We’ve all seen the, er, cheeky banner ads, and some of us even witnessed the flap over butt-filled billboards in our hometowns. But have any of you actually visited the Web site? It’s for a product called the Washlet manufactured by TOTO (not, I assume, the good-timin’ purveryors of LA-based soft pop from the late 1970s and early 80s), and there’s a good chance that the product, the site, its music, style, and actors are all from the future.
We’ve all heard of Web portals. But can the Web cross the boundaries of time and space? If so, I want the next site I visit to be be Abraham Lincoln’s blog.
Anyway, Washlet. Pillowy new age murmurs in the background as six multi-cultural ambassadors to squeaky clean nether regions first give us the moon and then the start. “It’s called the *Washlet*,” the guy in the center says, and he pronounces the brand name with such mirth, you wonder whether this isn’t some crafty Bob Odenkirk sketch.
It’s also suggestive of the recent online campaign for Philips Norelco’s Bodygroom shaver.
But click on the first smiling face on the left — she’s urban sophisticate attractive — and as she runs through “Washlet 101,” your attention settles into a dreamy lull somewhere between guided museum tour and one of those representations of future culture you’d see in ‘Minority Report’ or, more absurdly, ‘The Fifth Element’ — attractive faces, soothing voices with slight reverb, a product that utilizes technology to replace an action we didn’t necessarily need replaced.
As she continues with her demonstration, it’s clear that the Washlet — essentially a mechanized method of wiping your ass — is a bidet for tech heads, a way of selling to Americans something they make fun of when they’re in Europe. Wait, it has a computer in it now? And we don’t have to clean it, ever? We’ll take three!
Stay tuned to the Internet for banner ads that push “Pantster,” a multi-armed unit that enables the fluid, hands-free application of apparel to your lower half. Just grab the remote, press “denim,” “gabardine,” or “cotton/poly blend,” and watch Pantster go to work.
Johnny Loftus, an original founder of Glorious Noise, is Critic-at-Large for Detour Magazine. Check out his GLONO archive.