Tris3ct’s creative handling of toilet tissue

Scene from Tris3ct/Chicago “Naked” spot

IN THE REALM of advertising, few categories are more challenging — or intriguing —  than that of plain old toilet paper.

Yes, everyone’s gotta have it. And it is — truth be told — a delicate issue for a lot of people. And the delicacy of toilet paper — or its softness, to be more precise — is certainly an important aspect when it comes to deciding what brand folks will pop in their grocery baskets.

Which brings us to Tris3ct/Chicago and its work for Cottonelle toilet tissue.  As ad agencies go, Tris3ct is still a young shop in the Chicago market. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t chosen to step up and show what it can do in a difficult category like toilet paper.

And the agency is showing it can indeed be creative and entertaining (no small point) with a product that is far from glamorous or easy to make interesting.

Take the shop’s newest campaign for Cottonelle that takes viewers to “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” a fictional town (think “Peyton Place” but with different issues), as well as a phrase no doubt familiar to millions of us.

Here the line is used to brand the campaign and introduce viewers to a place where the sun apparently does not ever shine. But the residents sure know a thing or two about their toilet paper — to say nothing of holding their Cottonelle in the highest esteem.

And they’re vocal about it!

Which brings us to the key line in the debut commercial for the new campaign: “Respect the roll.”  Sort of rolls off the tongue with greatest of ease, doesn’t it?

But in this instance, the line — and the spot itself called “Naked”  — urge viewers to show their utmost respect not only for the roll of Cottonelle hanging on the wall in the bathroom, but, in a somewhat surprise twist, for that extra roll many families keep nearby.

And how to show that respect?

Well, Tris3ct does a remarkably good job of setting up the answer in a vignette about a middle-aged man who has invited two very opinionated friends over for dinner — one male and one female.  When the shocked female guest returns from the bathroom, she bluntly asks her host “What’s up with your naked toilet paper?”

The host, understandably, is a bit aghast, but the two guests make clear they find the situation unacceptable.

“It’s primitive, man,” says the male guest.  At which point, the female guest just happens to produce — on the spot, so to speak — the perfect solution to the naked second roll of toilet paper dilemma — a decorated canister to hold that extra roll of Cottonelle. 

“Toilet paper that nice deserves respect,” says the female guest. “Respect the roll,” adds the male guest, even more emphatically.

Point made.

Of course, if one stops too long to ponder the scenario here, it all does seem a bit preposterous.  But the Tris3ct team — in this and other commercials we have seen from the shop — display a deft hand that makes the ridiculous somehow seem amazingly plausible.  “Naked” also benefits from fine casting and direction by Reny Maslow and effective copywriting from Cassidy Fletcher.

To round out the Cottonelle campaign, Tris3ct has established a Web site with the appropriate address, where one can sign up for — what else?! — a “free with purchase” toilet paper canister.  So go get ‘em!


WE’RE NOT SURE it’s quite so rosy an age as Euro RSCG Worldwide would have us believe, but we can’t argue with a point the agency is pushing at the moment, namely that big ideas can transform companies and brands.  If only, if only we had more of those so-called big ideas on the table now.

But we digress. 

To celebrate the theme of the big idea, Euro RSCG has just published a new book with the title “The Creative Business Idea Book: Ten Years of Breakthrough Thinking.” 

Yes, it’s a mouthful, but the book seeks to demonstrate the impact of creativity on companies around the world and thereby inspire today’s crop of creative advertising professionals to ever-greater achievements.

Here’s hoping, right?

The book includes ad campaigns from companies ranging from McDonald’s (“Come as You Are”) to Evian (“Live Young”) and Air France (“Making the Sky the Best Place on Earth”).  The tome also includes commentary from various Euro RSCG executives around the world on topics such as  effective viral campaigns, the new face of luxury and the ad business’s digital future.  

“The Creative Business Idea Book” is available through  We will review the book in a future column.


THIS SUMMER the Chicago Loop Alliance and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago are joining forces to promote good deeds. Toward that end, the two organizations have come together to create a public service television spot on the theme of good deeds. 

The TV spot is tied to Art Loop 2011, a public art initiative that features a six-story art installation by contemporary artist Kay Rosen on a building wall at the corner of Washington and State streets in the Loop. The eye-catching installation reinforces the theme of good deeds with the words “Go Do Good.”

The new PSA, created by Julee White of Testarossa Entertainment and edited by the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, showcases a number of famous faces in Chicago, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ozzie Guillen, Mancow Muller and Billy Dec, among others. 

All are seen encouraging the city’s residents to do good.

Contact Lewis Lazare at