Charmin drives toilet-equipped vans to New Yorkers feeling the call of nature
- On June 21 and 22, P&G's Charmin brand is running a mobile on-demand bathroom service that brings a van equipped with clean, private bathrooms to New Yorkers experiencing a particular type of emergency, per a company press release.
- Called Van-GO, the initiative features "Black-ish" star Anthony Anderson, who is onboard to deliver some relevant bathroom humor and comic relief along the route.
- New Yorkers in need of a restroom can visit CharminVanGo.com to request the potty-equip Van-GO in select neighborhoods around the city.
With so much brand interaction happening online, it's becoming more interesting to see how major marketers leverage real-world or traditional advertising channels like out-of-home to promote their products. In Charmin's case, the approach is cheeky and fun, bolstered by a celebrity like Anderson, but also places a highly visible and branded vehicle around what the release described as "some of NYC's busiest neighborhoods." Of course, the Van-GO also ties directly into Charmin's line of products including toilet paper.
P&G, Charmin's parent company, has recently expressed frustration with digital advertising on the whole and suggested it's walking back budgets to more traditional channels. The company's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has continued to hammer home the idea that digital's media supply chain is a mess that needs to be cleaned up, and the CPG giant plans to erase $2 billion in marketing spend over the next five years along with recommitting to TV ads. Whether more out-of-home efforts like the Van-GO are also part of that strategy re-alignment is unclear.
The Charmin promotion is fairly limited, running just two days in one city, but is smart to tie the van service to online ordering. Out-of-home has traditionally been most closely connected to static placements like billboards, but the advancement of technology and especially mobile phones has made digital integrations more intuitive, expanding marketing possibilities.