Fillmore Fans Clamor for Kia Soap

Yes, Millard Has His Own Society

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Requests are trickling in for the soap-on-a-rope of President Millard Fillmore featured in Kia's TV ads for the marketer's "Unheard of President's Day Sale." Richard Bailey e-mailed Kia asking to buy four -- one for each of the members of the Millard Fillmore Society of Ohio.

When contacted by Ad Age, Bailey said his group likes to emulate the thirteenth president "for his mediocrity and procrastinating. He never did anything." Almost. Bailey added that Fillmore sullied his record by sending Commodore Perry to Japan to open trade routes. "If it hadn't been for Fillmore, we wouldn't be driving Toyotas today," Bailey noted.

A Kia spokesman said "We'll send some to the Fillmore folks (in Ohio). What the heck?"

Ad Age also received an e-mail appeal for the soap from M. Pamela Bumsted, a PhD in Alaska. But she wants the item for Ed Darrell, who dubs his weblog Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.

The blog debunks that myth -- repeated in the Kia commercial -- that Fillmore was the first commander in chief to have a tub with running water in the White House, explaining the legend stemmed from a 1917 newspaper piece by H.L. Mencken. While the piece was a hoax, it was adopted two years later into to reference books, encyclopedias and bad history books.

But such annoying facts will not deter the Millard Fillmore Society. Bailey said the Fillmore soaps-on-a-rope will be kept "in a place of honor."

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