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When Brands Get Scary
By: Maryann Fabian
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For the love of all things pure and puppies, and no matter what some brands may tell you, please don’t tweet from the seat. And do we really have to talk about your bum?

There seems to be a lot more potty talk on TV this year. How did we get to this point? I know it’s 2013 and we’re all evolved humans, but...why? Can’t some things remain unspoken? I understand that a great brand attribute can be how your product feels. But can’t you sell toilet paper with endearing Mr. Whipple? Why can’t we just go back to squeezing the Charmin? Does a ballsy British blonde (Cherry Healey) have to follow us around and make us talk about our bums? Who needs to worry about the NSA when strangers just willingly give up such private information?

Maybe it’s the new generation of parents who felt so comfortable singing those potty training songs to their toddlers that they decided to get jobs advertising toilet paper. You know, the ones who think their coworkers are as thrilled as they are to know about their little darling's bathroom victories. Maybe it’s the oversharing that goes on in social media that is now leading people to overshare in their daily lives.

There was one rather telling moment a couple months back. In a Charmin commercial, a bear talked about how he liked to take a book in the bathroom with him. His choice of reading material? Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Quite possibly, it was indicative of the metamorphosis the TP industry is undergoing: From sweet, soft cloud imagery to dung (beetles).

Charmin has 22,248 followers on Twitter who apparently enjoy tweets like “It’s Friday and we have coffee in hand. Today is gonna be the sheet.” Cottonelle has about 5,600 and tried to boost it with a twerking reference. But a backlash may be starting. The website Commercials I Hate has a whole page of unfavorable comments dedicated to TP TMI. It may also have inspired this video.

Oh, and if you want to see a funny toilet paper commercial with more sophisticated potty humor, try this awesome foreign spot


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About the Author
Maryann Fabian is a copywriter who has crafted the voice of some of this country's best brands.
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