The guys who write ad copy these days must all be on crack. Either that, or we have entered an amazing time, a time when the “don’t give a shit” generation has finally found its voice. Is it my imagination, or are ads getting weirder and weirder these days?
A few examples:
Charmin bunwad. I have, in the past, written reams (or the electronic equivalent) about Abstergent Materials and the peculiar cultural association of Excrement and Ursine Mammals. That cultural association is popular enough hereabouts that Procter & Gamble decided to crapitalize on it, creating a family of lovable bears who somehow did not get the memo about members of the Ursidae clan and their obligation to shit in the woods. No: These bears have indoor plumbing, and they apparently do all their dump-taking and arse-wiping on shiny porcelain fixtures.
But WTF kind of slogan is this: “We all go. Why not enjoy the go?”
Let’s parse this one, shall we? We can start by replacing the euphemisms with their deeper, darker meanings. “We all gotta shit. Why not enjoy taking a shit?”
It’s an interesting choice of verb, that one. Enjoy. And P&G has apparently given it some thought. From their Charmin website: “Welcome to the playful side of TP. Where we believe going to the bathroom is a thing to enjoy - even celebrate. Can we make you a believer?”
Make you a believer, eh? Hmmm... I wonder what kind of baptism that involves. Yeef.
Look: I enjoy a cold Martini and a medium-rare ribeye steak. I enjoy reading a good book. I enjoy making the Two-Backed Beast with my lovely Missus. But crimping off a length I do not, precisely, enjoy: It is not so much a source of delight as it is a relief. A Necessity of Life, as it were. And my choice of asswipe is not going to elevate the experience to, say, the degree of pleasure I experience when I hit a good tee shot or listen to a good piece of music... not even if using it could provide the sensation of a $1000 hooker licking my nethers. I'm happy enough if I don’t rub myself raw or suffer the consequences of the dreaded Poke-Through.
I suppose the term “tolerate” doesn't sell much Tee Pee. Neither does the catchphrase “We all gotta take a dump. Why not minimize the unpleasantness?” But enjoy? That’s a bit of a stretch - and celebrate is definitely going too far.
Use this handy guide to help you identify various types of bears, only some of which shit in the woods. Left to right: Charmin bear, Arctic bear, Yogi Bear. [Click to embiggen.]
Give the Charmin folks credit, though. They’ve laid waste (you should excuse the expression) to a long-standing Cultural Taboo, and now it’s OK to talk about not just Toilet Paper, but the reason it is used. Yes - primetime shit, complete with cartoon bears!
Universal Studios Theme Parks. “Fly like you’ve never been grounded, scream like you’ve never been
shushed, let go like you have nothing to lose and hold onto what matters
This ad appears to have been written by someone who had built a career in
the Greeting Card industry and who was sleeping off a three-day bender
when this assignment crossed his desk.
“Scream like you’ve never been shushed.” Really? Am I the only one who finds that phrase peculiar? As though being asked, at some point in one’s life, to STFU, somehow creates a psychological barrier to future Enjoyment via Loud Shouting?
Maybe Universal should make a deal with P&G to borrow those Charmin bears. “Wipe like you’re gonna enjoy it!”
Kia Soul. What’s up with those fucking hamsters? I guess there’s a demographic that likes to imagine themselves as mutated giant rodents with a taste for house music and boxy little cars in which to play it at earsplitting volume. And, on a certain level, it makes sense. Hamsters gotta have they Wheels.
“Hey, anyone got any toilet paper? I think I just sharted!” The Kia Soul hamsters enjoy a pleasant evening drive. Based on the noise and graphics, they’ve each done about three hits of windowpane.
Tell you what I’d really like to see: A cross-promotional campaign that would feature the Charmin bears and the Kia Soul hamsters doing guest shots in each others’ ads. Bears driving cars and listening to Feenixpaul... hamsters wiping their shit-caked butts and raving about how much they Enjoy the Go! I’m a Quilted Northern man, but I’d switch to Charmin if they started using those hamsters. Just saying.