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Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Edward Boches, Luke Sullivan

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A black and white photograph of Mr. Whipple holding something in his hands.

Figure 1.1 This is Mr. Whipple.

1A Brief History of Why Everybody Hates AdvertisingAnd Why You Should Try to Get a Job There

I grew up pointing a finger gun at Mr. Whipple. You probably don't know him, but he was this irritating guy who kept interrupting my favorite television shows back in the day. The morning lineup was my favorite, with its back-to-back Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith shows. But Whipple kept butting in on Rob and Laura Petrie.

He'd appear uninvited on my TV, looking over the top of his glasses and pursing his lips at the ladies in his grocery store. Two middle-aged women, presumably with high school or college degrees, would be standing in the aisle squeezing rolls of toilet paper. Whipple would wag his finger and scold, “Please don't squeeze the Charmin.” After the ladies scurried away, he'd give the rolls a few furtive squeezes himself.

Oh, they were such bad commercials.

The thing is, I'd wager that if the Whipple campaign aired today, there would be a hundred different parodies on YouTube tomorrow. But back then? All we had was a volume knob. (“We had to walk to the TV set!”) Then VCRs came along and later DVRs, and the fast-forward button became our defense. We can just tell Whipple to shut the hell up, turn him off, and go get our entertainment from any number of other platforms and devices.

To be fair, Procter & Gamble's Charmin commercials weren't ...

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