Friday, 19 January, 2001

Toilet Paper 'New and Improved?'

A friend at work pointed me to this article at MSNBC about Kimberly-Clark's plans to roll out a new type of toilet paper:  moistened tissues in a roll.  Basically, it's baby wipes on a roll, except that the fibers break down in water.  Innovation outside the computer industry.  What a concept.  They're going to spend $40 million marketing it, and imagine $150 million in annual sales the first year, increasing to $500 million within six years.  That's a lot of wipes.  I don't know what this stuff will cost, but you can bet it'll be quite a bit more than your standard 2-ply tissue.

What's so interesting about moistened toilet paper on a roll?  In itself, not all that much.  The product isn't even all that innovative—they've been selling a similar product in a tub for several years.  What struck me is that toilet paper is one of those things I figured had been "done."  I never really thought, nor met anybody else who'd thought, about "improving" the product.  (Excepting the "three seashells" in the movie Demolition Man.  I still wonder how you're supposed to use those.)  I wonder what other common household items that I've considered "done" will be changed.