Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Worst Ad in America

When the Consumerist website asked readers to choose the worst television ad in America, there was no shortage of contenders. I was pretty certain the Summer's Eve campaign would be the winner, since its spots featured talking vaginas speaking in the stereotypical accents of black, Asian, and Hispanic women. Kudos, in other words, for being both vulgar and racist.

The winner, though, is equally revolting: a Luv's disposable diaper ad in which babies compete in a sort of Olympic shitfest for the fullest diaper.

I've known enough new parents to understand that they tend to cope with the exhausting prospect of childcare by finding some humor in the constant stream of baby poop, spit-up, and urine. But the commercial actually shows the babies inflating their diapers with feces and speaks to the specter of diaper "blowout." Call me old-fashioned but there's nothing cute or amusing about explosive elimination.  

There was a time when brand spokesmen like Charmin's Mr. Whipple and commercials for women's sanitary products needed only to allude to the uses of their offerings. That allowed them to focus on other issues, like convenience and comfort and cost in the context of an ongoing concept, without veering into the scatological. Now that ads revel in feminine napkins displaying red dots of menstrual blood, while bears crapping in the woods are concerned about toilet paper shreds adhering to their fur, the mystery and magic of advertising are in the toilet, too.

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