"Enjoy the Go"? Is Procter & Gamble's Campaign for Charmin a Bizarre Joke?
November 26, 2012 ‐ 7 comments

Every once in a great while we encounter a campaign so execrable it defies belief. Charmin's "Enjoy the go" fits the bill and causes us to question whether the marketing geniuses at Procter & Gamble have lost their minds.

The campaign rhetorically asserts, "We all go.  Why not enjoy the go?" Can this possibly be the Charmin brand assertion?  Indeed it is.  The brand embraces a path as grammatically desultory as the campaign is incomprehensible.

Here at BrandCulture Talk (with a hat tip to David Aaker) we spend a good deal of time discussing rational, emotional and self-expressive brand benefits.  Brands that lay claim only to functional benefits are subject to being quickly eclipsed by competitive offerings.  Only by laying claim to emotional and self-expressive value can brands create enduring competitive advantage. Except for a product like toilet tissue.

We suffer no illusions as to the job Charmin is designed to perform. By seeking to elevate excretion and dejection to a source of pleasure, however, the campaign is at best puzzlingly risible (albeit in poor taste) and more likely, seriously unhinged.  Charmin endeavors to explain, "We all go to the bathroom every day . . . especially after morning coffee. Talk about getting things going! . . . Whew, that curry was hot [steam whistle sound effect]!  bottom line, we all spend a lot of time going." We do?

???

How a company that is arguably the world's preeminent marketer of consumer packaged goods created, and continues to support this campaign is a mystery.  P&G has extended the campaign into social media (recent Tweet to Charmin's nearly 8,000  Twitter followers: "Anyone have a favorite game they play while 'enjoying the go?' We enjoy a certain mad avian galactic battle one"), a Facebook presence with over 325,000 "likes" (!) (recent post: "Did anyone have Charmin on their Black Friday shopping list????") and a dedicated blog that descends from the simply gross to a creepily voyeuristic "Daily peek inside the cleanest public restroom in Times Square" (although they may have rethought that one as the last "daily peek" took place in 2009). This campaign is so bad for so many reasons that the writers of  Saturday Night Live would be hard-pressed to invent this madness as a parody.

And just to make this whole campaign a wee bit classier, let's add . . . Kim Kardashian  a couple of "Enjoy the go" bear mascots, a Brooklyn drum corps and a ceremonial glass key to the toilet!  See for yourself:

So . . . instead of furthering the devolution of the English language while mawkishly celebrating the unspeakable, wouldn't P&G be better served by dusting off an updated version of the venerable Mr. Whipple, who successfully hawked Charmin for over 20 years?  Mr. Whipple cleverly extolled the functional (and actually valuable) benefit of softness through the inability for virtually anyone to resist the siren song of "squeezing the Charmin"? Like the iconic "Maytag Lonely Repairman," Mr. Whipple distinguished Charmin from competitive offerings with aplomb in more than 500 commercials, and was at one point the 3rd most recognizable American -- only behind Richard Nixon and Billy Graham.  Not once did he feel compelled to mention enjoying the "go."

The late Dick Wilson, the actor who portrayed Mr. Whipple, hit upon the crux of Charmin's dilemma in a 1985 interview with the Chicago Tribune: 'What are you going to say about toilet paper? I think we handle it the best way we can." If only P&G took his advice.

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7 Comments >>
Marilyn Q
7
September 4, 2013 10:21 pm
Oh, thank goodness- this commercial has annoyed the ---- out of me and no one seemed to understand why. Thanks for making me feel a little more sane. DUMBEST SLOGAN EVER!
Alex
6
June 1, 2013 5:56 pm
"Enjoy the go"? Taking a crap is NOT enjoyable. BTW, the last time I bought Charmin, the dratted paper was so thick and fluffy that it clogged my toilet. And it certainly did not feel any better on my butt than the thinner Scott brand, which is more efficient at cleaning, more cost effective, less damaging to my plumbing, and inoffensive in its advertising. Of course, Charmin is now advertising as a brand that helps to "keep your underwear clean" (EWWWWWW), so good taste is clearly not something they understand. Do not pass go, do not collect this consumer's money, you LOSE!
Bruce Hungate
5
December 12, 2012 1:13 pm
Enjoy ... a day with the kids ... a walk in the city ... a fine cabernet ... perhaps with dark chocolate But this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=028cCeHunNc As usual Mr. Pinckert - spot on.
Joel Clarke
4
December 12, 2012 8:40 am
The photo of Kim Kardashian is certainly an addition to the "Enjoy the go" campaign. I gather Kim enjoys the go in a public place, which is not surprising since she is a reality star. Are you sure this isn't a joke?
Gloriosa Empanada
3
December 3, 2012 8:58 am
I can't believe that this blog hasn't already made headlines. The blogger is "right on" and writes so expressively that he/she should have a national audience. As for Charmin, a number of people I know are switching brands as a result of their current campaign. Who thought it up?
Miranda
2
November 28, 2012 3:46 pm
Amazing! I almost can't believe anyone thought this was a good idea.
Janeanne Bolster
1
November 26, 2012 10:36 am
I have almost too much to say about this subject. First, Proctor and Gamble is one of the few companies that still unnecessarily experiments on live animals, so I wouldn't buy their products anyway. The advertising campaign described in this blog is unbelievable. There are few areas for privacy these days, but one would hope the bathroom would be one of them. Do we really want to know all about other's toilet habits? I don't.
 
 

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