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Andrex scrunch or fold campaign - Do I scrunch? Do I fold? Do I want to discuss my anus-wiping habits?

Updated on February 20, 2013
Viewers are encouraged to vote online
Viewers are encouraged to vote online | Source

As an avid watcher of television, perhaps I take more notice of adverts than is required of the average home viewer. It could be suggested that maybe, as a regular sofa-dweller, I take these 30 second visual audio experiences a tad too seriously.
But, how anybody on any British sofa for any amount of time could accept and excuse the new Andrex ‘Scrunch or fold’ adverts is completely beyond me.

The new campaign features a variety of actors stating whether they ‘scrunch’ or ‘fold’ their tissue paper when they… ahem… for lack of a better phrase, wipe the excretion from their anus. Some of them even accompany this information with a chirpy statement such as, ‘Of course!’. One girl with an Essex accent, I assume an attempt at appealing to the TOWIE masses, exclaims, “Behave!” At the end of the Ad. This is advice that Andrex could do with taking.

TOWIE wannabe insists on scrunching.
TOWIE wannabe insists on scrunching.

The Ad, which is posted on Youtube with the caption, “Our Nation is divided! Does the UK scrunch or fold?” is accompanied by the request that you vote on the matter on Andrex’s website.
I must say, I got a little curious as to how far their campaign goes and whether anybody, any single soul in the UK, had voted for their butt-wiping preference. And to my surprise, yes. Yes they have. The website supports graphics and statistics as to which areas of the country ‘scrunch’, which ‘fold’, and what the ‘average scruncher or folder’ looks like. Yes. You heard me right. Apparently if you ‘scrunch’, you are likely to be a blonde who eats Chinese takeaways. Well I never. How intensely thought provoking.
On closer inspection, and a little to my relief, it seems this information was collected via a survey prior to the ad campaign. Well, it would have to be wouldn’t it?

I can’t even begin to exaggerate or explain how much I do not associate ass wiping with my personal identity. I have no pride, no badge of honour, no opinion and no righteous or smug little comments to make about how one chooses to rid their rear end of excrement.

This slightly overweight office worker exclaims, "Don't be square - scrunch!". It seems he is so adamant about his toilet habits that he enforces them. Boy. Funny how I've never met anybody in my entire life with that affliction.
This slightly overweight office worker exclaims, "Don't be square - scrunch!". It seems he is so adamant about his toilet habits that he enforces them. Boy. Funny how I've never met anybody in my entire life with that affliction.

Andrex’s ad is just another in a long line of adverts that seem to be built on two principles – we should make people feel connected to the product, and we can use the internet to our advantage. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have found the proper road to these goals yet.

A previous Ad campaign that baffled me, although to a much lesser extent, was the Kingsmill confessions Ad campaign of 2009. Similarly to Andrex, the attempt was made to set up a narrative between the public and the product. The audience were shown a slightly amusing sandwich-based situation, that would suggest people would go out of their way to eat Kingsmill bread, and then were invited to share their own ‘Kingsmill Confessions’ on the website. Now, just how many amusing stories you have about your quest to eat sandwiches, I don’t know. I certainly won’t judge you for having one. However. When I look at my life as a whole, with all it’s ups and downs and ins and out, amusing anecdotes and the like… not one involves a sandwich. Surely, this ad campaign was doomed from the start?

One of Kingsmill's Ads showed a father and son stealing the mother's sandwich and then blaming it on the dog. Hilarity all round.
One of Kingsmill's Ads showed a father and son stealing the mother's sandwich and then blaming it on the dog. Hilarity all round.

Well, maybe, maybe not. I googled ‘Kingsmill confessions’, and they still have a website. Apparently the ‘latest confession’, as stated on the homepage, is the following made by somebody named Sam: “My girlfriend thinks I’ve been a vegeterian for two years but I can’t resist my friend’s bacon sandwiches whenever I visit at the weekend [sic]”. A flick through leads you to other vague sandwich eating claims. I smell a rat, perhaps because my faith in the public’s lack of interest in sharing sandwich stories is just too high.

The issue with these types of Ads attempting to make you feel a connection with their product is that well, people’s lives do actually have narrative. And we’re all well aware of how little importance toilet roll and bread have upon that narrative. I’m going to be controversial for a moment and suggest this – why not just tell me how wonderfully soft and great value for money Andrex is? Why not insist Kingsmill tastes simply brilliant and is made with the finest ingredients?
Maybe that would just be too easy.


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