Two Commercials Too Many

stretch pantsEverybody dislikes commercials, but nobody dislikes these two like I do.

Commercial #1: 

Summer 1961:

John Kennedy is president, gasoline costs 27 cents a gallon, and stretch pants promise women to “sharpen your figure to a leaner, smoother line.”

It was summer, school was out.

And everyone was dancing to Ricky Nelson’s #1 hit, Travelin’ Man:


And who wouldn’t?  You could dance fast, dance slow, and even cha-cha-cha.

And those lyrics – well, they had every red-blooded male yearning to be just like Ricky:  a “Travelin’ Man” with a girl in every port.

“At least one lovely girl,” no less:  a Señorita in Mexico, an Eskimo in Alaska, a Fraulein in Berlin, a China Doll in Hong Kong, a Polynesian Baby in Waikiki…

Yup, that song was #1 in the summer of or not fixed

In 1961:  Hot.

In 2019:  Not.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that today, the Travelin’ Man lyrics would offend, or annoy, or at least baffle a great many people:

I’m a travelin’ man woman cropped
I’ve made a lot of stops all over the world.
And in every part I own the heart
Of at least one lovely girl.

I’ve a pretty Señorita waiting for me
Down in old Mexico.
If you’re ever in Alaska stop and see
My cute little Eskimo.

Oh, my sweet Fraulein down in Berlin town
Makes my heart start to yearn. woman_01 cropped
And my China doll down in old Hong Kong
Waits for my return.

Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea
I remember the night,
When we walked in the sands of Waikiki
And I held you, oh so tight.

Seriously, this is what folks were listening to and loving in 1961.

Seriously, isn’t this like fingernails on a chalkboard?

These lyrics push all the buttons:  fear of commitment, stereotyping, trivializing, racism, sexism, and claiming to “own” multiple female hearts?

And the nerve to brag about it in a song.

So I’m puzzled as to why Toyota chose this song for its new Corolla hybrid ad.

I suppose the ad is cute.  A man and woman kiss good bye at a train station:

commerical cropped larger

As she gazes wistfully out the window of the moving train, he’s racing like hell in his Corolla to – where?

To some further train station along her route, where she leaps out, they embrace, she reboards the train, and then he’s racing like hell somewhere else.

I guess that qualifies him as a travelin’ man.

Near the end, a male voice-over intones, “The first-ever Corolla hybrid.  Let’s go places.”

And you can hear the lyrics about owning the heart of at least one lovely girl, and the “pretty Señorita waiting for me down in old Mexico.”


An article Ad Age magazine, which has been around since 1930 and certainly knows more about advertising than I do, suggested the commercial

Ricky“…portrays a light-hearted pursuit, backed by music from Ricky Nelson.  The spot shows how the hybrid’s high fuel economy performance can take drivers farther than ever, to the point of chasing a loved one because you’re not a fan of goodbyes.”

Apparently somebody at Toyota’s ad agency thought this was a good idea.  And somebody at Toyota thought this was a good idea.

They’re probably the same people who thought stretch pants were a good idea, too.

Commercial #2:

The cashier who’s ringing up my groceries suddenly turns, and says to a colleague, “If I hear this commercial one more time today, I’ll scream!”

I hadn’t been aware of anything audible coming from the store’s public address system.

Now, I can’t hear anything else.

The cashier, the entire store team, all the customers – and I – are a captive audience subjected to the following musical enlightenment:hands_01 cropped

My hiney’s so Charmin shiny
My hiney’s so Charmin shiny
My hiney’s so Charmin shiny


A breathy female voice is singing, accompanied by music that’s got an insistent beat that makes you want to…

Leave your groceries at the checkstand, rush home, fire up YouTube, and listen to this entire masterwork for yourself.

Which I did.

Here it is, in its entirety:

(Male voice-over:)  They say you shouldn’t talk about going to the bathroom.  So here at Charmin, we decided to sing about it.hands cropped

(Breathy female voice, singing:)

No ifs or ands, just cleaner butts
Charmin Ultra Strong, oh yeah
Ultra Strong gives me the cleaner than average hiney,
It’s super shiny.
My hiney’s so Charmin shinyhands_02 cropped
My hiney’s so Charmin shiny
My hiney’s so Charmin shiny…

(Deep male voice:)  My hiney.

(Male voice-over:)  We all go.  Why not enjoy the go with Charmin?


To think that I’ve been walking around with a hiney that’s only average clean, due to my lack of awareness.

I wonder if the ad agency that thought this was a good idea, and Charmin, which also thought this was a good idea, are aware that “shiny hiney” is a registered trademark…

My-Shiney-Hiney-larger darker cropped

Of a company that makes hygiene products for, well…

Let’s not go there.


Come to think of it, if we bought both Charmin Ultra Strong and Shiney Hiney, we’d really have a…

scan0002 (3) fixed

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