What’s with poop all of a sudden?

9 May

There used to be this line you didn’t cross in advertising. You didn’t talk about Number 2 and you certainly didn’t show it.

But all it takes is one advertiser to cross that skid mark and the stuff is everywhere.

Huggies has decided that it’s time to name That Which We Shall Not Name. In a recent campaign they used the word “poo” to rhyme with “blue”. (They obviously chose not to rhyme “fit”.)

Even the music carries with it the unmistakable sound of wuffs whenever they show the kid’s butt.

Some US networks refused to air the spots because of the potty humour.

But in a New York Times article, a creative director for JWT, the agency that created the spots, defended this bowel movement. “We wanted to get at the truth in parenting, which is that sometimes it can be messy and wild and chaotic, but it can also be fun and funny,” he said.

(By the way: Correctly identify how many poop puns I’ve used in this post and win a FREE pair of Huggies diapers!)

Now from the UK we have The Poop Monster, a turd-covered surfer to educate Britains about the filth of the water they swim in.

We know that it happens. And we also know that western culture dumps traditional taboos all the time, linguistically and visually.

But is this a welcome development? Your thoughts please.


12 Responses to “What’s with poop all of a sudden?”

  1. Susan Z. Martin May 9, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    I find the Huggies ‘poo in blue’ way less offensive than those frikking Charmin bears that are constantly waving their butts with clingons in the side panel of my Yahoo mail.

    And as I recall poo is not one of the three topics that you don’t talk about in polite company (sex, religion and politics). I would personally like to see more acknowledgement – not less – of the reality that is the human body. Instead of coy and cloyingly cute ads about menstruation or body odour let’s call it what it is!

  2. dougbrowncreative May 9, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Well sex, religion and politics are already in advertising, so I guess poop is the Final Frontier. I mean, how long before we see someone “taking the kids to the pool” in an ad? Thanks for your great comment Susan!

  3. margriet aasman May 9, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    As a grandmother that just spent Mother’s Day with five grand babies and their parents, I am prone to smile stupidly at all conversation about the little ones, including lots of talk about what’s in the diapers. It is hard not to think the ad with the little guy is cute… but i am sorry, the adult covered in poo? The question is, where do we draw the line on bodily functions. Cute kid? Funny and endearing. Adult? Yuck, but ok, ok. Other bodily functions… menstruation? Heaven forbid.

  4. Ross G West May 9, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    AHHHH!!!!!!!!!. For a senior there is nothing more invigorating than a good BM. Where does one enrol for the senior’s poopfest commercial?

  5. Amy May 9, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    “the coolest you’ll look pooping your pants” – ha! I think that’s funny. Now if the ad were for adult diapers, I could see why people would be offended (I’d still think it’s funny).

    This ad reminds me of one for a pregnancy test that I also thought was hilarious – “its the most accurate piece of equipment you will ever pee on.”
    People got all pissy about that one, too and they would only air it after 9 at night.

    That Poop Monster is gross, but that is the intention. Now, if were were to somehow combine the visual of a poop covered person and a baby in diapers, I think that would be crossing a line of some kind.

  6. dougbrowncreative May 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    > Margriet, we cross a fetid river when we start letting baby poo in to our living rooms. But it’s like the mucus ads that are everywhere these days. Has anyone else noticed? Every product has Mucus Extractors! They are always visualized as these ugly green trolls. What’s with that. Flavour of the month? Sorry!

    > Ross they’re casting for that commercial at the corner of Bloor and Bay in Toronto tomorrow at noon. Hidden cameras, so just get there and do your thing. And good luck!

    > Pee, boogies, poop…where will it all end Amy? We all know there is poo in that diaper, so do we have to take it off and show everybody. Aren’t some things best just left unsaid? I do wonder.

  7. amyj May 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Ross is onto the truly final frontier: old people pooping. It will never happen in advertising. Never! Never! Never! It is not saleable.

    Thanks for the smile, Doug.

  8. dougbrowncreative May 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    It’s always a good day when Amy J and Amy S leave a comment on a post. Even if the post is about nasty poopies.

    But Amy J, I warn you that the Silver Tsunami means old people pooping may very well be saleable!

  9. Ross G West May 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Now Amy……….that Depends.

  10. dougbrowncreative May 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm #


  11. maureen blaseckie May 10, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    I recall a cartoon from way, way…way back that showed a radio on a kitchen counter, a family gathered at the table and the caption: “our product offers relief for a condition of such a personal, embarrassing and intimate nature we could only discuss it at the dinner hour”.

    I think the challenge always exists for folk in your line of business to find a way to nudge the envelope in such a way as to be either tastefully understated or cheekily outrageous but still get the message across.

    What do the statistics show in comparing the hushed whisper ads effectiveness versus the poo-in-blue style ads? My attitude is it seems popular advertising content is about 5 years behind SNL spoofs (except for bass-o-matic, thank goodness)…http://www.viddler.com/explore/takxs/videos/62/


  12. dougbrowncreative May 10, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    “Oops I crapped my pants.” We youngsters can laugh at it now…

    Thanks for the comment Moe. I firmly believe that showing and talking about poo isn’t nudging the envelope. It’s ripping the envelope pretty much open and showing that there was a large stinky dump inside.

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