Business Challenges and Campaign Objectives
Toilet paper is a commoditized category, where consumers generally view many of the products as interchangeable, so there is high switching behavior. Charmin was once seen in a class of its own, but by 2017, the company needed to find a way to stand out in a sea of sameness. The company focused on millennials, as they are the biggest generation in U.S. history, outnumbering boomers by 20 percent and gen X by 50 percent.
For millennials, a strong brand isn’t enough to secure a sale. While quality is important, they are more likely than other generations to shop based on price. These are disconcerting statistics for a commodity-focused category and a premium brand like Charmin.
Charmin’s goals were much more ambitious than just putting butts on seats, however. The company set a goal of a $1.50 CPM based on its total media and activation budget.
Insights and Strategy
Even though everything seems easily accessible in New York City, a clean bathroom is not. New York City has a population of 8.54 million, and more than 60 million foreign and domestic tourists travel to the city each year, so finding a bathroom at all, never mind an enjoyable one, is nearly impossible. This is why Charmin set out to eliminate public restroom worry and prove that no matter where someone goes, Charmin makes it easier.
Charmin introduced Charmin Van-Go, the first on-demand mobile bathroom service, to make it easier for locals and tourists find a bathroom. All a customer had to do was pull out his or her phone and order it through an app. Within mere minutes, a better bathroom experience was delivered.
Charmin decided Mashable was the perfect outlet to break the story as the go-to source for digital culture, popular tech, and entertainment. Not only does Mashable attract 45 million monthly unique visitors and a social audience of 28 million, it is followed by other influencers and outlets, meaning every story has the potential for syndication. With three articles shared per second on Mashable, it was the right outlet to drive the interest and buzz the company was looking for.
To deliver on the brand promise, “enjoy the go,” Charmin went above and beyond. The company designed every inch of the experience to put a smile on the consumer’s face, starting with its mobile site, which was simple and easy to use, like the on-demand vehicle apps consumers are used to.
Inside and out, Charmin’s playful brand personality was evident. While waiting, consumers could meet the Charmin bears and pick a Charmin nametag, such as I.P. Freely. When it was someone’s turn to enter, Charmin literally rolled out its white carpet (which was meant to emulate toilet paper). While inside, customers could enjoy some of Charmin’s custom artwork (like an Andy Warhol-style poop emoji painting), answer nature’s call by picking up a special phone that played the sounds of nature, read one of the company’s custom-designed “Pooblications,” check the time on a custom-designed 1-2 clock, and enjoy the view out a digital window with various scenes of the Charmin bears “laying bricks” or “pinching a loaf.”
To amplify the impact, Charmin distributed owned-influencer campaigns, celebrity whitelisting on Twitter, Snapchat features, a 30-second sizzle video on Facebook and Twitter, and a custom Mashable story.
Charmin surpassed its ambitious goals on a level the brand has never seen before. The company aimed for 25 percent PR recall and achieved 43.25 percent. Charmin also exceeded its goal of 1,065,000,000 impressions by 14.9 percent with 1,222,529,662 impressions. Lastly, the company achieved its goal of $1.50 CPM with a CPM of $1.43, a 12.8 percent difference.
Van-Go became the best-performing social campaign in the history of the brand, resulting in a 3,000 percent increase in social impressions versus previous efforts, and Charmin’s Mashable article had 27,100 shares, quadruple the average article share rate on Mashable.
“Charmin Van-Go, The First On-Demand Mobile Bathroom.” 2018 REGGIE Awards Silver, Local, Regional Market Campaigns. Brand: Charmin, P&G. Lead Agency: Jack Morton Worldwide, Publicis North America, MSL, Genuine.