Rob Zombie Once Did a Commercial for Laundry Detergent
Did you know Rob Zombie once directed a commercial for Woolite laundry detergent? The 2011 TV ad for the cleaning product uses the heavy metal auteur's horror-focused vision, ominously illustrating a monstrous movie-like character cleaning clothes.
Two years after filming the commercial, Zombie discussed its creation on The Howard Stern Show. In celebration of this year's Halloween holiday, the long-running radio program re-shared a video of that talk on Monday (Oct. 31).
Watch down toward the bottom of this post.
As Zombie recalled to Howard Stern, his Woolite ad shows someone "dragging what looks like a body bag through a field, this creepy field. There's a spooky house and stuff; it looks like a serial killer. Then he starts pulling out laundry and torturing the laundry on these torture devices. It's like, Don't torture your clothes. Use Woolite. But at the end of the commercial, there's all the nice stuff — the pretty people wearing their nice clothes."
Between helming the commercial and appearing on Stern, Zombie directed 2012's The Lords of Salem. Before that, the metal singer and former White Zombie bandleader broke into cinema with 2003's House of 1000 Corpses, later making sequels The Devil's Rejects (2005) and 3 From Hell (2019). Zombie rebooted John Carpenter's Halloween franchise for two movies in 2007 and 2009. But he first cut his teeth in film by directing music videos.
"I started with videos," Zombie told Stern. "What I've been doing in between movies is doing some TV and some TV commercials. I did [the] Woolite commercial, and I've done some other ones since then."
He continued, "What I like about commercials, is it feels like [with movies], it'd be like if you did a tour and you [only] played one show a year. And after that show, you'd be like, 'That was a terrible show.' You need to do a lot of shows; you kind of get in the groove. And at least [with] the commercials, you feel like you keep your sort of directing chops up. Because you're there and you're working. 'Cause sometimes, if you haven't done a movie for two years, you walk on set and you feel like, 'This is awkward.'"
Still, Zombie confessed that his Woolite spot is "pretty weird."
"The thing with the commercials," he explained, "[is] they're not my ideas. They come to you. The ad agency has agonized over it for sometimes a year."
Zombie added, "[Woolite] wanted to do something, of course, that was like, scary. It's a pretty weird Woolite commercial — it looks like a guy's dragging a dead body through a field. … It's so successful [that] they're still running it. They've been running it for two years. I've seen it so much on television."
The Zombie Woolite commercial has at least two versions, per a Washington Post article from the time. One was released online, and a "milder" version aired on TV.