Charmin is in the poop removal business, but rarely do they get to come out and say that in an ad. So for years, Charmin commercials have been a series of slowly escalating hints and winks, from Mr. Whipple squeezing a oh-so-soft roll of butt-pleasing plushness to the cartoon bear with little flecks of sub-par toilet tissue stuck to its rump.
Now, they’re gonna show up in Concord and come right out and say it:
Charmin has signed a deal with Charlotte Motor Speedway to sponsor the two NASCAR events, and as part of the deal the Procter & Gamble toilet paper brand plans to hang banners outside the speedway and signs along pit road that tout Charmin Ultra Strong. The billboard-sized exterior banners will feature the backside of white, men’s briefs with tire skid marks down them.
First of all, ew. The most brilliant kind of ew.
Second, let’s not forget we’re talking about NASCAR here, which used to have a cigarette company as its main sponsor and is probably in the process of trying to project a P. Diddy's laughing face on the flying champagne mist that always erupts from victory lane. Before somebody who wants page views attaches the word controversial” to this, consider that Jeff Gordon would probably wear a pair of Fruit of The Looms over his face during a race if they gave him enough money. For some extra cash, he’ll wear your underwear. You want controversial in NASCAR? Use a Ford Pinto as a pace car.
Who thought of the skid mark thing? These guys, reports the Sports Business Journal:
The idea of promoting Charmin at a NASCAR race came from the brand’s creative agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler. The agency has taken an irreverent approach in its promotion of Charmin and recently touted its relationship with the brand in Ad Age by saying, “We think about poop and toilet paper all day, every day. And we love it.”
Hold on one sec:
So while we’re at it, let’s try some of these ideas out at the May races:
A newspaper kiosk located below the perch in a giant bird cage.
Beer can urinal cakes.
Milk and lemonade at a fudge-maker’s kiosk.
A bag of Summer’s Eve wearing a Vineyard Vines polo shirt (teamwork!)
Anything remotely phallic-looking with the word Trump on it.
It’s possible that all of the above ideas have already made their debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and we just haven’t noticed them yet. Ads are everywhere at NASCAR events. Everything just sorta blends in. I might not even have noticed the Charmin skid mark thing had I not been given a heads up by the SBJ. Ad creep is everywhere, people. And so are visual puns. You know what, Charmin? I’m just going to block you out with this song: