P&G Ad Pays Tribute To Actor Who Played Mr. Whipple

Procter & Gamble is running a 30-second ad in tribute to the actor who it credits for the success of its Charmin in the marketplace, a move that is a first for the giant consumer products company.

Created by Publicis, the ad in introduced, "In memory of Dick Wilson "Mr. Whipple"--and follows with clips from the campaign's two decades on TV and the signature, "Ladies, please don't squeeze the Charmin!" It ends with the words "For decades America has loved you, now we sadly say goodbye"--but not before a playful Mr. Whipple gives a package of Charmin one last squeeze.

Wilson died Nov. 19, and the ad began airing in dayparts and primetime on Nov. 28. Dewayne Guy, a spokesperson for P&G, says the ad will run for two weeks, subbing for the current Charmin campaign featuring a family of bears.

Brand guru Bob Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, agrees with the Charmin brand manager who said after Wilson's death that the actor deserved a lot of credit.

"They do owe the success of that brand to him," says Passikoff. "He brought all that attention and engagement to the brand. He was a real actor who brought a fake actor to life. And you can't beat real."



Says P&G's Guy: "To the best of my knowledge, P&G hasn't done anything similar. I don't think there is anyone comparable to the Mr. Whipple character that Dick Wilson portrayed."

Wilson portrayed Mr. Whipple from 1964 to 1985. He came back in 1999 for an encore in an ad that showed him coming out of retirement--against his buddies' advice--for a last chance to sell more Charmin.

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