Elemental Thinking #19: Charmin
It's tough to advertise toilet paper. But John Cherokas found a way to do it. He created George Whipple, a fictional supermarket manager, and the advertisements ran for 21 years, from 1964 to 1985. In the ads, Mr. Whipple repeatedly scolds customers who "squeeze the Charmin." Of course, Whipple hypocritically squeezes the rolls when no one is looking.
The very first commercial set the tone of the campaign. Mr. Whipple is seen off-camera at female customer, commenting that first she's squeezing the grapefruits, then squeezing the melons, and then she gets to the Charmin. That's the last straw for Mr. Whipple, and he walks one and utters his famous plea, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."
It became an iconic phrase. It spoke to the benefit of the product (that it was soft and gentle). It was a brilliant way to sell toilet paper.