Sunday, August 25, 2013

Toilet Paper Ads -- Brilliant or Full of ...?

To those who enjoy the bliss of the bathroom, an enjoyable read is just as important as a roll of bathroom tissue. And it is these two staples that seem to have inspired the creation of Star Toilet Paper: a startup that produces toilet paper with advertisements.

Since its founding in 2011, Star Toilet Paper has attracted a range of advertisers -- from restaurants to pet stores -- and received plenty of press (including a recent story in a New York Times blog). The toilet paper is free for merchants who use it in their bathrooms,  and the ads contain QR codes that customers can scan with their smartphones to receive digital coupons. But the company -- founded by brothers Jordan and Bryan Silverman -- hasn't generated much revenue over the past three years, according to The Times.

I suppose the reason is obvious: toilet paper is used to clean ourselves after going to the bathroom. No matter how clean a roll of toilet paper is, we associate it with its primary purpose. That's not to say that toilet paper ads don't spark conversation. At The Blue Note Grill in Durham, N.C., customers using the restrooms prefer the paper coupons over the the digital. “The toilet paper is a great gimmick for the restaurant,” the owner, Bill Whittington, told The Times. “On a busy night, we’ll see customers come out of the bathroom with a foot and a half of toilet paper, and everyone at the table will be looking at it."

The question is: what do they do with the toilet paper afterward? If they don't use it for a free dessert, I don't want to know. 

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