Why Am I Obsessed With Charmin?

No One Likes Pieces Left Behind...

Good marketing is always based on sound and thorough research so that the point of difference (POD) you’re trying to convey and the key messages match what is most important to your target audience. I’ve been wondering for years what type of research P&G did to land on the POD that with Charmin Ultra Strong you’ll have “fewer pieces left behind.”

You’ve seen the ads. They’ve been running for years and feature a cute little bear family set in everyday situations. However, the ads that feature their Ultra Strong brand have always bothered me. The ones where junior emerges from the bathroom and is admonished by either Mom or Dad for having toilet paper pieces left on his bum.

Since I’m a firm believer in advertising based on consumer research, I’ve pondered what sort of methodology P&G used to base this campaign. I’m sure that Moms with kids under the age of 10 were informants for the research. I try to imagine the focus group discussions that led to this revelation that “pieces left behind” is a real issue in the decision to purchase toilet tissue. Or was it ethnographic research where facilitators actually are in the home to observe consumer behavior? Okay, that thought bothers me more.

Whatever type of research P&G has done and whether you like the campaign or not, Charmin has succeeded in differentiating themselves in a low involvement category where purchases are typically based on price.

Did you know that the bear family is made up of Molly and Leonard as Mom and Dad with kids named Bill, Amy and Dylan? (Dylan is usually the one with the “pieces left behind” problem.) Charmin also has a microsite (enjoythego.com) where they “believe going to the bathroom is a thing to enjoy — even celebrate.” They have a SitorSquat app that you can download to find and rate public restrooms. 273,659 likes on Facebook and 1,925 followers on Twitter.

I’m not a loyal Charmin purchaser – price is more important to me. But their marketing fascinates me, so that in a way makes me a Charmin brand fanatic. What marketing stories intrigue you?

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