Advertising: the art of taking something ordinary and building a mythology around it : the art of masking the brutality and nonsense behind the money.
Adverts. I wish they’d all just front up. Show us the whipped and weeping Chinese kids crying bitter tears over an assembly line of Barbie dolls. Show us an alcoholic drink-driving past a school with a bottle of Budweiser in his hand, swerving to avoid a mass of talking frogs and crashing into the school bus. Show us Ronald McDonald rabbit-punching an injured abattoir worker in the kidneys. It makes my head spin.
But it all makes me laugh, too. While shopping in Spar I came across something that made me guffaw uncontrollably. It was a slogan on the front of a Super Value Pack of KittenSoft toilet roll: ‘Irresistibly soft,’ it said.
Has anyone ever found their toilet paper to be irresistible? ‘So Soft, You’ll Wipe After Every Fart,’ it seems to entreat. If we follow this line, it won’t be long before daddy is blowing his wage packet on luxury toilet roll items instead of heroin. Psssst. Want some Andrex, mate?
Ah, yes, Andrex: the crap-paper manufacturer that chose the puppy as its brand mascot. Puppies FIND the paper deliciously soft; the product is not AS soft AS puppies, a trap into which KittenSoft appears to have fallen. The implication from their packaging seems to be that using their product will have the equivalent feel to picking up Tiddles and sliding him between your arse cheeks like some kind of miaowing credit card. In fact, the little kitten on the packaging wears an expression somewhere between terror and hope, praying that today will be the last day he gets used as a BogMog.
Or a ShitKat, if you’d prefer.
It makes me wonder whether the scientific wing of KittenSoft experimented with different creatures before settling on the kitten. Could we have had Total-Chinchilla-Comfort? HamsterWipe? Never mind if animals were harmed during the process: were any scientists harmed? ‘Can we just say a few words of remembrance for brave Ronald before we have a little re-think on HedgehogHeaven?’
And what criteria were used? Did they have a little check-list, sub-divided into animal groups and species, measuring things like fluffiness, absorbability, prickliness, and likelihood-of-biting-back-iness? And call me far too liberal-minded and PC for my own good, but things seem to be disgustingly mammal-centric over at toilet paper HQ. Kittens, puppies, tribbles. For once I’d like to see: ‘New SharkWipe – Something to Get Your Jaws around’; or ‘PythonWipe – For When You’ve Snaked One Out’. And why not give the amphibians and reptiles a chance to shine: ‘FrogComfort – So Tough You Won’t Ribbit?’ ‘Chod-in-the-Hole’?
I’m not even going to broach the subject, ladies and gentlemen, of Gerbil Lil-Ets.
Ah, I really should have gone into advertising. A final word on deodorants. It seems that not smelling like filth isn’t good enough for us anymore. We have to stare at rows of peculiarly labelled scents ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. On the shelves in Asda the other night (yes, I really do spend my free time skipping from shop to shop, frantically scanning the aisles for amusingly-named commercial products to brighten up my suicidally depressing existence) were deodorants called Java, Surge, Cool and Miami.
Java? Who the fuck wants to smell like a computer programming language? And what in Christ’s name does it smell of? I’ve seen computer programmers, and they don’t look like the kind of guys you’d want to be within sniffing distance of. As for Surge… I’m sure the smell of the surge rather depends on the kind of surge you’re talking about. Whatever the explanation, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to walk into work smelling of it.
And Miami? Hello? Did they huddle seven thousand Floridians into a warehouse, spraying chemicals at them from a giant shower-head until they all agreed on what Miami smelled like? ‘I couldn’t smell enough sunshine in that blast!’ ‘Give us a whiff of Mickey Mouse!’ ‘That one smelled far too much like Detroit!’
Where will it end? Scents called ‘One-Legged Welsh Gay’; ‘Recently Mouth-Raped Kangaroo‘? ‘Dead Peruvian’?
Next week, look out for the launch of my new toilet paper: ‘ARSEWIPE – You Can Clean the Shit From Your Arsehole With It’.