Lately I’ve become increasingly alarmed by the explicitness of TV commercials for toilet paper. For example, the other day I Old-Faithfulled the soda I was drinking when this ad played: “This is one way to keep your underwear clean. This is another: Ta-da!”
That’s a recent plug for Charmin, the TP brand that uses animated bears to discuss bathroom tissue issues. The subjects range anywhere from needing less squares to the amount of tissue fragments get left behind on the bear’s bottoms.
It’s cute—until you start to think about the real-life implications the scenarios set up. And then it’s disturbing.
Whatever happened to the old-fashioned ads that simply spilled a blue fluid on a few squares, stacked a bunch of coins on top and dragged it across a rough surface? It was discreet, but we all got the message.
Now it’s as if the toilet paper companies are in some sort of euphemism competition for powder room paper propaganda.
Which is how I came to find a large box of samples on my front porch.
I’m a member of a social media-propelled market research network called Crowdtap, in which I fill out surveys and occasionally get prizes. A few weeks ago I was notified that I was selected for a product sample.
I was excited, since last summer I was involved in a product sample for McCormick Grill Mates and got a whole bunch of marinades, sauces, rubs and seasonings. But my enthusiasm was wiped out—sorry—when I read the brand I was going to sample: Cottonelle.
Cottonelle, the TP brand that uses a yellow puppy on its packaging, is currently on a marketing crusade for its new Clean Care Routine, which is supposed to make you “feel cleaner and fresher than with toilet paper alone.”
The marketing angle Cottonelle has selected to go with is a euphemism-rich campaign to make a consumer such as yourself “test your cleaning logic.”
The ads put the Charmin bears to shame: “If you think about it, using toilet paper without moist wipes isn’t really much different than washing a car without water,” the lady says.
She then “washes” people’s cars with only a dry towel, interviewing them as she goes. She tells one miffed customer, “If you’re not happy here, think about your own bumper.”
You can imagine how proud I was to be selected as a participant in this sampling.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind the honor of testing out the product. It’s just that, when one is asked to sample a product, one is then expected to tell others about it. Which brings me to the final movement of this week’s column.
I had just finished some light reading on a Friday morning and decided to do the paperwork for this product sampling.
The Cottonelle Clean Care Routine goes in two parts: number one is traditional toilet paper and number two is a box of flushable moist wipes. You use number one and number two for number two, but you use neither for number one.
Maybe toilet paper ads have gotton a bum rap, but I have to say this Cottonelle routine cleans up pretty good.