It’s not every day that I receive an inspiring, dare I say exciting email about loo roll. So imagine my surprise when I opened an email from Louise, my VA, raving about marketing and toilet paper. But one quick look at the photos she sent and I could see why she was impressed. This is too good not to share, so it’s time for another Marvellous Marketing Spotter’s Guide!

First, let me tell you a little about the organisation in question. In 2012, Who Gives A Crap launched with a crowdfunding campaign that involved one of the co-founders sitting on a toilet and refusing to move until enough funds had been raised to start production. Why? Because he wanted to do something about the fact that 2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. The business is now thoroughly launched and thriving: 50% of its profits are donated to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. In their words, “though we’re still growing… we always want to stay true to our roots: toilet humor and making the world a better place.”

As a brand, Who Gives A Crap is confident, bold and bright, leaving us in no doubt of its core values: “Good for the world. Good for people. Good for your bum.”. This message is consistent across its marketing, from the home page to the packaging. It takes every opportunity to reinforce what it stands for without ever coming across as preachy. It knows its audience, not positioning itself in the market to compete on price, but focusing on what’s important to conscious consumers looking to make sustainable buying decisions.

The key message is powerfully delivered on the home page of its website, mixed in with some on-brand humour:

 “Stop wiping with trees! Buy 100% recycled toilet paper.”

“Thank you for helping us donate £1 million.”

“Delivered to your door. Well, to your front door. To your bathroom would be creepy.”

“Nice bum! It deserves some seriously soft toilet paper.”

These statements tell us what we need to know (this product is recycled and can be delivered to your home), address a potential objection (it’s soft, despite being recycled) and provide a sense of belonging and contribution to a wider cause (together we are making a difference in the world).

And then there’s the tone of voice. Humour is a tricky thing to get right, but Who Gives A Crap hits the mark beautifully. It uses humour throughout its copy, including plenty of toilet jokes, yet somehow manage to avoid ever coming across as puerile. The copywriter is a genius. Who knew that loo roll could be such fun?!

From start to finish, the Who Gives A Crap customer journey is a joy, from launch emails containing “the happy generator” (a link to a web page of joy-fuelled videos, which sadly is no longer available now the product has sold out), to boxes of tissues telling you “you’re cuter than puppies”. But the best bit, and this is the bit that Louise felt compelled to email me about last week, is what happens when you start running low on loo roll. At the bottom of each box lurk a few rolls which look a little different from the others:

In case you can’t read that, here’s what the Emergency Roll wrapper says:

“This roll should only ever be opened in a running-out-of-toilet-paper emergency. By this we mean you should only use it when you are really caught short. Not for when you need some extra napkins for your dinner party or have to wrap up some delicate pottery. If you do use this roll in those situations you will kick yourself when you need it for the emergency it was intended for. Or someone else will kick you for the same reason. So place it somewhere you can easily reach from your toilet and then go check your emergency napkin supply is well and truly stocked up.”

When you unwrap the emergency roll there’s a reminder to “re-order today from whogivescrap.org or risk getting caught with your pants down.”

Making us laugh and reminding us of their sustainability credentials at this crucial moment in our customer journey (where we realise stocks are running low and need to decide whether or not to place a repeat order) is such a clever move!

Having looked at this marketing content, I’m very tempted to become a customer myself, thanks for the recommendation Louise! And, (bear with me) I’m sure the excellent branding has had a huge impact on the company’s bottom line…..Boom! Boom!

If you enjoyed this Marvellous Marketing Spotter’s Guide, you can check out some others here and here.