The What / Rug Doctor Woman Ad
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The What, also known as the “Rug Doctor Woman Ad,” is an exploitable image macro series and reaction image depicting a woman using a carpet cleaner in a Rug Doctor advertisement with a blank stare and smile. It’s typically used as a reaction image or an object labeling macro to express confusion or disbelief, but it was originally used to describe covering up a murder.
The origin of the meme comes from an old Rug Doctor advertisement that was used in numerous retail stores alongside Rug Doctor products and rentals. The exact date this ad originated is somewhat unknown, but the earliest example online dates back to November 24th, 2014, according to TinEye.
The first time the ad was used in a meme format comes from a post to the r/funny subreddit by Redditor Kittty_velor on June 26th, 2017. The post (seen below) received over 5,300 upvotes and 99 comments.
After the initial post on Reddit, it spread to other subs where the first traditional meme format was uploaded to r/memes by Redditor RapperKid31 on June 28th, 2017.
Shortly after this meme was featured on Reddit, it then made its way over to Instagram where user made_in_england reposted it on June 29th, 2017. The post (shown below) was liked 116 times.
That same day, the meme was added to an Imgur gallery by MohAki1 titled “Thursday meme dump (60) – Mohstly fresh.”
During the Storm Area 51 event, the image resurfaced as a new format with the words “The … WHAT” placed over the woman’s face and was split into two panels as a reaction image. This new format quickly became a commonly used style in 2019, which can be seen in a repost by Redditor digbickboiiii that was uploaded to r/meme on July 14th, 2019.
This meme and new format then spread to Twitter, and an example (seen below) can be found in a tweet from user Greg Newkirk a day later on July 15th, 2019.
First Area 51 meme to make me cackle out loud: pic.twitter.com/udxsjnscco
— Greg Newkirk 🔦 (@nuekerk) July 15, 2019
As the meme continued to spread, several people began to take notice of the original advertisement that was found in stores around the United States as they recognized the model from the template. On October 21st, 2019, Redditor hmmmYah posted a meme featuring the original ad to the r/teenagers sub, which received over 9,100 upvotes and 36 comments (shown below).
 TinEye – Image Search
 Imgur – Thursday Meme Dump
 Reddit – r/teenagers
Feb 07, 2020 at 01:24PM EST
Feb 08, 2020 at 07:56PM EST in reply to
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