Tork - The Paper Towel Plea

When was the last time that you had to think about being able to wash your hands in a public or workplace bathroom? Have you ever? 

Almost 1 in 3 Americans face this issue regularly, either personally or when assisting others. Physical and muscular limitations, skin and noise sensitivities, or other conditions (e.g. age, physical capabilities, cognitive and neurodivergence) can make this simple act anything but simple. Beyond hygiene concerns, sufferers can feel anxious and excluded from public environments, leading to social isolation. 

To make these spaces welcoming for everyone, Tork set out to educate businesses on the importance of bathroom inclusivity, showing them how simple changes can make their business more inclusive, and positively impact the lives of millions of employees, customers and guests alike. 

So how does a little-known brand use a limited budget to engage a hard-to-reach audience on an issue they've likely never thought about?

The Paper Towel Plea takes personal experiences of people facing difficulties using public bathrooms, captured in their own handwriting, and prints them directly onto Tork paper towels. 

Placed into dispensers inside select bathrooms, our own hand towels were transformed into a unique and high-impact media channel. And our message was able to be delivered into the hands of selective audiences, at the very place these barriers occur, making it highly impactful and contextually relevant.


But these hand towels didn't just contain powerful personal stories, they included a call to action and a QR code which led people to an online experience with information on actions they could take to improve hand hygiene inclusivity in their businesses’ own bathrooms.


The Paper Towel Plea put the heart of the issue right in the hands of those who could change it, at the very place the issue occurs.

To maximise impact at launch we identified people most capable of making a real difference to restroom inclusivity - business leaders (the bigger, the better). 

But reaching them is easier said than done. With limited budget we couldn’t rely on paid media to reach this small but highly sought-after group. Instead of chasing after them, we focused on finding a way they’d come to us. After all, everyone needs to use the bathroom, right? 

The bathrooms at Responsible Business USA - a 2-day Reuters event in NYC - would attract a significant number of senior executives from America’s largest organisations. Showing up here would get our message into the hands of a hard-to-reach audience with the ability to improve bathroom inclusivity across America’s biggest businesses. 

This group not only represented top corporations and millions of employees, but they’d be especially receptive to our message given their interest in corporate responsibility. 


The Paper Towel Plea

The Paper Towel Plea is an innovative new campaign that addresses the invisible barriers faced in workplace and public restrooms. Hand-written stories highlighting real-life challenges have been printed on Tork paper towels, creating a brand new form of media.

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