Yesterday afternoon, BuzzFeed writer Ryan Broderick discovered that Charmin, the toilet paper brand famous for its cuddly spokesbears, had a Twitter presence. Not only that, but the company appeared to literally livetweet the bodily functions of its community management team. To use Oreo’s parlance, it was a “brave” new frontier in social media interaction. Many poop jokes were made. AllThingsD writer Mike Isaac even changed his Twitter avatar to the same one as Charmin’s, which was as funny as it was disturbing.
Betabeat couldn’t help but wonder: who was the team behind the shameless Charmin Twitter account, responsible for hashtags like “#tweetfromtheseat?” Who was tweeting photos of coffee cups, wondering when their next poop might come, effectively grossing everybody out? Who was normalizing livetweeting their bowel movements, talking about it as if it was just another day at the office?
We called Tonia Elrod, Charmin’s communications associate director, who said two teams, one from Procter & Gamble and one from an outside agency, compose the tweets that appear in Charmin’s feed. One of our first questions for Ms. Elrod: Are you pooping right now?
“No, I’m not on the seat right now,” she replied. “If I was on a mobile, I could do it on a mobile phone.” It was a gracious offer, but we declined.
Ms. Elrod explained that Charmin operates under a curious belief system that informs the way they tweet. “We believe that life is full of little pleasures,” Ms. Elrod said. “You and I might not always take the time to enjoy these moments as much as we should, especially when it comes to going to the bathroom. At Charmin, we want you to enjoy going to the bathroom as much as we do.”
Do you enjoy going to the bathroom so much because the bathrooms at Charmin’s offices are super tricked out, we wondered?
Ms. Elrod admitted that the bathrooms at Charmin are uniquely decorated with visuals plastered behind the toilets. “You could go into one bathroom and sit down and the visual behind you makes you feel like you’re on the edge of the boat,” she explained. “Or you might have a sports figure cheering you on.”
With a brand that is so heavenly intertwined with going to the bathroom, do you ever hold meetings in there, we asked?
Ever on-message, Ms. Elrod offered, “It’s more acceptable at Charmin to go ahead and have a meeting in the bathroom than the average brand.” Fair enough.
“We really try to figure out, what are those universal moments that we all have related to going to the bathroom, and how can Charmin play into that to help people enjoy the go?” Ms. Elrod said.
There’s more than one way to sell toilet paper, apparently.