Here's a challenge. Figure out a sparkling marketing plan to sell a bathroom cleaner with bleach. Clorox resorted to potty humor.
In a great piece on Ragan.com, Michael Sebastian describes how Clorox used "comic relief to entertain moms during their 'potty breaks.'"
Toilets are places people often desperately need, but cannot wait to escape after flushing away their day's toils and troubles.
To combat this banal reality, the folks at Clorox Toilet Products created The Clorox Lounge, a social media hub that Sebastian says featured contests, giveaways and coupons, as well as dispensing, literally, some potty humor. There were 10,000 registered lounge members, he noted.
In a bit called Last Comic Sitting, mom and dad comedians squared off with their best bathroom zingers. Viewers voted for the best tasteless jokes, culminating, Sebastian said, in a live comedy event hosted by Sherri Shepherd, who is co-host of "The View."
Another gambit was called Ode to the Commode, a reworked Facebook page that featured humorous (though hopefully not scandalous) pictures sent in my Clorox users, infographics on potty-related topics such as the Toilets of Government and ongoing conversations about subjects such as the pros and cons of toilet seat covers. Sebastian said Ode to Commode drew 200,000 likes.
There also were a series of contests, including Games for Thrones, which awarded one winner, Sebastian said, a $10,000 makeover, presumably for themselves, not their bathroom. Another contestant, he added, won $10,000 for her toilet confession.
Along the way, The Clorox Lounge tossed in discussions on the tips and tricks of cleaning a toilet, which most likely included exchanges on how to get in and get out as quickly as possible. There also were discussions about bathroom disasters.
The idea was inspired by the statistic that 75 percent of Americans use mobile devices while sitting on the potty. Women, who often are the potty cleaners and the buyers of potty cleansers, spend time on the commode, too, and the escapism of The Clorox Lounge was aimed at them to, as it were, lighten their load.
PR Daily recognized the campaign, Clorox and its three communications company elves with its Best Social Media Campaign award for 2012.
What the Clorox example shows is that you can peddle anything with a little humor that resonates with your target audience. Nobody likes to clean toilets. Finding the good humor in an icky task is a way to make an authentic connection and build positive brand awareness.
All you need to know is that everybody goes to the bathroom.
[Unfortunately The Clorox Lounge is "closed for cleaning," but you can go to the Clorox Facebook page for "more games, giggles and chances to win." The page has more than 700,000 likes.]