By Sophia Ricco
When Rob Madden posted a picture of the catastrophe his children had created in the bathroom sink, he never would have guessed it could lead to a major surprise for his family.
In search of America’s biggest mess makers, Clorox found the Madden family’s bathroom disaster, that children, Delaney, Reagan, and Theodore created with the help of a red bath bomb. As a Christmas present, from a relative of Jade, their mother, the kids took it upon themselves to play with their new toy.
“We saw the bathroom door was closed and walked in to all of them are making bubbles,” Madden said. “They had filled up the sink and were just splashing pink water all over the place.”
The sink, walls and floor were covered with soapy, pink water, a scene that would leave any parent shocked. As Rob took in the scene, he captured the moment on his phone and decided to share the messy moment on Instagram, hashtagging #messykids.
“When you walk in and see your kids doing that, you have two options,” Madden said. “You can be mad or you can laugh and save it for the Thanksgiving dinner table in 20 years.”
Months later, Clorox was looking to promote their new Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes and felt the Madden family deserved a space for the kids make a mess. With promises of a huge surprise, Clorox transformed the Madden’s basement into spectacular playroom.
“It was surreal, more than anything else,” Madden said. “They put mats down on the floor and built an entire playset, which was really nice.”
The Maddens were pleased to find the kids feel a sense of responsibility to keep the playroom in immaculate condition, with the help of a year supply of Clorox wipes.
“First day, my kids usually go to bed at 8 p.m. and they were down there until 10, asking if they could sleep down there,” Madden said.
A poster saying “Vacation Awaits” was the final surprise for Rob and Jade, who were given luggage and airline gift cards, allowing them to plan a trip for themselves. Both attended the U.S. Naval Academy and have been greatly impacted by 9/11 and wars overseas, losing family and classmates. Clorox wanted to ensure the entire family could benefit from the mess and Rob was delighted to share the playroom is the new spot for the kids’ playdates.
“The kids own our house, they own every room,” Madden said. “We haven’t had company since 2013. Our dining room was the previous play room and it was a mess. What’s nice about this is, we’ve migrated their toys down to this room. Now, we might be able to get our dining room back and have company over.”
This transformation kicks off Clorox’s #UltraMess contest. They invite people to share moments of massive messes on Twitter, with a chance to win $10,000 and a year supply of Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes.