Saturday, September 10, 2005


There was an ad in last weeks Observer, a quarter page picture of a girl's ass in a pair of yellow knickers. A fine ass it was too, so obviously the ad worked by grabbing my attention. Then I saw the cartoon of a monkey holding its nose on the seat of the pants and looked to see that the product being advertised was Andrex Moist Toilet Tissue with the slogan "Could you be cleaner?" (or something like that).

Now, apart from ruining the picture of a nice ass with a mental image of a stink of shit, it occured to me then that adland seems to be constantly pushing the boat out further, ever so slowly, when it comes to personal hygiene. Ads for womens' sanitary towels and tampons are an obvious example, reaching the nadir of the tampon ad where a girl is shown to have no trouble in the dark because of the new easy-applicator (or whatever it was called). These ads now seem to be a strange mix of life affirmation, crossed with nappy-style confidence, for women.

The bog roll ads have only recently progressed from soft, strong etc. A puppy running away with bog roll does not conjure an image of the vital role performed by toilet paper (particularly after a night on the pints and a curry). So in a short space of time we've moved from the puppy to the Charmin bears looking for a bit of comfort when on the throne (amazingly Proctor and Gamble commissioned a kids' book about the bog bears); to Kandoo, the bog roll that's supposed to toilet train children. How exactly moistening the paper and putting it in a purple and green plastic box trains children to use the toilet is a bit beyond me.

Anyway, following the Kandoo ads, the marketing men have realised that moistened paper in a plastic box that isn't purple and green may appeal to adults. However adults, being toilet trained (and, having just typed that, I recall just how many destroyed bogs I've had to clean in pubs when working as a barman - some people are fucking disgusting), need another shtick (to be beaten with). Hence we're told that, by wiping our asses with ordinary dry paper after taking a dump, we risk stinking... or at least we do to cartoon monkeys having a sniff around our buttholes.

Incredibly, when googling for a picture of the ad I came across this webpage. What kind of muttonhead buys a new type of bogroll and decides to review it on the net? The reviews include this gem: "Remember the old joke about the best (thickest) toilet paper was 007, then there was 006, 005, 004 down to Goldfinger! Safe rates at about 006, which suits me just fine when I realise that we are not cutting down Australian old growth forests to make it, but using recycled office paper which would otherwise be landfill and make the poor old earth suffer a bit more." from a woman who cites the main disadvantage as being "not enough pretty patterns."!

Anyway she's wrong. British Gas have bought Dyno Rod, the can-be-seen-from-outer-space-due-to-ridiculous-illuminous-orange-vans plumbing specialists. They released a report claiming that all these technological advances in arse-wiping are causing problems for Britain's drains, with both Kandoo and the Moist Wipes (essentially the same thing) taking longer than 5 days to disintegrate. Andrex wouldn't comment.
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