you think THAT’S funny?
Who doesn’t like a good laugh? In product promotion, funny presenters, humorous commercials, novelty items and even clowns are among the most reliable and memorable devices. Solemn speakers, teachers and preachers often open presentations with a joke. But apparently, the climate change that accompanies global warming has left us with thinner skins.
People are not so easily amused by marketers’ jocular antics these days—many answering back with angry blogs, anti-advertiser Web sites, press releases dripping with indignant outrage and a spokesperson for every occasion camped in at CNN. You don’t think that ad is funny? Tell the advertiser what you think and, while you’re at it, tell the world.
Humor is often topical. War, economics, healthcare, terrorism, pollution, hunger and disease are some topical areas that occupy consumers’ minds these days, but none exactly fall into the “feel good” category or would be considered funny by most people. And people don’t laugh at the same things.
Remember “Mr. Whipple,” the fictional supermarket manager featured in store displays and television commercials from 1965 to 1989 for Charmin bathroom tissue? In unvarying repetition, Whipple would scold women who “squeeze the Charmin,” while entertaining himself by doing just that when no one was watching. But he always got caught. And blushed as his customers cackled.
The very first “Mr. Whipple” commercial set the tone. He is watching a female customer, commenting that first she’s squeezing the grapefruits, then she’s squeezing the melons, but when she gets to the Charmin, that’s the last straw. Whipple walks over to her and utters his famous plea for the first time. Hilarious. High art. You had to be there.
According to a 1978 survey, “Mr. Whipple” was the third best-known American, behind only the recently-ousted President Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham. Another survey put “Mr. Whipple” at No. 2.