Number Two No Longer Taboo for Marketers

From Charmin's Toilet Bloggers to IPhone Scat Apps, Bowels Moving Quickly to Mainstream

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Robert Rosenthal
Robert Rosenthal
It's official: The popularization of poop is a solid movement. And marketers smell an opportunity.

None other than the New York Times reported last week on the increasing amount of marketing activity being devoted to the "moist toilet-paper category." Wet-wiping is a burgeoning business, and it's not just for babies' behinds any more. That makes sense, as demographic data demonstrates the country is aging. That's why, from Cialis to Activia, a lot of TV advertising now is dedicated to products that harden your tool and soften your stool. So it should come as little surprise that advertisers would be the first to jump on this opportunity to bolster their bottom line. Product needs to move as often as bowels do.

Naturally, Procter & Gamble is already behind this. Advertising Age reported that "Toilet Blogging Will Pay More Than Huffpo Blogging." The article elaborates that the brand is seeking "Charmin Ambassadors" to staff its Times Square bathrooms this holiday season. I realize you can't spell "ambassador" without an "a-s-s," but this is a sad step down. Being appointed an ambassador used to be a position of enormous prestige for people like Joseph Kennedy and Jeane Kirkpatrick. Now the tour of duty follows in the esteemed footsteps of Mr. Whipple.

Look, we've all had memorable experiences on a toilet -- most of which we'd prefer to forget, much less make public. But now, the world's largest package-goods company is actually offering $10,000 for people who "really, really enjoy going to the bathroom" to "entertain bathroom guests ... and blog about the experience." Where's George Michael -- seems right up his alley.

From clogging it to blogging it: Have we reached bottom? From where I sit, I'm afraid not. It seems inevitable that the potty is going public and the continued descent into indignity will be fed by our insatiable consumption of crap TV and tabloid fodder. I'll bet we'll soon be seeing programs like "Celebrity Dump," "America's Next Toilet Talent," "So You Think You Can Poop" and "MTV Presents: Thrones."

Nor is the focus on feces confined to TV and the blogosphere. Charmin offers a repulsive video demonstration, in spite of using toothpaste to prove its point. Facebook fan pages and Twitter poop groups already abound. Of course there is an app too -- and surely more on the way.

I, for one, am not going to take this sitting down. I'm calling for a media boycott on the subject. A total brownout. And it's time for advertising agencies to stand up and stop brown-nosing P&G before they drag the entire industry into the toilet with them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Rosenthal wrote and performed his standup routine at the Improv, Caroline's and the Comic Strip and earned a professional cooking degree from the Institute of Culinary Education. He is the former president of TBWA/Latin America and is a partner in BrightLine iTV.
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