Monday, September 18, 2017

Allstate On the Toilet

In these political correct times, Allstate has been running a curiously no holds barred commercial. It's doubly strange since  insurance companies don't usually like risk. The idea behind it is safe driver credits. A family is driving along. The driver is talking but no one can hear him since the two children and their mother are all plugged into their devices. But there's an air of threat. First the driver comments that his wife doesn’t even know about his new putter. She smiles as he says this not knowing what he's talking about and then comes the coup de grace on which the commercial ends “sometimes I even leave the seat up on purpose.” At first you jump, thinking, "what seat, the car seat?"  Then it becomes apparent. The driver is referring to the toilet seat and if you listen closely his monologue finishes with a guffaw that actually sounds like a grunt of satisfaction. It’s a loaded area and one wonders about the insouciant copy writers who were willing to ride against the current of both racial and sexual propriety (the family in the commercial are black) which has invaded every aspect of our lives. From a practical point of view there are really two issues involved. When someone leaves a toilet seat up it can result in the next user sitting down on a cold bowl. It’s something that happens to men and women both and is usually the result of an innocent mistake—unless you're one of those people who thinks everything has a meaning and intention and sees hostility in many otherwise innocuous acts. The second part relates to the old “we aim to please, will you aim too, please.” In essence by leaving the seat up the driver has shown a certain sensitivity. It may be unpleasant to sit down on a cold bowl, but it’s worse to sit on a toilet seat covered with someone else’s piss. You end up coming away from the Allstate spot not thinking about insurance or safe driving, but bathroom etiquette.

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