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John Chervokas, “Don’t squeeze the Charmin” copywriter, dies at 74

John Chervokas, the copywriter who wrote the famous advertising slogan “Please Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” for the Benton & Bowles agency in 1964, has died.

Chervokas died of Parkinson’s disease July 23 in New York at age 74, according to the Associated Press and Ad Age.

Here’s one of the many Charmin toilet paper TV spots that featured beleaguered supermarket stocker Mr. Whipple imploring shoppers to stop squeezing the Charmin:

As is often the case with commercial writing, there is some dispute over who actually wrote the famous Charmin line. As the AP reports: “In 2007, another man, Norman Schaut, said “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” was his creation, but Advertising Age and The New York Times have credited Chervokas.”

AdAge has helpfully re-posted a 1972 article by Chervokas, in which he wryly puts down his enduring slogan. He recounts the brainstorming session in which the concept came up, and says: “It was that easy. In an hour and a half, America’s most universally despised advertising campaign was created.”

In addition to Benton & Bowles, Chervokas also worked at Warwick Advertising, William Esty Co., McCann Erickson, Grey and Sudler & Hennessy, where he retired as chief creative officer, according to Ad Age.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising, Copywriting

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