Charmin Makes Bathroom Break Social

Charmin wants people talking about their toilet habits. The company has rolled out its annual luxury public restrooms in New York City’s Times Square, this time, incorporating an aggressive social media campaign to connect with consumers around the world.
 
This is the fourth year that the company has rolled out comfy bathrooms for passersby over the final six weeks of the year. This year, the brand has recruited five bathroom enthusiasts to act as the Charmin “Go Team.” The five ambassadors were selected through an audition process and won $10,000 each to greet and entertain guests at the Charmin restrooms and around the city, while also blogging, Facebooking and tweeting about their experiences and the nuances of “going.”
 
“Through the popular social media platforms that they use, the ambassadors have the capability to take the experience beyond Times Square, beyond New York City, and share the Charmin experience potentially across the country and across the world,” said Shawn Pulscher, Charmin assistant brand manager.
 
On Facebook, the ambassadors post images and video taken at the restrooms or on their numerous outings in NYC. Each of the five ambassadors posts stories to the Charmin Web site, EnjoytheGo.com, discussing subjects such as international bathroom habits, favorite places to “Enjoy the Go” and potty training tips for parents. Visitors are encouraged to interact and post their own bathroom stories or rate their experience at the Times Square locations.
 
Visitors to the site can also download the photos they take at the bathrooms. Additionally, the site includes a link to the “SitOrSquat” app that allows users to search for public restrooms.
 
Each bathroom is designed to look similar to one that individuals would have in their home, with sinks and toilets designed by Kohler, as well as televisions in half the bathrooms and iPods in the other half.
 
According to Charmin, approximately 1.5 million passersby have visited the restrooms since 2006. The company spent $83 million on advertising in 2008, and is estimated to have spent $47 million between January and September 2009, per Nielsen.
 
This year’s bathrooms are also serving to launch Charmin’s broader “Enjoy the Go” campaign, which will be rolling out through next year. Though the details of how the campaign will be executed are still being decided, Pulscher said the campaign would be applied across all of Charmin’s brands, including Ultra Soft, Uitra Strong, and others. “We want to use it at the Charmin level that will work across all our sub-brands,” Pulscher added. “This gives us a unifying element across all of those.”