Flushing, New York

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While New York lags behind other global cities in providing safe and clean public bathrooms, leave it to the private sector to step in and fill the void (at least temporarily). In an absolutely brilliant public relations move, Charmin is going to open a public restroom in Times Square, which will be stocked not only with TP but human attendants through Dec. 31. And of course, there is a screaming billboard telling the 15 million tourists who come to New York over the holidays where they can “Go In Style.” According to the Times article:

“Let’s face it — there aren’t a lot of environments where a bathroom tissue message is relevant,” said Dennis Legault, brand manager for Charmin. “But the message is very relevant when people really need to go.”

So true! I was wondering where I would take my dad and his wife when they visit for the hollidays, and now I’ve got the perfect spot: The 20-stall public restroom at 1540 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets, which — in addition to the billboard — will be advertised by people walking around Times Square dressed as toilets.

Happy flushing, New York.

UPDATE:

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It seems I’m not the only one who recognized what a brilliant PR campaign this has been for Charmin. From a story in today’s Times covering the ceremonial first flush yesterday:

“The mind boggles,” [Mayor Michael R.] Bloomberg said when asked about the Times Square event during a news conference in the Bronx. “The person that sold that is somebody I’d love to have come to work for my company.”

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, the business group that, among other things, organizes the city’s New Years Eve celebration, said, “I’ve never seen so many television cameras in my life, not even on New Year’s.”

Each bathroom has its own sink, original decor, baby-changing tables, and of course rolls of Charmin.

6 Responses to Flushing, New York

  1. So, I too thought this was a brilliant viral public relations campaign…so much so that I shared news stories with co-workers at the public relations firm where I work and positioned the campaign as one to watch. I was in the city Thursday and Friday of last week and visited the mighty shrine to Charmin to wait in line for a freshly scrubbed bathroom. Once it was my turn, an attendant welcomed me to door #12 and informed me to lock the door behind me. Once inside, I noticed the clean environment and cheery Charmin-esque music blaring through speakers and that the door construction was a little shoddy…loose purse hook, flimsy door material. When I tried to unlock the door, the deadbolt jammed and I couldn’t get out. I felt a rush of panic because I realized that the line was quite a distance away from my door (maybe 20 feet) and the music was really loud, so I worried no one would hear me. I frantically started wiggling the door handle hoping someone outside would notice a bathroom visit run amuck. When I didn’t get a response, I started pounding on the door (a little worried that I might bust right through) and after about 30 seconds, someone came over and wrestled with the door handle. I eventually got out (I must have looked completely bewildered) and dashed outside for a gasp of fresh air. On the way out, a cheery Charmin agent asked if I enjoyed my stay while poised to write my comments on his clipboard. When I responded that I was stuck in my stall for a couple minutes, he smiled and said have a good day. Of course I called the office to relay my utter embarrassment and have heard nonstop from “friends” to let them know when I’m headed to the restroom so they can accompany me in case I get stuck. Nice!

  2. […] Just because New York has a clean, well-lighted “public” bathroom sponsored by Charmin, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep your wits about you. This is New York, after all. A tourist (and regular Polis reader) sent in this rather hilarious comment about my post regarding the Charmin public toilets at Times Square, which I noted was a brilliant PR move (the writer happens to work for a PR firm): So, I too thought this was a brilliant viral public relations campaign…so much so that I shared news stories with co-workers at the public relations firm where I work and positioned the campaign as one to watch. I was in the city Thursday and Friday of last week and visited the mighty shrine to Charmin to wait in line for a freshly scrubbed bathroom. Once it was my turn, an attendant welcomed me to door #12 and informed me to lock the door behind me. Once inside, I noticed the clean environment and cheery Charmin-esque music blaring through speakers and that the door construction was a little shoddy…loose purse hook, flimsy door material. When I tried to unlock the door, the deadbolt jammed and I couldn’t get out. I felt a rush of panic because I realized that the line was quite a distance away from my door (maybe 20 feet) and the music was really loud, so I worried no one would hear me. I frantically started wiggling the door handle hoping someone outside would notice a bathroom visit run amok. When I didn’t get a response, I started pounding on the door (a little worried that I might bust right through) and after about 30 seconds, someone came over and wrestled with the door handle. I eventually got out (I must have looked completely bewildered) and dashed outside for a gasp of fresh air. On the way out, a cheery Charmin agent asked if I enjoyed my stay while poised to write my comments on his clipboard. When I responded that I was stuck in my stall for a couple minutes, he smiled and said have a good day. … […]

  3. There could not have been a better place for charmin to expose this campaign at, it is brilliant idea, one that willbe very profitable for charmin and when I go visit New york this christamas, I sure want to check the restrooms out.

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