Wine and the Clean Butt Theory of Advertising

Bottom Some products just don't lend themselves to being marketed by touting their primary function or benefit. Wine is a perfect example. Wine, like beer and spirits, is primarily differentiated from every other beverage not by its taste, not by its origin and not by its appearance. It's differentiated from every other beverage by the fact that it will get you Drunk.Looped. Messed up.

And yet this very specific and very primary differentiation from all other beverages is never touted in the marketing of wine.

There are other products that similarly take a detour from touting their primary benefit. Take toilet paper. They tell you it's soft and coushiony. But in marketing the stuff, just as wine marketers rarely tell you that chardonnay will get your drunk, they rarely tout the fact that it cleans poop off your ass.

It's not difficult to understand why they avoid the ass-cleaning properties of toilet paper. Just like we don't like to talk about our drunkenness, we don't like to talk about our dirty bottoms.

Well it appears that the good folks at Charmin have overcome any distaste for touting the primary benefit of their product and have even taken to the airwaves to get right to the point:

I'll grant that they are using a euphemism or two, but the point is the butt…and the freshness that Freshmates deliver to the butt.

This all makes me wonder if the alcohol industry will ever get around to discussing the primary effect of its products. If you too are wondering how long it will take a spirits or wine or beer company to happily state, "It'll get you fucked up, but fast," I'm here to tell you—don't hold your breath.

Rule #33 of the Code Of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol
Advertising and Marketing
of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says:
"Beverage alcohol advertising and marketing materials should not refer to the alcohol content of a beverage alcohol product except in a straightforward and factual man-ner or promote the potency of a beverage alcohol product."

Rule #1 of the Wine Institute's Code of Advertising Standards states:
"Wine advertising shall not depict or describe in their advertising the consumption of wine for the effects the alcohol content may

Now, this general prohibition on not discussing the primary effect of a product is probably a good thing. It's likely that if wineries were to go around touting the ability of their product to get you looped they'd see just as many folks start buying the product to test this claim as we'll see folks investigating Freshmates to determine if we really want a "Routine for a Cleaner Clean."

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8 Responses

  1. Clinton Stark - July 21, 2010

    My money’s on boxed wine to come clean on the “effect” – first mover. College campuses rejoice!

  2. Samantha Dugan - July 21, 2010

    One of the most compelling post titles ever! You talked about poop, wine and getting fucked up…(sniff, no NOT that kind of sniff. A sniff as if drying a tear) such a rebel you! Makes me proud to be your groupie and junk

  3. Ron Washam, HMW - July 22, 2010

    It’s the cool porn soundtrack that makes it. And if your stool has the consistency of toothpaste, well, you’ve got bigger problems than skidmarks.
    But I get the point. You don’t want your dog to get a snootful of something unpleasant, so use Freshmates!

  4. Bill Smart - July 22, 2010

    Tom, I almost spit coffee directly on top my laptop while reading this. Holy crap that was funny! How you manage to tie toliet paper, poop and wine together – God I admire you.
    The best part of this post was the video. How the hell can they claim that toothpaste has the consistency of poop? I’m with Ron, you’ve got bigger problems than being drunk on plonk Chardonnay if your poops are coming out like toothpaste.

  5. El Jefe - July 22, 2010

    Holy crap! Er, I mean, wow! That’s hilarious!
    Of course, Toothpaste Guy could have just grabbed another tissue to finish the job… heck, if you have striped toothpaste poop you should be wiping three times.

  6. Goldilocks - July 23, 2010

    A few years ago, I did some extensive consumer research on what consumers thought the primary benefits were for my $20+ fine wine brand. To my shock and dismay, the #1 most popular response was “it gives me a great buzz”. After all of the time I spent on gorgeous photography, elegant packaging, and flowery prose, it turned out that my middle-aged consumers were still after the same thing most of us were after in college: a good buzz. Now, we just pay a little more for it.

  7. Randy - July 23, 2010

    What strikes me as funny is that you describe toilet paper’s function as “cleaning poop off your ass”, but you’re willing to go all the way when describing possible alcohol taglines with “it’ll get you fucked up, but fast.”
    Cut out the goddamn double-standard with your obscenities, you bastard.

  8. Randy - July 23, 2010

    Also, that’s a nice Garageband-class soundtrack there on the Charmin video. Nice to see that Proctor & Gamble spare no expense with their production budget.

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