Meatless Mondays Founder Also Had a Hand in ‘Squeeze the Charmin’ Commercials


Correction: Mr. Lerner writes Fork in the Road that NPR’s piece contained an error, that he was not in fact the originator of the “Squeeze the Charmin'” commercials, but merely “worked on the campaign.”

Heard of Meatless Mondays yet? If so, that’s probably thanks to the man behind the “Squeeze the Charmin” commercials that ran from the ’60s to the ’80s.

As this NPR piece reports, founder Sid Lerner is the 79-year-old gentleman getting celebrities like Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck to embrace the trend. He’s in favor of making moderation “sexy,” and, as the story reports, “[h]e wants people to cut back on saturated fat by eating three meatless meals on Mondays.” In a recent study, 20 percent of those surveyed said they’d heard of the movement, which some praise for its environmental and health benefits.

And, naturally, there’s a quote from the American Meat Institute, a meat and poultry trade group, positing that perhaps “this movement is being pushed by people who care more about animal rights than human nutrition.” Since Lerner is a carnivore, such a claim may not hold water.

Have you given Meatless Mondays a whirl?