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P&G Backs Public Toilet Database Site, App

Sit or Squat-Charmin Anyone who has traveled to, say, Calcutta or been forced to use that horrific Texaco station bathroom in Bay St. Louis, Miss., may want to get off Twitter for a second and focus: Charmin--Procter & Gamble's leading toilet tissue brand--is backing a Web site, appropriately named Squat, as in: "If any part of my skin touches this commode, I will cut it off with a paring knife."

The Web site is designed to help travelers find the cleanest public restrooms wherever they happen to be on Earth, although one suspects that Norfolk Island or the Weddell Sea may not be listed.

"Our 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," says Jacques Hagopian, brand manager for Charmin.



The SitOrSquat mobile app for iPhone and BlackBerry is essentially a Wiki for recording and accessing bathroom information globally on bathrooms, changing tables, handicapped access and other amenities. According to Charmin, SitOrSquat has over 52,000 toilets in 10 countries worldwide. Since the SitOrSquat service launched, more than 1,600 users have downloaded the application and the SitOrSquat has over 500,000 unique visitors to date.

The program aligns with what Charmin has been doing for years: focusing grassroots efforts on the aesthetics of elimination. The company has set up restrooms at events like state fairs, has had annual Charmin Restrooms for the past three years in New York's Times Square and toured the country from 2003 to 2005 with "Potty Palooza," a bathroom on wheels.

The SitOrSquat site started as a blog by a New York City woman and is evidently now the largest--perhaps the only--toilet database and locating service "with applications spanning nearly every mobile platform with more to come." Also, per P&G, it's ideal for people with infants, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, "or any other situation requiring immediate access to bathrooms." Travelers know that the "situations" list increases with the distance from one's own refrigerator.

"We obviously have branding on their Web site and some branding consumers download the app to their iPhone," says a P&G rep. "We don't have similar arrangements with other Web sites, but when we saw this come up, we jumped; it makes sense for us since we have been in this space of offering clean, accessible restrooms at fairs and other places for years now. So, this was a natural fit for the brand."

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