TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Da Bears

With the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 now well behind us, so to speak, I have another concern. It also involves toilet paper.

For months now, I’ve been semi-obsessed with something I’ve been seeing a lot of on television. That is the animated Charmin bears. The colorful toilet paper-pushers come on TV, often late at night for some reason, pitching their product, usually sandwiched in between the fast-food commercials. Their job, to sell you as much product as humanly possible. Make that bearly possible.

It’s not their annoying tagline that intrigues me. “We all go. Why not enjoy the go?” Or the even the more disturbing, “Cause my heinie’s clean / Oh yeah, I’m Charmin clean.” God, no!

What interests me about the advertising is the animated bears’ skin tones. Or rather, the bears’ fur tones. Unlike anything found in nature, some night’s the bears are bright red. Other nights, they are shocking blue. Still other nights, they are a more natural medium brown.

Why do they change colors from night to night? Not the most pressing issue, granted. But still. After a while, it was really starting to bother me. No, it was starting to drive me nuts! Ginny feigned vague interest. I mentioned it to a couple of friends. Both gave me a sort of mildly disturbed “poor guy, the lockdown has finally taken its toll on him” look. Still I was undeterred.

I don’t know much, and I certainly don’t know much about television advertising, but I do know this. Nothing in national television advertising is by chance. Everything that happens on your television screen in those 30-second ads happens for a reason.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to Google it. I Google everything else. Or I could have put the question to Siri or Alexa, for that matter?

I thought I was the only one who cared or even noticed. But there it was. The answer came to me in black and white. Or rather, red and blue. Thread after internet thread about the Charmin bears.

In Charminland, red represents strength, blue represents softness. It’s about as simple as that. How we’re supposed to know this as viewers, I don’t know. Also, I still don’t know what brown is supposed to mean.

So, mystery solved. Now I have another question. In all of the ads I’ve ever seen, the Charmin bears visit the bathroom, one after another.  But not once are they seen washing their hands, or paws. Why is that?

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