I love New York City, but I’ve often thought that it’s a very atypical test market compared to the rest of America for the purposes of conducting marketing experiments. But I think this is a pretty good idea. From The New York Times:
From next Monday through Dec. 31, the Procter & Gamble Charmin brand will operate a public restroom in the heart of Times Square, amply stocked with Charmin Ultra, and complete with attendants who are assigned to clean up after each use.
“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.”
The 20-stall restroom will be at 1540 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets, in space formerly occupied by a bar, Bar Code. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (except for Christmas Day, when it will close at 6 p.m.). Two of the stalls will be accessible to people with disabilities, and baby changing stations will be available. There will also be a seating lounge, with its own photo-op: A six-foot stuffed Charmin bear, just waiting to have its picture taken with a visitor.
It is not on street level, but it will be hard to miss. Charmin representatives will be roaming the Times Square streets dressed as toilets, handing out fliers advertising the restroom’s location. Electronic billboards at local airports will announce it, too, and Charmin will prominently post the location on its Web site. Doris Roberts, Raymond’s mom on “Everyone Loves Raymond,” has agreed to do the ceremonial first flush on Monday.
I know I’ve always noted where the Barnes & Noble and Borders stores are when I’m in Manhattan, because of their public restrooms. Bergdorf’s men’s department also has nice restrooms.