They say everyone has a nemesis. I have four: the family of pooping bears from the Charmin toilet paper commercials. Man, I HATE those guys. I’m a big animal lover and wildlife advocate, but I’d happily hunt that damned species to extinction. In case you live in a happy world where the Charmin bears don’t flaunt their most intimate personal habits, these bears are cartoon characters who have represented the Charmin toilet paper company since the beginning of time 1980s. They even have names. (Based on this, I begin to wonder if these are even real bears. Everyone knows bears have names like Yogi and Boo-Boo and Smokey and Tim.)
I’m hardly the first to issue a complaint against these ursine exhibitionists who insist on over-sharing how proud they are of their tidy, furry asses. Google “Charmin Bears” and you will generate about 121,000 results – none of which are, “I LOVE the pooping bears!” Among my favorite online rants are:
- The Charmin Bears: Can We Stop Pretending This is Cute?
- The Charmin Bears Must Die! and
- Scraping Bear Bottom: P & G’s Toilet Paper Ads Declared Misleading.
This last item recounts an ad watchdog group’s contention that the cartoon bears exaggerate how much is left behind when they use the product in the woods. I assume they took a survey?
We do learn some interesting wildlife trivia in the commercials, such as the fact that mother bears (at least the animated variety) carefully inspect their offspring’s nether regions for the controversial “pieces left behind.” Also, this particular bear couple uses the toilet paper for unauthorized and perverse purposes, rubbing the tissue all over themselves and their partners sensuously. And yet they have only two cubs. Go figure.
In 2012, Proctor & Gamble added insult to injury by giving us an inspired tagline: “Everyone goes. Why not enjoy the go?”
Why not, P&G? Because whether man or beast (i.e., bear), “enjoying” the go is classified as a psychological disorder. It’s called Coprophilia, and it’s not something you want to go around advocating in commercials. (See also Cleveland Steamer. Actually, don’t. You don’t want to know.)
There are even some pseudo-scholarly discussions of the Charmin Bear phenomenon, such as Daniel Engber’s Slate article, “What Do Bears Have to Do With Toilet Paper: A Short History of Bathroom Tissue Marketing.” As a side note, Engber points out that bears really aren’t even that soft. I eagerly await the stinging rebuttal from Leonard EngBEAR, Charmin’s official representative.
Engber’s essay includes an image of a 1930 Scott Tissues ad that boldly declares, “Humliating and Extremely Painful.” No, they weren’t prescient enough to predict their competitor’s future ad campaign. They were referring to “the troubles that comes from harsh, non-absorbent toilet tissue.”
Yes. YES. That is the proper way to discuss the human excretory process. My own mother has keen memories of using a decidedly off-brand of tissue (i.e., pages from the Sears Roebuck catalog) as a child, and her lingering resentment of the city kin who always brought their own, store-bought toilet paper to visit – and wouldn’t share a square with their country cousin.
Recently, the Cottonelle toilet paper company decided to fight bear caca with BARE caca, exhorting strangers on the street to use their brand – featuring the high-tech “clean ripple texture” – and then “go commando” – the premise apparently being that underwear exists for the purpose of protecting your jeans from skid marks. Sounds legit.
Sorry, Cottonnelle lady. Even though we know you’re smart, because you have a British accent, you’ll never gain the trust of the American people until you march right out into the woods (I recommend Glacier National Park) and hand a roll of your stuff to the first grizzly you come across. Because if it doesn’t meet the meticulous standards of brown bear hygiene, it’s not touching MY bare bottom.