Clean underwear

A recent tv commercial ‘Clean Underwear’ for Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper, featuring the four Charmin bears and their mother, skirts direct mention of feces stains on underwear (colloquially referred to euphemistically as skidmarks), while including a very slightly concrealed allusion to skids. A performance that some viewers found funny-cute and others found offensive. By going to this site, you can access a video of the commercial that loops through the thing again and again, until you shut it off.

Background. Toilet paper presents a serious challenge in engineering and design: it has to disintegrate in water, so as not to clog toilets; be strong enough to withstand vigorous wiping; and be soft enough not to irritate the user.

Meanwhile, as I’ve noted on this blog (for instance, on 12/12/12, here), underwear serves two central purposes:  protecting the body from assault by outer clothing, which is often rough; and protecting the outer clothing from the discharges of the body, especially feces and semen. (Some underwear also supplies support, for female breasts or male genitals. In addition, as clothing, underwear can serve aesthetic purposes. And underwear that encloses sexual parts can serve as sexual display.) In any case, the intersection of toilet paper and underwear is skid marks.

The commercial. In this partial transcript, I’ve given the bear cubs numbers; they probably have names in the Charminverse, but I don’t know them. Bear 3 seems to act as Head Bear, and Bear 2, in a baseball cap, seems to be the Kid. Bear 4, in glasses, has no speaking part in this ad.

The scene starts with Bear 1 bringing a pack of Charmin into what looks like a living room, where the other three cubs are hanging out. A stairway leads to a second story, where Mama Bear is.

The script:

1: Wow! This toilet paper reminds me of a washcloth!

3: New Charmin Ulta Strong, dude. Cleans so well, it keeps your underwear cleaner. So clean you could wear them a second day.

2: [some exclamation I haven’t been able to make out]

Mama [appearing on the stairway]: I did not just hear that!

3 [to Mama]: I said that you could, not that you would.

[voiceover here]

3: It cleans better. [to 2] Uh, you should try it, Skitz!

[further voiceover]

Skitz is so close to Skids as to make no difference. Apparently 2 is a Skid Kid.

One Response to “Clean underwear”

  1. Richard Says:

    This commercial, indeed, exceeds the “gotta go gotta go” Depends commercials in its absolute tasteless offensiveness!

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