Sit or Squat? Charmin Washroom App Review

Did you ever wish you knew whether or not a washroom was clean before you went in? Or where there was a clean washroom when you were on the move? Have you ever let someone know what you really thought of a restroom without having to talk to someone about it? Well, there’s an app for that!

As promised, I’m going to talk about one of Charmin’s brilliant marketing plans to help consumers “enjoy the go” just a little more. In 2009, Charmin came out with an app called SitOrSquat where customers were able to search for restrooms near their location and see if they were clean enough to “sit" (indicated by a green toilet paper roll icon), or required you to “squat” because they were dirty (red toilet paper roll icon).

I downloaded the app onto my phone to test it out. You can filter the features to filter searches by ‘Baby Changing Tables’, ‘For free’ (for places in Europe), ‘Handicap Accessible’, and ‘Sits Only’. I looked up London, England for fun just and the app worked! According to the article listed below, apparently about “55,000 toilets across 32 different countries have been rated”.*

The only thing I didn’t like about app was that I had to create a log-in account (because I wasn’t going to log-in with my Facebook or Twitter account; I wouldn’t want a “Congratulations! Carolyn Truong just downloaded SitOrSquat” *insert picture of smiling bear with toilet paper* on my profile for all my friends to see). The idea however is really great for customer engagement, and using customers to do your work for you. I’m sure some facilities were unhappy to see that they’d been categorized to the squat list, but hopefully they're willing to address an area that could be improved.  

According to Jacques Hagopian, Brand Manager for Charmin, their “goal is to connect Charmin with innovative conversations and solutions as a brand that understands the importance of bringing the best bathroom experience to consumers, even when they’re away from home. Helping people find a bathroom that is clean and comfortable is exactly what the SitOrSquat project is all about.”**

One of my favourite books on what makes ideas memorable is Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath. The book goes over six “stickiness principles” (in the mind, and hopefully not the behind haha) on what makes an idea memorable. The principles are ones that are:

·         Simple

·         Unexpected

·         Concrete (can be described or detected by the human senses)

·         Credible

·         Emotional (making people care)

·         Stories

And here’s how Sit or Squat measures up:

·         Simple: Green = good enough to sit on, red = stop because you’ll have to squat

·         Unexpected: who would’ve thought there’d be an app to find clean washrooms?

·         Concrete: You have most likely experienced a dirty bathroom experience yourself and as a result can relate

·         Credible: Charmin is a recognized brand

·         Emotional: "Looking for a restaurant is a luxury, but looking for a restroom is a necessity," Mr. Glanz said

·         Credible: the concept is easy enough for people to pass along the story.

As you can see, the Sit or Squat app is a fantastic example of great customer service and promoting further brand awareness. My only question is whether places have the ability to ‘clean-up’ their rating!



*** Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

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Carolyn Truong