Toilet Paper Advertising Hits New Low: Bad Marketing

I’m here to discuss something not very polite.

Toilet-paper advertising.

An example of a company that does it right is Charmin. They hold a contest every year in which they invite women to create a wedding dress out of TP, and it has been a huge success for them. It’s clever and creative, and an example of smart marketing.

Not such a good idea is what I want to discuss in this blog post.

Another toilet-paper company is urging people to “Go Commando.”


Yes. They want you to feel so fresh after using their toilet paper that they dare you to go without underpants. And even, on Facebook, dare your friends to do the same. Can you believe it?

Gross. If I got an invite like that on Facebook, I would be completely grossed out and disgusted. Who are you supposed to invite, to forego their underwear? Your Mom? How about your aunt, or your financial planner or dentist? Or the guy who makes pizza deliveries? This is INAPPROPRIATE all the way around, any way you slice it. I say this as a normal every day person, and also as a marketing expert and marketing author of a best-selling book on wacky marketing: Off The Wall Marketing Ideas.

I wouldn’t invite people to do this in polite company — never mind on the internet, where it’s viewed by millions of people.

Do we really want to live in a society where people don’t wear underwear? It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer goes without, and reminds Jerry that the only thing between the two of them was “a thin layer of gabardine” in his trousers.


Years ago, I remember a photo of Demi Moore, wearing a mini dress – and no underwear. And who can forget Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct?

Stupid, bad marketing. Put a lid on it, would ya please?

Get Married At Denny’s – With A Side Order of Syrup

Well folks, now I’ve heard of everything.
As a Boston communications consultant, and a business author of Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, I really shouldn’t be surprised when I hear about the newest and craziest PR campaigns that companies dream up. And the newest one, from Denny’s in Las Vegas – is a doozy, tailor-made for lovebirds and even a few loony birds. This is what I call wacky marketing.
The Las Vegas Denny’s, on Fremont Street, near the Mob Museum, has its own wedding chapel. Apparently, previously, so many couples have married in the diner, for various reasons – it was where they met, or they both happened to work together at a Denny’s — that management realized that they should have a more formal venue.
Here’s where couples can order a Pancake Puppie Wedding Cake, and a Grand Slamosa cocktail toast so they can celebrate their nuptials.
A couple from Iowa — passionate Denny’s fans – were chosen by Danny’s marketing executives to enjoy the chapel’s first wedding ceremony earlier in April, 2013. Said the couple – pardon me while I roll my eyes – “When we reflected on all of our memories made at Denny’s, we knew that getting married there over a plate of pancakes would be our best memory yet.”
If you want to say your “I Do’s”, just fork over $95. That price also includes “Just Married” T-shirts and a Pancake Puppies wedding cake. I can only speculate how many happy couples will take advantage of the “Baconalia” and order the Maple Bacon Milkshake weighing in at 1,150 calories and a whopping 61 grams of fat.

Why A Duck? Aflac Uses Smart Marketing

The Marx Brothers would probably approve.

In the year 2000 the Aflac insurance company decided to make themselves more visible to the world, and to differentiate themselves in the sea of competition. After all, insurance companies are pretty much all alike, aren’t they?
And they’re pretty boring, when you think about it, even though the subject matter is important. In fact, there’s a joke here in my house, all about insurance. My husband Bill, a personal-injury attorney, knows all about insurance, because he used to be the media spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. He knows about insurance from A to Z, and it’s quite impressive. The subject of insurance, however, tends to be a snore. So when I can’t get to sleep, I will frequently chuckle and beg Bill, “Please tell me about insurance.” Before you know it, the subject puts me in deep slumber.

So, insurance companies have their work cut out for them, as they try to make themselves stand out. Some companies have been very creative and very successful. You’ve got Flo, the Progressive Insurance girl, who is extraordinarily popular and even has her own Flo Facebook page, along with bobble-headed Flo dolls and T-shirts. And of course, there’s Geico Auto Insurance and the British-speaking gecko who is also highly recognizeable.

Aflac, which handles health and life insurance, had oceans of options – and they chose the duck, which is the very definition of wacky marketing. But today, apparently nine out of 10 people know about Aflac thanks to its quacking duck. It’s a very important reminder to all of us, small and big businesses alike, about how important brand marketing is. As a brand marketing expert, and a marketing consultant for small business, I know all about it. Small companies should take their cue from the big companies, and develop and mastermind their own “golden arches.” There’s no reason a small company can’t have its own signature tag line, spokesperson and corporate logo.

Apparently Japan comprises three-quarters of Aflac’s earnings. Aflac had to respond after the country was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. And along with that, they had to respond after their professional duck spokesperson, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, made jokes about Japan’s earthquake on Twitter. He was promptly fired and guess what? Their decision generated good publicity, and more than 11,000 eager applicants tried to become the new voice of the duck. That fact speaks for itself, about how successful the duck marketing has been.

Aflac’s website even has a duck store. A young cancer patient named Monica designed the 2012 holiday duck. And when you buy a holiday duck, your donation is targeted to a participating pediatric cancer hospital near you. That’s a great example of Aflac’s civic marketing as well.

Want Fame? Market Yourself Like A Celebrity.

Need a good publicity stunt? Want to be treated like a celebrity? Maybe all you need to do is act just like a celebrity if you want to get the celebrity VIP treatment. It’s an off the wall marketing idea, but one that really works.

Brett Cohen, a 21-year old student at the State University of New York at NewPaltz, put that theory to the test on July 27, 2012, in New York City, right outside NBC’s Rockefeller Center Studios, and got some surprising results, which say a lot about our culture. Namely, that the cult of celebrity and fame drive our society, and drive our society wild with desire.

Here’s what Mr. Cohen did. He dressed in sharp clothes, got his hair done, wore sunglasses, and strolled out of the NBC Studios at 49th Street. He was greeted by “bodyguards” and “assistants” who he had hired to be his entourage. He also had hired photographers who pretended to be paparazzi. A crowd amassed, informed by the hired “assistants” and “paparazzi” that a “big star” was about to come out of the TV studios — but onlookers were never told who Mr. Cohen really was. That he wasn’t a celebrity, but was just a “poseur.”

People flocked to him in droves.

Said Cohen to The New York Daily News, “The idea was, ‘I bet if we walked through with bodyguards and photographers, people would go nuts.'” “And that’s exactly what happened.”

Crowds grew as Mr. Cohen continued on to Times Square, accompanied by his entourage; by the time the whole escapade was over, he had taken almost 300 photos with the onlookers.

What did it all prove? That people just love a celebrity — even if they don’t know or understand why he’s famous.

He added — “I got a taste of fame, and it was good, but it’s not something I would want as part of my everyday life.”

He also landed an interview on the TODAY Show.

As a Boston marketing consultant, I believe that his publicity stunt was an innovative idea, an off-the-wall marketing idea — and certainly one that someone — with a product or service to sell — could implement.

Marketing String Cheese As Crayons is New Pitch To Children

Think you’ve heard it all, when it comes to food marketing to children? Well, sit tight and hold onto your coloring books. Kraft Foods is now marketing and promoting, to kids, string cheese that looks just like Crayola crayons. Kraft has joined forces with the crayon manufacturer, for an in-store promotion that runs through October of 2012. The colorful cheese is known as Kraft String Cheese west of Pittsburgh, and is marketed as Polly-O String Cheese east of Pittsburgh.

The outer package resembles a box of Crayola crayons. Each individual piece of cheese is perfectly packaged to look like a crayon in one of six traditional Crayola colors. The package also includes a $3 coupon for Crayola Crayons and includes a link to printable, web activities pages that are designed to inspire the creativity of young cheese lovers – and crayon lovers — everywhere. But, I ask this as a marketing expert who loves off the wall marketing strategies and wacky marketing– it begs the question – won’t young children be confused? Won’t they see a box of crayons and munch away on them, thinking that these arts-and-crafts supplies are in fact string cheese?

Marlene Sawhney, the associate brand manager, Cheese Marketing, at Kraft, says that the promotion targets “a mom of 6- to 12-year-old children who raises them to become well-rounded adults. Crayola focuses on unleashing a kid’s creativity for them to grow up and inspire the world. Since Kraft and Polly-O String Cheese are wholesome snacks that kids love, mom feels that it helps them teach their children how to make smart decisions.”

Critics of this kind of marketing to children may find this marketing campaign to be confusing and damaging to children of all ages. In response to any criticism, Kraft explains, “Consumers love the packaging, especially the individual crayons, as well as the activity pages that are offered online.”

Publicity Stunts Put Pizzazz In Marketing

Here’s today’s marketing tip from a prolific Boston-based marketing consultant and publicist. Every business should carefully consider staging a publicity stunt for their business. It can work wonders! Some incredibly successful publicity stunts include the three-year search and casting for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in the movie Gone With the Wind, and even the creation of the Academy Awards in 1928. One of my favorite publicity stunts was when the furniture store Ikea put 30 bookcases filled with books, on the sands of Bondi Beach in Australia, to promote literacy in that country. Here are some tips. First of all, get permission for whatever you’re planning. Be bold and try to think out of the box. (Bear in mind, I’m the author of the bestseller OFF THE WALL MARKETING IDEAS.) Remember to build anticipation beforehand, to get the public whipped up into excitement about your event. And make sure to write a press release about it, which you can distribute to the media after the event. You might just wind up with an Oprah moment on your hands, when she handed out Pontiac cars to her audience. Publicity stunts might be the marketing strategy your company is aching for. I’m a Boston-based marketing consultant for plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, hair salons and skincare salons, so I know what I’m talking about. Call me at (781) 407-9305 for a free consultation.

A "Meshuganah Marketing" Success Story

I co-authored the bestselling book OFF THE WALL MARKETING IDEAS, so that makes me an expert on Marketing and Public Relations. I’m also a plastic surgery marketing consultant and publicist, and a cosmetic dentistry marketing consultant and publicist, although you name it, I can usually market it. I love wacky, crazy, offbeat, off the wall marketing techniques, which I call “Meshuganah Marketing,” based on the Yiddish word for “crazy.” July is National Ice Cream Month, and it reminds me of a successful marketing promotion that a friend of mine used years ago. He was seeking an interview at a major company, but one that was going through a hostile takeover, and the events made headlines every day in the newspapers. My friend needed a way to attract attention to himself by this business. So he went to the supermarket and bought a half-gallon of Rocky Road Ice Cream. He send it to the corporation, with a big note attached that read: “I know you’re on a rocky road in your business. But I can help you with all that.” My friend got a phone call the day after the package was received. Why don’t you find a fantastic flavor, send it to a company, and tell them that you’re anything but plain vanilla? Then get ready for the phone to ring. For more fabulous marketing and PR tips like this, check out my blog at Maxima Marketing.

How Recent Graduates Can Market Themselves

As a publicist and marketing expert for plastic surgeons and cosmetic dentists, I know the value of making yourself and your business visible. Are you a recent graduate? You may need some marketing tips and marketing strategies to get that foot in the door. In fact, speaking of that, I heard about a job candidate who actually sent a pair of shoes to Human Resources at the company he hoped to work at, with the message, “I so want a foot in the door here I sent you my shoes.” Similarly, when I was researching my bestselling book, OFF THE WALL MARKETING IDEAS, I heard about another job candidate, who basically did the same thing, only he sent an inexpensive chair he bought at a yard sale, with the message, “I so want a job interview here, I brought my own chair.” You can’t do these things on, but once you get the interview, I strongly suggest you get creative. Like the gal who wanted a job at Levi-Strauss, and wrote her resume on a piece of denim. She got the job. If you need a marketing copywriter, publicist, or marketing expert, check out my website at Maxima Marketing. My blog is also a wealth of marketing ideas, tips and strategies that are wacky, traditional, and creative. I have never met a “Meshuganah Marketing” tactic I didn’t love!


As an expert marketer and marketing copywriter, I know a good example of branding when I see it. Whether you’re writing newsletters, ads or press releases, or making a TV appearance, it’s smart to establish your brand.

Just like big businesses, you should brand yourself, no matter what your business, to make yourself memorable. And no one does it better than Louie di Raimondo, who calls himself, “America’s Hot Dog King.” Mr. Raimondo has made a name for himself by selling hot dogs out of a cart. But what is most intriguing is that most people have asked him where they can buy a cart like his — and not just the hot dogs. Mr. Raimondo has a flair for promotion, and he dons a red royal robe, crown and scepter, when he has made appearances on CNN and The Today Show, and in several commercials and films. He says that the more he goes overboard, and more his sales increase. That’s Meshuganah Marketing that works. Check out his website at And don’t forget to get yourself a gimmick, no matter your business or brand. That’s good marketing. Check out my website for Maxima Marketing,my business.


Well, it was bound to happen. The marketing gimmicks, wacky marketing, and souvenirs that paid tribute to the death of Public Enemy Number One. No sooner was Osama Bin Laden pronounced dead, than marketers capitalized on his demise in order to make a buck, which brings us to today’s tip – make your marketing timely. Among the items for sale right now include the obvious Osama Bin Laden T-Shirts, as well as buttons that poke fun at Bin Laden’s burial at sea, with the message “Fish Food.” There are coffee mugs, caps, bumper stickers that ask the question “Who’s next?” and even T-shirts for dogs. You can find these memorabilia items on websites such as, and At these websites, entrepreneurs can bring their original ideas, and determine if they make the cut to be produced. So, if you’re seeking to market your product or service –pay attention to the news and make sure that time is on your side. I say this as a Boston-based marketing expert who specializes in marketing copywriting, publicity, and expert in plastic surgery marketing, cosmetic dentistry marketing, hair salon marketing, and skincare salon marketing. Check out my website for Maxima Marketing,my business.