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Wipe Out

Alan Greenspan has his indicators, but my economic barometer is based on what I like to call the “Tchotchke Index.” If the economy is doing well, goes my reasoning, the quality and originality of trinkets that companies give away goes up. Take, for example, one giveaway I got at a launch party back in ’99: A navy blue Polartec fleece hat with bright orange horns sticking out all over it. Warm and visually distinctive, I would give it a 9 on the Index.

So it was with a little amazement today when I saw people handing out rolls of toilet paper (unused) on the street, printed with the Women’s Entertainment logo and advertising the “WE Awards Night Bathroom Break Party live from the Ladies Room.” Based purely on novelty and practicality, I give the roll a 6.7 on the Index (look for more TI ratings in the future). But that aside, what does it say when you’re more or less inviting people to wipe themselves with your brand?

It’s fine if you’re Charmin, but is this the message the WE network wants to send?