Plumbing Ads, Chaucer, Beethoven, and Evita

Josh Young who sang Che Guevara's roll (or Antonio Bandera's) was WONDERFUL.

Josh Young who sang Che Guevara’s role (or Antonio Bandera’s) was WONDERFUL.

I’m not completely unfamiliar with public restroom ads. I’ve seen many off-color ads for plumbing, good-time boys, and taxi cabs on the inside of bathroom stalls of bars and restaurants. Still, when I joined the intermission line of twenty women during a recent performance of Evita at the Gammage Theatre in Tempe, Arizona I was a little surprised a “serious” art venue had a blatant plumbing promotion.

There was a sign on the wall in the room usually reserved for female primping and private gossip. The sign before the “stall room” welcomed me and noted plumbing and art had a long history together. I noted the marketer’s savvy atPlumbing Brazil preparing the “mark” for the message and I was curious. When it was at last my turn, I stepped before the sweltering bank of privately cordoned off toilets. Each one had a year on the front.

I went to the first available of course. What else does one do when eight stalls are designated for 3,000 1770women to use in fifteen minutes? I walked into 1770. On the inside of the door it read that Beethoven used E flat major key for his bold, heroic Grand Sonata and the Erotica Symphony. Isn’t it a lovely coincidence, the message continued, that E flat major is the key for flushing toilets?

This was new information to a person who really never connected musical tones to toilet

It was dark in my little room.

It was dark in my little room.

plumbing and there was something a bit disarming about it. Now here was a creative use and stretch of the marketing mind to find a niche for a client. Something I appreciated. How much, I wondered, did George Brazil Plumbing pay for this?

There wasn’t much time or opportunity during the intermission to read all I would have liked, but I was able to snap this information from the 1380 stall. “Geoffrey 1380Chaucer penned The Miller’s Tale (part of his Canterbury Tales), which contains several incidents of “toilet” or “off-color” humor, proving that bathroom jokes are as old as time itself (or at least nearly 700 years old).”

Then it finishes, because there’s got to be a punch for the client, “Of course, there’s nothing funny when there’s a problem with your home’s plumbing.” George Brazil Plumbing.

It was brighter on this side.

It was brighter on this side.

At home I reread The Miller’s Tale and it was a vaudevillian, bawdy tale. Someone did a little research on this well-placed ad with a captive audience, and I’ll remember George Brazil Plumbing.


Brought to you by the Gammage Theatre (Rhymes with damage, not fromage as I'd been saying and was corrected.)

Brought to you by the Gammage Theatre (Rhymes with damage, not fromage as I’d been saying and was corrected.)

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17 Responses to Plumbing Ads, Chaucer, Beethoven, and Evita

  1. I always have something to read at ‘home’, but what a surprise you’ve presented here. I can hear someone humming Beethoven’s Grand Sonata to compare their E flat to the flushing one. Ha ha ha.
    Classy and entertaining reading in my book. 🙂

  2. We are pleased to read your review of our bathroom sponsorship! Thank you for taking the time to share about your experience at ASU Gammage. Our sponsorship was made in donation to go towards the funds they are saving to improve the bathrooms and build more. We are hoping we get the chance to donate our services when it is time to build more bathrooms and make those updates to the existing ones. George and Patricia Brazil have always been large supporters of the arts and especially ASU Gammage. This campaign was near and dear to Patricia Brazil’s heart after her husband had passed in 2012. We hope the facts are fun and make everyone smile during the long bathroom wait lines.

  3. Aussa Lorens says:

    I think this is brilliant! I don’t know anything about marketing so I don’t know if it’s actually a good idea or not but I’m absolutely enthralled. I feel like a ladies restroom at a large public event would be a great advertising spot for other products as well… hmmm….

    • Yes, it works. I’ve seen it before and I think it is becoming more common. And why not? The demographic is male or female and much more can be determined by where it is, so it makes a reasonably good “target market.” Thanks for coming by and commenting.

  4. merrildsmith says:

    Great idea for a public restroom–thanks for sharing. After attending an event at a museum once, a group of us discussed the wonderful hand dryers and the art work. People appreciate good bathrooms–and like to talk about them! And thanks for the Chaucer reminder, too!

  5. Sometimes you have to wonder, where do people find this stuff ? Love the E flat story

  6. Or come up with the ideas. Well, I remember a song I never liked “back in the day,” about “good, good vibrations,” I think by the Beach Boys and during those years the popular culture was always talking about how we give off vibrations, so maybe you and I are an E flat too!

  7. What a fun post! One of the delights of my childhood was a book of cartoons titled Continental Cans, which was all about the Englishman abroad wrestling with unexpected plumbing. Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Wonderful, entertaining post!

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