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Charmin's Campaign Put to the Test
By: Jeff Louis
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Charmin_Roll_BearCharmin toilet paper, one of the many consumer goods manufacturers housed under the auspices of Procter & Gamble, released a new chapter in the long-running Charmin Bear ad series earlier this year. The animated commercial series, which first hit TV screens in 2000, depicts a family of bears going about their "business" in the woods. The bears are choosy, preferring Charmin toilet paper over leaves and other competitors.

The usually inoffensive and happy bears raised the ire of butt-wipe rival Kimberly-Clark, maker of Cottonelle Ultra Ripple. K-C filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) over Charmin's claims it "leaves fewer pieces behind." They also cited that online tests found on the brand's Ultra Strong Web site were exaggerated.

The BBB turned to the National Advertising Division (NAD), an entity that addresses matters concerning advertising claims. The NAD reviews national advertiser's claims and offers recommendations to stave off high-priced litigation. Decisions take about 60 days to receive, and companies are not bound by the NAD's rulings. All compliance is voluntary. 




Following a review of the claim and results from tests -- wet strength and rub testing of the toilet papers in question (ew!) -- the NAD released their decision:
  • Charmin Ultra Strong's claim it "holds up better" was found to be reasonable.
  • Charmin Ultra Strong's claim it “leaves fewer pieces behind” than Cottonelle Ultra was also found to be reasonable.

However, the NAD recommended that Charmin's spot be changed because the voice-over stating "fewer pieces left behind" was in direct conflict with the visual image of the bear's behind, which was devoid of toliet paper.

The NAD then addressed K-C's complaint regarding an online test featured on Ultra Strong's Web site. The NAD recommended the online test be pulled because it over-exaggerated Charmin's superiority and was not indicative of what consumers typically would see and experience.



   

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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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