Are you a Folder or a Scruncher?

By Marco Marsan of Marco Polo Explorers 30 August 2019

Do you remember who taught you how to ride a bike or tie your shoes? You probably do. But do you recall who taught you to wipe yourself with toilet paper? And how did they teach you? And was it RIGHT?

Of course you don’t remember, unless you were in diapers until you were 10.

But wiping our butt is something we will all do tens of thousands of times in our life, and like many behaviors, it is something we have programmed into our routine and we do not need to speak about it (until the day comes when we need to teach someone else how to do it).

But be aware – marketers are talking about it. We want to know how much toilet paper you use. Do you think clean is a better quality to have in TP than softness? How exactly are you wiping, and how many times do you go in to get the job done? And, of course, do you fold your paper or do you scrunch it?

To give some real life context – we worked with Kimberly Clark on toilet paper innovation several years ago. They had the foresight and intuition to go after the CLEAN positioning while other brands were chasing softness. To go down this road, one of the practical applications (pun intended) of toilet paper that we had to figure out was whether consumers folded their TP or they scrunched it. That would determine if they cared about clean or soft, to some degree, and which they preferred to buy.

Do you know if you are a folder or a scruncher? Try asking your colleague or best friend, I dare you.

The truth is, it’s a fun debate to have, but impossible to test. We tried smearing peanut butter on a surface and asking consumers to wipe it off, but they had a good angle and could see what they were doing, unlike the regular bathroom experience. The easy move would have been to make assumptions, considering the behavior is something we all do. But you can’t assume that you know what happens behind closed doors, and with a behavior at such a low level of communication/discussion, you have to do the research.

What are some other categories like this one? Are there opportunities out there if we can get people talking about their behaviors in the category?

And because this is an ongoing debate, I ask that you please contribute to the discussion: Are you a folder or a scruncher?

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