It's official: Mr. Whipple, we hate you

February 09, 1997|By DAVE BARRY | DAVE BARRY,Knight-Ridder News Service

Last week I promised that in today's column I would announce which commercial, according to my survey, you readers hate the most. So if you have an ounce of sense or good taste, you'll stop reading this column right now.

Really, I mean it this is your last chance you're making a huge mistake

OK, you pathetic fools: The most hated commercial of all time, according to the survey, was the one for Charmin featuring "Mr. Whipple" and various idiot housewives who lived in a psycho pervert community where everybody was obsessed with squeezing toilet paper -- or, as they say in Commercial Land, "bathroom tissue." Americans still, after all these years, feel more hostility toward that ad campaign than they ever did toward international communism.

Of course some people will say: "But those ads sold a lot of Charmin!"

Yes, and the Unabomber produced high-quality, hand-crafted letter bombs. But that doesn't make it right.

The Mr. Whipple ads are related to a whole category of commercials that, according to the survey, people really detest -- namely, commercials about extremely intimate bodily functions

and problems. People do not wish to hear total strangers blurting out statements about their constipation and their diarrhea and their hemorrhoids and their "male itch."

People do not wish to see scientific demonstrations of pads absorbing amazing quantities of fluids. People also cannot fathom why this fluid is always blue.

As Carla and Bill Chandler put it: "If anyone around here starts secreting anything blue, the last thing we're going to worry about is how absorbent their pad is."

People do not wish to hear any more about incontinence.

Rich Klinzman wrote: "I have often fantasized about sneaking up behind June Allyson, blowing up a paper bag, and slamming my fist into it, just to see how absorbent those adult diapers really are."

People also do not wish to see actors pretending to be mothers and daughters talking about very personal feminine matters as though they were discussing the weather.

Richard J. O'Neil, expressing a common sentiment, wrote: "If I was a woman, I would walk on my lips through a sewage plant before I would share this kind of information with any living soul, let alone my mother."

People do not wish to see extreme close-ups of other people chewing.

People are also getting mighty tired of the endlessly escalating, extremely confusing war of the pain relievers. At one time, years ago, there was just aspirin, which was basically for headaches; now, there are dozens of products, every single one of which seems to be telling you that, not only is it more effective than the other ones, but also the other ones could cause a variety of harmful side effects such as death. It seems safer to just live with the headache.

Many survey respondents were especially scornful of the commercials suggesting that you can undergo an actual surgical procedure, such as a Caesarean section, and the only pain medication you'd need afterward is Tylenol. As Gwen Marshall put it: "If my doctor had given me Tylenol and expected me to be pain-free and happy, I'd have jumped off of that lovely table that holds your legs 10 feet apart, grabbed the 12-inch scalpel out of his hand and held it to his throat until I got morphine, lots of it."

Another type of advertising that people detest is the Mystery Commercial, in which there is no way to tell what product is being advertised. These commercials usually consist of many apparently random images flashing rapidly past on the screen, and then, at the end, you see a Nike swoosh, or the IBM logo or Mr. Whipple.

People are sick and tired of seeing actors pretend to be deeply emotionally attached to their breakfast cereals. People also do not believe that the woman in the Special K commercials got to be thin and shapely by eating Special K. Patricia Gualdoni wrote: have eaten enough Special K cereal to sink a battleship, and I look a lot more like a battleship than the woman in the ad."

People are also skeptical of the Denorex shampoo commercials. "How do we know that that tingling sensation isn't battery acid eating through your scalp?" asked Alyssa Church.

Here are a few other views expressed by readers:

Andy Elliott wrote: "I hate radio ads that say, 'Our prices are so low, we can't say them on the radio!' Why??? Will people start bleeding from the ears if they hear these prices?"

Michael Howard wrote: "I live near Seattle and there is one channel that runs commercials approximately every five minutes advertising the fact that they have a helicopter. Can you believe it? A helicopter!"

Kathy Walden objected to "Wal-Mart commercials that shamelessly try to portray all Wal-Mart customers as poor, uneducated, rural and concerned primarily with reproducing themselves. Of course this is true, but still "

There were many, many more strong comments, but I'm out of space. So I'm going to close with a statement penned by a reader identifying himself as "Flat Foot Sam," who I believe spoke for millions of consumers when he wrote these words:

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke,

"And spray it out my nose."

Pub Date: 2/09/97

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