From Nancy Friedman (who writes on “names, brands, writing, and the quirks of the English language”), passed on by Ben Zimmer, this site for a recent campaign for Charmin brand toilet paper: the Charmin Go Nation, with the slogan (apparently first floated in 2009) “Enjoy the Go”.
Ok, that’s the go of go to the bathroom/toilet/restroom/…, nouned and with the mention of toilet facilities elided (as in the plain verb go, used with similar meaning: “I need to go really bad”), so that go here means something like ‘going to the bathroom’, but without any explicit reference to toilet facilities.
Of course, go to the X in these uses is already doubly indirect: it’s a metonymic reference to defecation/urination, with the place reserved for such purposes standing in for the acts performed there (but now semantically detached from those places, so that it’s possible to say things like “The kid went to the bathroom in his pants”); and the various fillers for X are themselves originally euphemisms. The Charmin slogan distances things two more steps, by removing X from the expression and (via nouning) by making the expression less action-oriented.
The new campaign is indeed focused on enjoyment, on the pleasures of going to the bathroom. Auditions were held in New York City five days ago to select five “bathroom ambassadors” (at $10,000 each!) for the temporary Charmin Bathroom site in Times Square, scheduled to open on the 22nd and be in operation for five weeks. Prospective ambassadors had to answer questions like “Why do you enjoy the go more than anyone else?”. The winners will work inside the place, blogging, sending messages to social media sites, and sharing “family-friendly video from the restroom space and surrounding areas.”
The family of expressions go to the X have the interesting property that they’re neutral as to what acts are being performed. That is of course socially useful, but the Charmin people are primarily interested in their product as used for wiping behinds. I don’t know if talking a lot about the pleasure of urination would have disqualified candidates from the competition, or if failure to emphasize the pleasure of cleaning up after defecation would have.
Toilet paper presents an interesting design problem. The stuff needs to be soft enough to avoid irritation — Charmin ad campaigns have always stressed softness — and absorbent enough to do its job well and thick enough not to dirty your hands, but it also has to break up quickly in water, so as not to clog toilets. Toilet paper manufacturers are forever tweaking their products to achieve the right balance, or at least to appear to be improving them.
A final linguistic note, with a story about my colleague Paul Kiparsky, who long ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts, confronted an American supermarket while on a search for toilet paper. One after another, he inspected the choices, noting that they claimed to be “facial quality tissue”, eventually complaining forcefully, “I don’t want facial quality tissue, I want RECTAL quality tissue”. (You have to imagine the Finnish accent.)