How many times has this happened to you: after finishing your business in the washroom, you look down and find to your dismay that little pieces of the off-brand toilet paper you are using are stuck all over your ass. If you answered “never; this has never happened to me,” well then you and I have something in common. If this is a real problem and I’m in the minority here, then I guess I should be thankful that I’ve somehow dodged this bullet with my bottom-shelf toilet paper.
Regardless of my own experiences, these Charmin Ultra commercials, with their creepy, toilet-paper-using bears, insist that this is in fact a very real problem. However, they don’t make a very compelling argument for me to switch to their product, because they don’t even claim that their over-priced product eliminates this issue that I suspect they made up just to sell toilet paper. Their ad only guarantees that this product will leave fewer pieces behind than some other brand, not the absolutely no pieces left behind that I already enjoy with my current, and considerably cheaper, brand.
I guess the guys over at Charmin are just trying to cover their asses (see what I did there?), not wanting to make some outrageous “no pieces left behind” claim and then later face litigation from irate consumers with little pieces of toilet paper stuck to their bums. You may be thinking, “That’s crazy. Who would sue over such a thing?” It turns out that the makers of Cottonelle would sue over such a thing. In fact, they “challenged [Procter & Gamble] to prove that the cartoon bears’ experience with Charmin was realistic.” I can see why the Cottonelle folks are up in arms about this, since their R&D department have apparently given up on the notion of “fewer pieces left behind” toilet paper as a scientific impossibility. Which of course explains why recent Cottonelle ads are all about selling us on a two part, baby wipe and toilet paper solution to this non-existent problem.
And don’t even get me started on the latest Quilted Northern commercials, where the little girl is giving her younger sibling a lecture about the virtues of Quilted Northern, complete with a compression strength demonstration. If I walked into my daughter’s room and saw this happening, I would wonder where we went wrong as parents. I’m sure at that point how many Lego bricks my toilet paper could hold before ripping wouldn’t even be on my radar.
I don’t know where I was going with all of this. I guess I’m just frustrated by advertising that invents a problem and then provides me with a solution. I’m frustrated that it apparently works too, since someone somewhere has a job spending money inventing these issues that none of us should even give a shit about.