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Pampers: Pooping in the Wild  ( view commercial )

"It's the thought that counts, honey." At least that's what my ma used to tell me each time I presented her with yet another macaroni and construction paper collage for Mothers' Day. Where Pampers' recent Moms' Day tv commercial is concerned, however, it's the stunning LACK of thought and effort involved that makes it a prime target for... The adMan!

If you haven't seen the spot, it consists of eight or nine clumsily edited shots of baby animals and their mothers in the wild, set to The Intruders' old hit, "I'll Always Love My Mama." Elephants, Lions, Giraffes, Hippos, Zebras - a veritable who's-who of the African Savannah gathered together to claim Mothers' Day for Pampers' Premium.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying wild baby animals gamboling on the veldt aren't cute. It's just that they have absolutely nothing to do with Pampers. Case in point: baby African animals poop on the ground, in the water or on themselves, whereas baby Humans poop in airtight, freshness-sealed, plastic-coated pseudo-pants. Can you see the disconnect here?

Fire up your imagination for a moment, and let's put ourselves in the conference room of Pampers' ad agency the day this commercial was conceived:

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: "Pampers wants something cheap and gushy for mom's day, and they want it yesterday. Any ideas?"

AD VETERAN: "We have all that 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom' stock footage in the vault. Why don't we just throw some the baby animal shots together and stick some music to it?"

YOUNG GUN: (sighing loudly) "Excuse me, but..."

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: "Hmmmm... not bad. Of course, we'll have to edit out all the death-by-drought, poaching and predation scenes. Orphans don't sell diapers."

YOUNG GUN: "Hey, wait a sec..."

AD VETERAN: "There's still some useable stuff there, though. Chip in production can get us some has-been, one hit wonder tune about moms, or kids, or something."

YOUNG GUN: "Guys, I just..."

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: "Y'think Stella could superimpose a Pampers diaper on a chimp or something? Without going over budget?"

YOUNG GUN: "Listen to me for a minute!! Why don't we do a quick shot of a mother showing her toddler how to change her baby sister's diaper? That would fit in nicely with Pampers' "We're Behind You Every Step of the Way" message, and would still be pretty inexpensive."

AD VETERAN: (coughs, clears throat)

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: (chuckling) "Youngster, good advertising is about powerful ideas, not worn out kitsch. Show me some baby animal storyboards first thing in the morning."

For an invention of the American Advertising Machine, Mothers' Day isn't half bad. For a subsidiary of P&G, Pampers is an okay product line. Let's hope next year the latter does a much better job of addressing the former, or that they leave it alone altogether.


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