Category Archives: Writing

Charmin Ultra Strong: Enjoying the Go?

Unless you’ve been hibernating, you’ve seen the animated commercials for Charmin Ultra Strong featuring bears and their dingleberries. Are these commercials annoying? Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

To make matters worse, they’ve recently added the line “Enjoy the go!” Enjoy the go? Do they think I’m saying to myself, “Gee, I can’t wait until this afternoon when I can sit down and unwind with a nice long dump”?

Enjoy the go. Picture it — it’s Friday night. You had plans to go out on a hot date, but instead, you call her up and say, “Hey hun, I know we were supposed to go out to dinner tonight but I think I’m just going to stay in and pinch a loaf.”

Don’t worry. She’ll understand. She knows how much fun doing a deuce is.

Here’s a parody I found on YouTube.


If you want to find out more about enjoying your go, you’ll enjoy going to Charmin’s website.

By Marc Librescu

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise: Be Careful What You Ask Readers

Hellmann's Mayonnaise

In this ad for their Real Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s (there is no Hellmann’s anymore, it’s actually a company called Unilever) asks the question:

If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

Any reasonable person would answer “of course!” And Hellmann’s, um, Unilever, wants to you answer that way, too. End of story. Turn the page.

If you bother to stop and read the copy (which is difficult due to the placement of white type over a yellow background) you find this:

At Hellmann’s, we make our mayonnaise with real, simple ingredients like good eggs, delicious vinegar and oils rich in omega 3. So it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Lean about he Real Food Project at hellmanns.com.

When they say they use good eggs, it’s not clear whether they’re referring to the quality of the eggs or whether they’re stating that eggs are good for you. Either way, I’ll let this slide.

Strangely, they claim to use delicious vinegar. If I asked you to write a list of 10 adjectives to describe vinegar, would delicious make it onto the list? How about a list of 1,000 adjectives? Who considers vinegar to be delicious? It’s acetic acid.

Imagine saying to your kid, “Here, Bobby, I poured you a nice cup of delicious vinegar. Drink it up!”

If you made your kids drink vinegar, social services would come to your house to take them away. The conversation would go something like this:

Social Services: We have a report that you made your son, Bobby, drink a glass of vinegar.
You: Yes, I did.
Social Services: Can you tell me why you did that?
You: Because vinegar is delicious!

The next thing you know, they’d hand you some paperwork with a hearing date and then escort little Bobby out the door where they would take him to a waiting van.

But I digress.

Mayonnaise is really just a fancy way of saying “oil and egg fat.” Here’s the nutritional information, taken from the company’s website:

A one-tablespoon serving contains 90 calories and 90 calories from fat. This is another way of saying that 100% of the calories come from fat. One tablespoon of the stuff has a whopping 10 grams of fat, which is as much fat as four chocolate chip cookies (source: Nutrition Lifestyles).

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise also contains delicious EDTA. According to Wikipedia:

(EDTA) has been found to be both cytotoxic (emphasis mine) and weakly genotoxic in laboratory animals. Oral exposures have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.

Cytotoxic means “toxic to cells.” Genotoxic is a little more complicated. According to Wikipedia:

Genotoxicity describes a deleterious action on a cell’s genetic material affecting its integrity. Genotoxic substances are known to be potentially mutagenic or carcinogenic, specifically those capable of causing genetic mutation and of contributing to the development of tumors.

In other words, EDTA is a potential cancer-causing agent in laboratory animals.

At the bottom of the ad, in tiny print, it says that Helmann’s Real Mayonnaise contains “a small amount of EDTA to protect quality.” Small compared to what?

Is Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise healthy and good? You decide. Then ask yourself this question:

“If we knew more about our food, would we eat better?”

By Marc Librescu

EDS Keeps Those Doggies Rollin’

These are two of the funniest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.

Priceless line:

“It ain’t an easy job, but when you bring a herd into town, and you ain’t lost a-one of them, ain’t a feeling like it in the world.”

By Marc Librescu

Soyjoy Does a 180

SoyJoy

When I first wrote about a Soyjoy ad back in 2008, the ad was so bad it made me want to cry and scream and throw things around the room. The second time I posted about the company’s ad, I thought it looked great but was too generic (and I went off on my high-horse about possible problems from eating soy).

This ad nails it. The image merges blueberry, soy and the yin-yang symbol. The headline, along with the image, tells the story:

Whole Soy. Real Blueberries. In Perfect Balance.

There isn’t a load of unnecessary copy for the reader to wade through. It just works.

By Marc Librescu

Johnson Automotive: We Don’t Need No Badgers

This is a series of brilliant commercials produced for Johnson Automotive. They’re hilarious and on point. The commercials cleverly use the badger character to parody car salesmen and let the viewer know that Johnson Automotive doesn’t badger its customers.

The badger is really a puppet that’s being controlled by five operators, who were later digitally removed.

Another winner of the coveted 5 Monkey Award!

Silk Soy Milk Has the Beat

Silk soy milk

Nature never intended cow’s milk to be anything other than food for a baby cow. You drink milk because your parents fed it to you and told you it was healthy. The dairy industry told you it was healthy. You’ve been socialized to believe that milk is healthy.

If you don’t like milk or you believe it’s not healthy, you can drink soy milk.

This ad for Silk Soy Milk couldn’t be better. The message is contained in the image so perfectly that the reader doesn’t need to read a word of copy to understand the message: our product is healthy. As I’ve been saying here, people typically don’t stop to read copy, so advertisers need to get readers’ attention with arresting visuals to make the point.

I award this ad the prestigious 5 Monkeys!

Sun-Maid Gets Surreal

IMG_3430

You’re sitting on a California beach, enjoying the day. The sky is blue with just a hint of wispy clouds. You feel at peace as you listen to the sound of the gentle waves breaking against the shore.

Then you look up and you see her.

You can’t believe your eyes. It’s the Sun-Maid, you think, the girl from the raisin box. But it can’t be. She’s not real.

Yet there she is, and she’s doing yoga, right there on the sand. She’s even wearing the red bonnet. You want to talk to her, maybe take a photo to show to your friends back home.

Suddenly, inexplicably, a paintbrush materializes and paints a streak of red across the sky. The paint forms a shelf and products start to appear—packages of raisins and other dried fruit.

The Sun Maid tries to reach for the fruit but it’s too high. You run toward her.

Your next memory is of opening your eyes in an unfamiliar room. There’s a TV on the wall, near the ceiling. A nurse stands over you with a look of concern on her face.

“Where am I?” you ask.

“You’re in the hospital,” she says.

“How did I get here?”

“I’ll get the doctor.”

As the nurse walks out of the room, you notice she’s wearing a red bonnet.

By Marc Librescu