Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This isn't a political blog, so I'm not going to touch the possibility that this commercial is intended to reinforce the "Republicans = strong while Democrats = soft" agenda with a ten-foot pole. Fortunately I don't have to, because that's not really why it sucks.

Truly, Charmin's obsession with bears - specifically, with bears shitting - has hit an all-time low. At least in previous ads it sort of made sense - first of all, the bears were depicted in the woods, and second of all, the slogan used to be "Best for Bear Bottoms." Sure, the bears could communicate telepathically, which is kind of creepy, but at least it all fit together.

Now, however, the bears are pulled completely out of their element. They're running down the beach in a clear Chariots of Fire homage, although Handel's Messiah is playing since that's in the public domain while Vangelis' score for Chariots is not, and if you were Vangelis, would you allow the licensing rights to your most enduring work to be sold for an ad that was going to play it over bear asses?

Also, they're running down the beach, kind of heavily lumbering and looking uncomfortable. If you have to shit as much as these bears evidently do, why would you attempt to run, especially on an uneven surface like sand? And wouldn't it make way more sense for the "Hallelujah" chorus to kick in after they see the outhouses? Instead you've got the choir rolling over the inexplicable gyrating-cartoon-bear-asses shot that made me profoundly uncomfortable. I know Charmin makes toilet paper and there's got to be some reference to how one uses their product in their ads, but given how the copy itself always tippy-toes around its specific function - kind of Metamucil-esque - I'm routinely confounded by the insistence on making direct visual references to pre-shit (and sometimes mid-shit) bears.

Speaking of copy:

Announcer: "Introducing a new world of Charmin!"

A new world? Aren't we overstating it just a bit? If they were playing Dvořák's Ninth Symphony I might accept this as just the most erudite reference in advertising history, but they're not.

Announcer: "New Charmin Ultra Strong, for those who want a little more strength, and Charmin Ultra Soft, for those who want a little more softness."

They couldn't have diversified their word choices even a little more than that? "Strong for strength! Soft for softness! For those who want a little more!" I'm glad you were able to work so much information on the product in there.

Announcer: "Rediscover Charmin. Choose the one that's best for you!"

Frankly, I'm a little worried by someone who wants to use something "stronger" on their most sensitive areas while in the bathroom. "Say, Mabel, hand me that sandpaper, will ya? Yeah, I really need something with a little more strength when I'm wiping... OH GOD! SWEET MOTHER OF FUCK! WHY AM I DOING THIS??? Ah, all clean."

[cartoon bears pound fists]

Wait a minute - was that Charmin actually trying to work some street cred in there? Good try, but it might work better if the chamber music and outhouses didn't peg the rest of the commercial at somewhere around the year 1750.

You really have to love the combination of the Messiah oratorio with the heavenly beam of light when the bears near the portable toilets, though. Two new types of toilet paper, one slightly stronger and one slightly softer. That's about on par with the return of Christ in glory, isn't it?


Quivering P. Landmass said...

Wouldn't this work a little better if the cartoon bears were running along a cartoon beach, and not stock footage of a real beach?

Also, it bears mentioning, the first 15 seconds of this ad is just multi-colored bears running, with no voiceover or branding or anything. How in the hell is that an effective use of air time? Damn, P&G, I know you guys love TV spots, but think about your ads once in a while.

Hah, BEARS mentioning! Get it!?

Quivering P. Landmass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
c12h22o11 said...

That's some bad CGI.