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Ad It Up: When You Gotta Pee Your Pants

I remember when they made it legal to advertise prescription drugs on TV back in 1997. It was so weird to be marketed to about sleep deprivation alongside Coca-Cola and to discover all kinds of new commonplace ailments that I had no idea were such widespread issues. Take peeing your pants, for example. If I were not from the U.S. I would think that everyone here has incontinence problems based on the sheer volume of overactive bladder control commercials. In theory I am opposed to the idea of advertising prescription drugs because it makes TV a lot more serious, but now I have come around to the benefits of such ads. I will demonstrate these benefits with the example of bladder control products.

Firstly, bladder control commercials are an excellent new avenue for anthropomorphism. Normally I am not a fan of the personification of inanimate objects in advertising because it is almost never ever done right. Lots of talking babies and dancing alligators telling me about car insurance or soda or other things that have nothing to do with the anthropomorphic beings selling them. But with incontinence, the personified objects seem to make sense - such as people made out of copper piping because their plumbing is all out of whack! Here's one of my favorites:


If the balloons are supposed to be people, which I believe they are since they are dancing at a reunion party, then does that mean that people explode when they pee their pants? Or is that just when they have to pee?

Then, there is the introspective approach where you have to be honest with yourself about your problem. It's these commercials that really make me question myself. I had to pee like five times at work today, is that normal or do I have a problem? Oh, but then I did have a lot of water. Does that make a difference? Where is an animated women's bathroom symbol when you need to ask these questions? Here's an example:


How embarrassing! Good thing that teacher has a friend in the bathroom door sign. She didn't even realize that she had a problem until the sign helped her look inside herself.

Finally, bladder control products provide a great venue for very funny foreign ads. Americans are apparently not the only ones with potty problems. I just think other cultures have different ways of dealing with it. I personally like the idea of these Japanese adult diapers:


So you see, advertising is greatly enhanced by the addition of prescription drugs to the pallet of products available to us on TV. We may not all have problems with peeing our pants, but we sure know a lot about how to solve them if we did.

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  1. Blogger Papa Thor | 8:34 AM |  

    I like how the lady looks around nervously when the bathroom sign starts talking to her, but soon the bathroom sign gains her confidence so she can confide in her.

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