Mr. Proper, International Man of Mystery

Some trademarks are the same everywhere: Pizza Hut® is Pizza Hut from Armenia to Vietnam. (Seriously disappointed there’s no Pizza Hut in Zambia.)

But, sometimes, the trademark used for a product changes depending on where it’s sold. There are a variety of reasons for this decision:

  • There’s already a product using the usual trademark;
  • The product name has negative connotations in the new market;
  • The company selling the product wants to make it feel more local and familiar;
  • The wholesale prices vary by market and the company wants to make it harder to sell across borders.

Proctor & Gamble’s MR. CLEAN® travels under many names for most of those reasons.

Mr. Proper

Mr. Clean in Luxembourg

He’s MR. PROPER in most of Europe. That trademark was registered in the European Union Intellectual Property Office in 1998. “Proper” is an approximation of “clean” in French (“propre”) and Luxembourgish (“propper”).

When in Germany, Mr. Clean snaps his fingers and becomes MEISTER PROPER.

Maestro LimpioHe’s DON LIMPIO in Spain (after an earlier introduction as Mr. Proper). In Mexico, he has gone by MAESTRO LIMPIO since 1981, when he was first registered with the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial.

Mastro LimpioWhen in Rome, he becomes MASTRO LINDO. His appearance under that name dates back to 1998 in the Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi.


The same product is sold as FLASH® in the U.K. I presume that’s because there was already a product called MR. CLEEN, a cleaning and polishing preparation sold by Reckitt Benckiser. Or maybe Mr. Clean just wearied of the banal translations and wanted to reinvent himself.



Thanks to Max F. for opening this can of worms by sending me the photo of Mr. Proper (that’s his thumb in the photo) and also for the suggestion to use the phrase “International Man of Mystery.”