Tuesday, November 20, 2007

RIP Mr. Whipple

Mr. Whipple died yesterday.

If you grew up in the 20 years that spanned the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s and you watched t.v., Mr. Whipple was a staple in American advertising. He was the guy who told you "not to squeeze the Charmin" toilet paper, then would be caught doing it himself. He personified "do as I say, not as I do."

Who among us as kids didn't run around saying "Don't squeeze the Charmin" every time we went to the grocery store with mom or dad? The impact of the Charmin campaign on consumer choice in bathroom tissue was--and remains--unprecedented for manufacturers of toilet paper. Charmin is the gold standard as the softest, fluffiest, kindest, and gentlest bummy waddy out there. It's also the most controversial for the amount of virgin tree fiber it requires to make a product that's going to get flushed. As one environmental group put it, we're flushing the boreal forest straight down the toilet when we use Charmin.

But this isn't about the toilet paper consuming habits of tussy-sensitive Americans. This is about a man who became an icon by being a curmudgeonly, lovable disciplinarian (and closet scofflaw) of toilet paper squeezers everywhere. Rest in peace, Mr. Whipple. I hope your cloud in heaven is squeezably soft, gentle on your skin, and environmentally correct.

Video clip courtesy of YouTube


Cele said...

It seems everyday we have a moment where we stop and say, "Oh, how sad" as another icon from our childhood passes.

You're right, Mr. Whipple, like Madge with her dishwashing soap, were those commercial vehicles that marked and measured our early lives.

Anonymous said...

Remember that joke about a girl who stuffed with toilet paper, and when a guy "felt her up," she told him not to squeeze the Charmin?

I haven't had to think about that awful joke for 20 years.

Thanks a lot ;)


J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: I wonder if Madge is giving Mr. Whipple a manicure right now? Do you think they have Palmolive in heaven? Hm....

Phoebe: Somehow I missed that joke until now. And now I'll never look at Charmin the same way either. (At least it's better than their latest round of ads, though, with the bears.)

ME said...

Yeah, what is up with bears cha cha cha-ing and telling us how great Charmin feels on their bare/bear asses?

Better stop before the dumb jingle gets stuck in my head.

Sorry to see you go, Mr. Whipple.