At the beginning of February Andrex debuted a TV commercial titled ‘Scrunch or Fold?’ During the ad a variety of characters announce to camera, in a vox-pop style, their answer to the question ‘Do you scrunch or fold?’
At the end of the commercial is a pack-shot of some rolls of toilet paper and the traditional cute Andrex puppy. Although, if it were like any dog I know it would have eaten all the loo roll and then been sick in every room in the house. Rob Brydon’s cheery voiceover then suggests that we are “…a nation divided; some scrunch, others fold, Andrex wants to know what you do.” My mind leaps back to twelve-seconds into the ad; the full horror of an obese white-haired farmer proudly saying “I’m a folder my lover” becomes unpleasantly clear. Enormous flabby pale buttocks and bog-roll are now seared into my mind’s eye. Thanks Andrex, thanks a bloody bunch!
But the weirdness doesn’t end with farmers describing their toilet habits. All commercials today strive for a degree of interaction with their intended audience, it’s called ‘brand engagement’. You see, Andrex want you to Tweet about your own crapping technique with the hashtag #ScunchorFold; and – I presume – also post photos on their Facebook wall? After all, this national debate urgently requires a definitive answer!
Don’t get me wrong, I really like certain appropriate brand engagement. When Pizza Express send me a code for some free dough-balls I’m quite chuffed – it keeps their brand at the front of my mind, perhaps I might even book a table on impulse. However, when sanitary brands invite me to get involved in a light-hearted, and of course very public, debate about the merits of my bottom-wiping technique I think the quest for the holy-grail of ‘engagement’ has perhaps strayed into rather creepy territory.
Anyway… I’ve kept the cargo-bay doors clenched for long enough – practically touching cotton now – so it’s high-time I laid down some lengths of brown cable at Porcelain Towers. There – now you too have an unpleasant image to try and scrub away!