Bad Marketing: Bad Taste Still Reigns Supreme

On the treadmill this evening, while watching TV, I was aghast at a commercial for a particular brand of toilet paper. I blogged last week about a really smart toilet paper marketing strategy – that of Charmin and its TP wedding-dress contest.
This blog post is about the toilet paper commercial I viewed today, which left me aghast.
Tonight, one of Charmin’s competitors showed a truly disgusting ad for its products. It depicted a woman who was conducting speed-dating with numerous young men. There was a hidden camera. One of her key questions to each man she met for this first time: “What do you wipe your bum with?” Yech. Gross. She proceeded to ask similar questions to the many men she was seated across from, one at a time. And then she whipped out the toilet paper, to show them what they should be using.
Am I being old-fashioned to believe that, in the real world, no one would ever say such things in polite company? However, this ad basically says that a conversation such as this one is totally acceptable, if not desirable.
It’s insulting and idiotic. As a product copywriter, and a marketing copywriter, I find it unbelievable that a company has to resort to something so offensive. But that’s where advertising is nowadays – in a race to the bottom.
Then – get a load of this. The TV show on the air when I was on the treadmill tonight was a wedding-gown show, where engaged women visit a famous store to select their dress. In tonight’s episode, a young woman cane prancing out of the dressing room, dressed in white to-the-nines. One of her friends didn’t like her gown selection, proclaiming that it was not “awesome balls.” I kid you not.
Perhaps this type of vulgarian is what the toilet paper people are aiming for. Just when I think that TV and the media can’t get any lower – it does. Sad but true.

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