Toilet paper is a consumer brand that has been around for over 100 years. The basic product proposition has evolved very little, and the marketing is a tricky issue. You can’t really depict the product in use, or even go into detail on its performance!
Luckily, marketing often works best when it ignores those issues and uses metaphors to talk to people. By the 1920s, the Scott company had a mascot called Mr Thirsty Fibre. As you can see, he’s a fighter, (tough) but made of loops of paper (soft!).
Fast forward about 90 years and the basics of TP marketing are basically the same. You’re selling the idea of softness and strength. But the metaphor chosen is different. It’s a puppy.
Keen students of this evolving science were the “Mad Men” – advertising executives. And so it was that advertising gave up on lengthy texts:
Puppies are softer than a full-grown dog but still strong. They are not scratchy like a kitten might be – in fact puppies may be the perfect TP metaphor.
While Kleenex chooses a cute yellow puppy, Purex goes for a brown, wrinkly one. Are they trying to convey what I think they’re trying to convey? Best to not think about that too much.
But the toilet paper market stands on the brink of a revolution. Kleenex are trying their best to break the habits of a century and sell us a new product, called Flushable Cleaning Cloths
This is basically moist towelettes for the bathroom. But they’ve given up on metaphor. The marketing message is wordy and long.
If they are keen to convey the need for water to really clean, they needs to use something that is wet and clean as a metaphor. If they don’t want to leave the animal kingdom, I might suggest a dolphin.
Aren’t dolphins more or less the puppy of the sea?
Another thing that seems synonymous with being clean and wet might be a car.
In fact, sn advertising campaign where a smirking guy drives around in a just-washed car while everyone else drives around in a car they’ve tried to wipe with paper might be exactly the marketing message that Kleenex needs.