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11 posts from June 2010

Toilet Paper is the Most Complicated Thing Since Corn Cobs

Now that it's 2010 and every self-respecting business/brand/product has an accompanying website, I enjoy looking up the most mundane companies and products I can find too see how they use their web space.  The truth is that for certain categories of product (toothpaste, bleach, etc.) there just isn't that much to say--but companies feel compelled to say something, because not being on the Internet is a Capital M, Capital O Missed Opportunity.  Today, I am giving you a guided tour of one of my favorite examples of this phenomenon: toilet paper!!

Now, toilet paper advertising was hilarious long before the web got involved.  To be fair, it's a hard product to market; while the target demographic is clear (butt-havers); the actual application of the product is . . . unglamorous.  As a result, toilet paper brands go waaaay abstract, giving us cuddly imagery and trusting that we will make the required logical leap ("It must be good, because that baby with wings lives in a cloud made out of it!") in exchange for not having to see the more mundane realities of toilet paper spelled out for us during a 30-second break from America's Got Talent.  But since this type of marketing is already such a stretch, taking it to the web makes it even more absurd.  Don't believe me?  Then clearly, you've never Googled Charmin.

Charmin - Google Search

(click to enlarge! this goes for all pics in this post.  wouldn't want you to miss out on the toilet-papery greatness.)

You can already tell this site is going to be good, based solely upon the site description's plea to "Explore the Charmin forest to find the toilet paper products that are right for your family."  Don't mind if I do!
  Charmin site

The Charmin forest has everything a typical forest should have: trees, bears, and conspicuously-placed packages of toilet paper.  (Take that, Leave No Trace!)  We recognize the Charmin bear from those TV commercials, in which we learned that bears--who are often misrepresented by science as shitting indiscriminately throughout the woods without cleaning up after themselves--actually prefer to hang toilet paper rolls on cartoony tree branches and pass down toilet paper preferences and advice to their bear sons.  ("Other advice" includes saying, "Oh, you didn't know how to kill all those people camping in their trailer?  TRY USING MORE TEETH.")

In the interest of desperately trying to fill up space, Charmin links us to some incredible uses of our free time.  First, there is, "a place to find and record bathrooms all around the world."  What could be more noble?  I encourage you to check out their community page, which is described as " a place to interact with anything that has to do with bathrooms."

If that, SOMEHOW, is not enough, you can also visit Charmin's Enjoy the Go site, which seems to be designed for the purpose of encouraging women to enjoy going to the bathroom more.  Please watch the video on the page--you will understand.  (By understand, I mean NOT UNDERSTAND.)

Alas.  We can't spend all day in the Charmin forest.  Let's move on.  Next up: Angel Soft. 

Angel Soft also goes the abstract route by linking their product to angels.  (This toilet paper is as soft as dead people!)  Here's their homepage:

  Angel Soft Bath Tissue

We get to see a nice picture of a mom and her son at bath time; presumably they are more able to enjoy their nightly bath time ritual now that they have been relieved of the complex and emotional task of wondering what toilet paper is preferred by naked babies on clouds. 

We also get a Fun Bathroom Fact: "85% of moms say the most common bathroom blunder is falling into the toilet when the seat is left up."  This information is undoubtedly 100% factual, because it is brought to us by the company that has also done the complicated math required to assure us that 12 double rolls are equal to nine mega rolls, which is the equivalent of 24 regular rolls.  We can also click on a link to a "Toilet Paper Through the Ages" timeline, which informs us that, among other things, "Colonial Americans used corncobs to cleanse with." 

(Sorry, Founding Fathers, your secret is out--and you are gross.)

Soooo . . . Let's check in on Cottonelle.  Is their motto "better than a corncob?"  Let's find out!

Answer: no.  Cottonelle's market research told them that Charmin had taken all the talking bears and Angel Soft had kidnapped all the angel babies, so they wisely went puppy when mascot-pickin time came around. This was a solid move, in my opinion, but their website is a bit confusing.  Apparently, they took a survey about whether Americans preferred to have their toilet paper roll "over" or "under," and it appears that the 15% of American moms who were not currently trapped in their own toilets due to bathroom blundering had graciously taken the time to vote and decided on "over."  A video explains that Cottonelle's new and improved design is specially engineered to suit over-rollers, and I genuinely cannot tell if they are serious or kinda kidding.  I don't need this confusion in my life!  Let's check in with the simplest brand of all.


Scott's packaging is simpler than the other brands mentioned above; they don't mess with puppies, bears, angels, or any of that nonsense.  Their wesbite echoes this relative simplicity and is similarly mascot-less. This might be because the website advertises the entire Scott family of paper products as a whole--napkins, paper towels, etc., making those mascots less applicable.  (Although frankly, if a baby angel is making a cloud-nest out of TP like some kind of heavenly child-slash-gerbil hybrid, I would think he would want some nice, stiff paper towels to add some structure to the whole thing.) 

In lieu of mascot, Scott's got a community shtick going, and the homepage shows some of the most recent discussion topics. 

  Scott Community: Community: landing_1277953607638
One example is "Shining the Shower," brought to us by someone named Barbara, whose parents knew she would group up to eventually comment on a toilet paper website.

I have mixed feelings about Scott.  While this approach seems a bit less ridiculous than, say, exploring the Charmin forest on a Wednesday afternoon--it's also kind of boring.  So, what's a toilet paper brand to do?

If you have any good ideas, let me know.

This Week in Internet: Pinocchio, Pandas, and the Unluckiest Man Ever

This is easily the best story of the week, as far as I'm concerned.

While we're handing out superlatives, this Candyland garden is the best landscaping decision ever.

Don't worry--it IS possible to get Hello Kitty motor oil.

Soooo . . . this man has been struck by lightning AND attacked by a bear.  

Here are some bizarre pet names, and a picture of a very cute dog named Pickle von Corndog.

I spent at least an hour looking through these color pictures of the Depression/World War II era.  Keep up the good work, Library of Congress Flickr set!

PSA: The National Zoo has a new bebbeh red panda!!!  Who wants to go see it with me?

Enjoy your weekend.  If you're bored, try pondering this Pinocchio paradox.

Definitely Blaming This One on the Mainstream Media

We got new ID badges at work recently, and when I received mine I was actually somewhat happy with my new picture.  It wasn't a grrrrrrrreat photo, or even a really good one; however, it wasn't as bad as my old one, so it was a step up.  My fake smile looked only 80% strained, instead of the usual 100%!  I was pleased.  Life was good.

And then people started telling me I looked like Sarah Palin.  At first, a coworker pointed it out.  Then my sister did.  Then yesterday, my friend Cassie saw the badge in my car as we drove to kickball.  She squinted.  She turned her head to the side.  She looked at me.  She looked back at the picture.  She looked back at me.

"You know who you reeeallly look like in this picture?" she asked.


Alas.  I'm slightly paranoid now, so I need a second opinion.  Internet, do I look like Sarah Palin in this photo?  Feel free to rate the resemblance on a scale of 1-to-GET A NEW FACE.


This Week in Internet: Top Chef, Bad Postcards, and a Carvel Controversy

Top Chef D.C. premiered this week!  My friend Andrea will be recapping all season; her first one is up here.  I also always make sure to read the BWE recaps by Dan Hopper--here's the first of those.  And since we're talking D.C. and food, here are some awesome D.C. cupcakes (thx, Valerie!).

The Dangers of Owning a Dinosaur.  Consider yourself warned.

The Tumblr of the week isssssss . . . Bad Postcards.

I think my new favorite feud ever is Dina Lohan vs. Carvel.  This Carvel press release/blog post details their side of the situation.  ("Unfortunately, the Lohan family has been abusing [their free ice cream card] . . .  At first, we graciously honored their requests while explaining that the Black Card was not a carte blanche for unlimited Carvel Ice Cream for the extended Lohan family and friends.  After more than six months of numerous and large orders for ice cream, we finally had to cut off the card and take it back.")

Matador jumps out of the ring in fear and gets arrested for it.  If being scared of mad bulls is against the law, let me know and I will turn myself in to the proper authorities.

The Situation has a rap out, of course.  Listen to a clip here, because the world's eventually going to end anyway.

Last Week in Internet: Flags, 80s Movies, Projectile Vomit

It was a lovely week in Internet, with the main trend being that my childhood is continuing to barf itself back up into my adulthood.  Not that I'm complaining.  But still, between all the commercials for yet another Karate Kid movie and the fact that Urban Outfitters is currently selling the shoes I wore to my fifth grade patrol picnic, it seems like we are in particularly high nostalgia overdrive right now.  To wit:
  • Tom Selleck hints that another Three Men and a Baby sequel is in the works
  • The guy who played the bad guy karate villain in the original Karate Kid gets interviewed by The Onion's AV Club, talks about life and owning "the 'bully' archetype"
  • The new line of 2010 Super Soakers is released
  • Barack Obama totally looks like a guy in the "Whoomp (There It Is)" video
  • Back to the Future and Jurassic Park are becoming video games?!
Elsewhere, the NYT revealed this year's list of the most-looked-up words on their site; speaking of words, I enjoyed this word of the day, and had not heard it before.

In Internet-related Internet, here are a couple of links for you:
This link doesn't really relate to anything else at all, and that's probably a good thing: "21-year-old weightlifter tries to squat 1008 lbs. at Sr. nationals in Chicago; projectile vomits all over judge, passes out."  There is a video, and it's pretty much exactly what that title says it is.  Let your feelings re: projectile vomiting guide you in deciding whether or not to click.

Finally, since it's not fair for the last link to be related to projectile vomiting, here's a tale of a heartwarming coincidence involving Disney and love and whatnot.

Sunday Morning Pancake Breakfast: Air Budcake


Yesterday I was bored and decided to try and get a picture of Pancake catching his beloved red ball in the air.  This was sort of hard to do, and I could never get him completely in the frame at the right moment.  The above photo is the only one that came close to getting his whole body AND the capturing exact moment he caught the ball in the air.  But I still missed some paw!!!!

In other news, thanks to a harrowing three days without an Internet connection on my home comp, I have a slight backlog of posts to put up.  The catch-up begins tomorrow!