach pens to multi-purpose stain removers – decided it wanted to celebrate the mess and mayhem that inevitably comes with raising children. And just as hours of cleaning can instantly be undone by a muddy footprint or a dropped ice cream, it chose to do so in real time.

The result: the Clorox Ick Awards, an event run on Twitter from 6pm–10pm on April 9, 2014. Users of the site were invited to outline their tales of parenting chaos and confusion using the "#Ickies" label, with the categories under consideration including "Showdown Mess" and "Most Epic Mess". The top suggestions were then re-enacted by members of The Second City, the Chicago-based improvisation and comedy troupe, with the resultant videos being uploaded to the microblog, and to YouTube, shortly afterwards.