The High-Stakes, Cutthroat World of Toilet-Wipe Advertising

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A gig's a gig.
A gig's a gig. Photo: Procter and Gamble

In a cheeky story today that goes a long way toward un-sexifying Madison Avenue, the New York Times dives headfirst into the highly competitive world of moist bathroom wipes, a product Kimberly-Clark (Cottonelle) and Procter and Gamble (Charmin) are battling to get into every American home. Even the Times knows there's no possible way to write about moist-toilet-paper marketing without giggling, so the piece is full of comedy-gold quotes and facts. Like: Did you know there's an annual conference called W.O.W., which stands for "World of Wipes?" And have you seen Charmin's product-demo video, in which an unfortunate, but hopefully highly compensated, actor demonstrates their brand of wipes, with toothpaste, on his hand? If none of this makes you laugh, go back to stealing Christmas, Mr. Grinch!

So many euphemisms! (But shouldn't it be "back there"?):


"Ms. DeSalvatore says this is the first time the brand is pitching both rolls and wipes in one advertisement, in the hope of increasing the use of wipes, which are purchased by only 25 percent of households, many of which use them only on what she called “select usage occasions.”

“Moist flushable wipes should be used on an everyday basis for personal care down there,” she said."

Comic Con should watch its back:


"While the growth of wipes is well known in the industry — at an annual conference called World of Wipes, or WOW, sponsored by the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, attendees discuss trends and innovations."

And then there's the video, which speaks for itself. We're just wondering, though: How many contentious boardroom meetings did it take for toothpaste to be agreed upon as the needing-to-be-wiped substance of choice?

Adult Toilet Training, from Madison Ave. [NYT]
Charmin Fresh Mates Product Demo [YouTube]