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World - Middle East

Lewinsky's dress stain becomes TV spot

detergent ad
A mock FBI agent recommends Biomat laundry detergent to clean a dress owned by someone named "Monika Lavinsky"  

Detergent ad spoofs Clinton relationship

August 17, 1998
Web posted at: 4:01 p.m. EDT (1601 GMT)

TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- As President Clinton comes clean in his grand jury testimony about Monica Lewinsky, their relationship is being lampooned in an Israeli television commercial -- for laundry detergent.

The Lever Israel company uses Lewinsky's stained dress -- which has been examined to determine if the stain contains genetic material -- to suggest that its Biomat detergent can deal with even the most stubborn stains.

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The 30-second spot shows two actors playing FBI agents breaking into the "home" of Monica Lewinsky at night. Their mission is to remove, wash and return the dress at the center of an investigation into whether Clinton had a sexual relationship with the former White House intern, lied about it and urged others to lie about it.

For what the company called legal reasons, the spelling of Lewinsky's name on a mailbox outside the house was "Monika Lavinsky."

But the two agents slip up in their apparent mission to protect the president.

On leaving the house, they report by wrist radio that their mission is done. The newly laundered dress is now "whiter than white," one agent says.

"White? But it's a blue dress," says a voice in their earpieces.

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The commercial premiered on Monday on Israeli news programs to coincide with Clinton's closed-circuit television testimony to a federal grand jury.

"We believe that this kind of humor will help us reach the consumer," said Yair Sharett, an Israeli representative for the multi-national Lever group.

Matti Weinberg, a partner in Weinberg, Carasso, Shamir -- the Tel Aviv ad agency that produced the TV ad -- says the client loved the comical plot.

Some people may find the spot in bad taste, says Weinberg, but the agency's aim was to have a laugh and boost sales.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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