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P&G Charms N.Y. Visitors, Residents With Restrooms

Charmin restroomsThe Charmin Restrooms are back. For the third year, Procter & Gamble is promoting the toilet-tissue brand with a grassroots effort that offers what New York desperately needs, if only in Times Square and only for a brief period: clean public restrooms.

The loos, in Times Square between 45th and 46th streets, were launched with an official first flush Monday by former N'Sync singer Joey Fatone, who serves as Charmin's "King of the Throne."

The company's "Charmin Restrooms" will comprise facilities on two floors. The first floor is for taking care of business, and the second is for recharging digital devices and relaxing.

Procter & Gamble says the 20 luxury bathroom stalls, served by attendants, have a winter wonderland forest theme. There are also baby-changing stations, flat-screen televisions, a Charmin retail boutique, and a "family photo area" with a printing station, assuming that tourists want that rare bathroom shot.



Another P&G brand, Duracell, sponsors the second-floor Duracell Power Lodge, where one can recharge cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPods, MP3 players, digital cameras and the like. Visitors can also play with a Nintendo Wii and toys from Mattel.

The restrooms are open every day, all day on Thanksgiving and until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, but are closed Christmas Day. The restrooms will also be open on New Year's Eve until the wee hours, so to speak.

A company spokesperson said the project has brought in around 400,000 visitors in each of the previous two years, but garnered a far larger level of exposure through PR, media coverage and word of mouth. "A significant number of visitors are tourists, so obviously there's a lot of buzz. From a PR standpoint, it's been very successful."

The "Charmin Restrooms" program, as well as a national road-show "Charmin's Plush Potties for the People," both evolved from a 28-city "Charmin Ultra Potty Palooza" plush porta potty trucks in 2003, which visited state fairs and the like in 28 markets.

This year's "Potties for the People" program visited major markets including Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, and had a social-activism element with a petition demanding better public facilities. Signatories were entered into a sweepstakes offering a year's worth of Charmin tissue.

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