Cottonelle Invites Us To Flush Away 2020, One Sheet At A Time

How fitting. In its #RefreshinglyCleanSlate sweepstakes, the makers of Cottonelle are inviting consumers to write “one thing from 2020 you want to leave behind” on a toilet paper square.

And even if you’re not particularly keen on the potty, punny humor behind the idea, this is the year you might want to lower your high standards -- and your pants.

“All you have to do is flush away something that should stay in 2020,” says a Cottonelle video explaining the sweepstakes, which will give $21,000 to 20 winners -- and a donation of $20.21 to United Way for every entry. (All you really have to do to enter is post your TP good-riddance wish to the @cottonelle Twitter or Instagram accounts. The sweepstakes rules also call for some mention of hopes for the new year.)

Mindful of the earlier toilet paper shortage, Ada Zavala, senior brand manager for Kimberly-Clark-owned Cottonelle, suggested entrants pare down their entry to make sure they don't start another short-out.



“We understand the need for our essential products in many communities and encourage interested participants to mindfully only use one square of toilet paper for their sweepstakes submission,” she emailed to Marketing Daily.

So far, perusing some of the entries, the things that people want to go down the toilet have been exactly what you might guess for a year in which the economy, education, jobs and seemingly everything has gone right down the... toilet.

The TP shortage crisis, is indeed, a metaphor for 2020 consumerism.

Many of the entries simply read “COVID-19,” but other laments reflect the pandemic's lingering effects: “Anger,” reads one. “The mindset that we have to always be strong,” reads another. “Bye-bye e-learning. (Mama is going crazy!)” says another. “Financial Insecurities And Debt” reads another.

Of course, “Social distancing” comes up a lot, as well as some other offshoots of this tumultuous year: “Extended deployments due to Covid restrictions and masks,” wrote a woman who, based on her Twitter bio, apparently  has a loved one who is in the Air Force. Another wrote that she’d had it with “This quarantining and shutdowns of small businesses,” She explained in the text, “My sister-in-law and friends own a small business and took a hit.”

Cottonelle has publicized the campaign via Conan O’Brien’s talk show on TBS, and through social media and earned media exposure.

Zavala said, “We know 2020 was challenging and many are looking to start the year fresh. As a result, we are pleased to have already seen several hundred Instagram and Twitter submissions since last week.”

Though the pandemic has been the major pain of the year, some toilet paper squares were devoted to other issues. “Racism” was something one entrant wants to leave behind. “Trump,” wrote another in stark black Magic Marker ink.

In addition to the sweepstakes and United Way contributions, Cottonelle also teamed up with the Pay Away The Layaway Foundation, which uses donations to pay off consumer layaway balances that include gifts for their children, such as games, toys, books, backpacks, clothes and coats.

Entries are being accepted through the end of this miserable year.

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