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July 15, 2008

Advertising and Taste

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Perhaps the new Cottonelle campaign is a clever attention-grabber. After all, why not be earthy and charming about bodily processes? It isn't as though they're about to go away.


Or perhaps the campaign is a more-than- we-really- need-to-think-about step too far:


And what's with the use of the adorable pooch? A dog has what to do with toilet paper exactly?



posted by Michael at July 15, 2008


Sorry, but DUH.

A puppy is iconic for softness.

Posted by: J. Goard on July 15, 2008 3:04 AM

I've felt this way about toilet paper commercials for a while. Specifically, the one with the animated bears gives me the creeps. (Is that Cottenelle as well?) As hard to offend as I am, and as bland as those cartoon bears generally are, I see those ads and can think of only one thing--giant bear dingleberries. And that's nothing but gross.

TP isn't like toothpaste or deodorant or whatever; you cannot make its purpose cute. It's similar to tampons in that way.

In fact, TP producers should take a hint from their tampon-producing brethren and stick to super-broad metaphors like a person sitting in a sylvan glade with a satisified smile on his/her face. We'll get the idea. But referencing anything remotely real, like bears shitting in the woods or fuzzy puppies rolling around in crevices, is just plain icky.

Posted by: Ron on July 15, 2008 8:35 AM

Many decades ago people used corn cobs.

Posted by: Peter on July 15, 2008 9:47 AM

They use adorable little white kittens too. I actually think they're implying that their toilet paper is soft and cuddly and sweet like a puppy or kitten. I mean, imagine rubbing your behind with that cutie pie puppykins! Wouldn't that be fun?

Posted by: PatrickH on July 15, 2008 9:47 AM

J. Goard -- Good to see you! But if the comparison is Cottonelle-equals-puppy, isn't the image then of wiping your butt with a live animal? Which is weird. Maybe it's intended to generally associative. Puppy is soft, cute, happy ... Cottonelle is nice, cute, happy ... User will be nice, cute, happy ... So why the rather blunt and over-evocative reference to bran? I dunno, it seems weirdly conceived. But maybe I'm the freak.

Ron -- It is one of the products hardest to cute-ify, isn't it? I wish I'd had the guts to take a few snapz of people looking at the Cottonelle ads. Many of them stared in disbelief and dismay, as if thinking "Oh dear, at the end of my long workday, now they've got me thinking 'way too vividly about shit and ass-wiping." I'd love to have been a fly on the wall as the ad agency came up with this campaign and then sold it to the Cottonelle bosses ...

Peter -- Ouch. I've often wondered: did people back then develop really tough behinds from all the corn-cob usage?

PatrickH -- Maybe in their next campaign they'll start using cute little gerbils.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 15, 2008 10:09 AM

I'd buy those!

Posted by: Richard G on July 15, 2008 3:21 PM

"...imagine rubbing your behind with that cutie pie puppykins! Wouldn't that be fun?"

One vote for bestiality, here!

Posted by: ricpic on July 15, 2008 5:26 PM

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