Tissue in New York

Walking into Walgreens is like visiting a “living” Americana museum showing everything on US culture and way of life, like a state license plate or apple pie.

Just think that, in the famous photo of the sailor’s kiss to a nurse in Times Square to celebrate the end of WWII, it is a Walgreens store we see in the background! Yes, because in the USA,what were initially “pharmacies” become (part of) chain stores. And they are even quoted on the NASDAQ (sic).


Perini Journal

Well, calling them “pharmacies” is incredibly reductive and not very descriptive of the reality of a drugstore, direct descendants of the very first pioneer stores: besides medicines (including on-site medical consultancy, some equipped with drive-through so you don’t even need to get out of your car) you can also find fresh fruit, hyper-calorics oft drinks, motor oil, DVDs or 1-hour photo printing. And of course, toilet paper and kitchen towels.

The collection of packs that you can find in the isles dedicated to tissue products – in a Walgreens in New York, in this case – is surprising for variety of materials, dimensions and marketing mix: every demographic target can find its ideal product in terms of price, package appeal and message, promotional discounts (the beloved coupons) and type of paper.


The most daring choice made is certainly the one that concerns some unbranded packages of bathroom and kitchen rolls. The graphics recall the most typicalof New York sceneries, the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. And the outcome isperfectly coherent with the most iconic of commercial features: the bar code, the very es-sence of retailing, a product’s ID card, the universal library of every commercial expression of humanity, quintessence of the Western world (and hence of the United States). But these two packs do much more.

They look forfurther contact with the buyer,calling his/her attention with a joke, like a Late Show comedian.

The skyline, beckoning to uswith a friendly, Hollywood-styleHey, reminds usthat we forgot to clean one spot(good thing thisis a kitchen product!), taking up a traditional meme by which,while shaving (above all for a special occasion) it is impossible for any man not to miss one spot. (This is also known asthe “law of the groom”). The bridge, instead, states its mission to bring people from one side of New York to the other: from Midtown (the coolest area of Manhattan) to Flushing (in Queens, famous for the US Tennis Open); in reality, the joke is in the alternate “bathroom-ambiance” translation from Midtown toFlushing. And all with freely interpretable phrases like quilted towels, (inviting forher) or septic safe, (reassuring for him).

Like every aspirational brand (and in the USA there are some in everygoods sector, including, believe it or not, tissue paper), the Scott brand not only aspires to be the reference name for personal hygiene, but also asks the consumer for an added dose of trust as the new member of the family. Besides inviting peopleto Bring our family home to yours, the package lists the siblings of the1000-sheet-Roll: the young Flushable (Wipes), the perturbing Naturals and the baby Napkins.


Something special must surely be said for Viva branded products: the Viva Towels Community is a sort ofideal gang that bonds the disciples-consumers to their Tough when wet guru. From its Twitter account(@VIVATowels) advice is dispensed toover 1000 followers on how to use this marvel of the paper industry. First of all,correct use entails an attentive quantity of paper to be torn from the roll through frequent pre-cuts that make it easy to get the proper length of the sheet (they’ve called it the Choose-a-Size™ system and the package is trademarked).

A useful suggestion that the producer offers to his consumers in a moment of crisis.


And how can we forget, in tree-hugger country,about all those buyers sensitive to the ecoworld? Those who adore soft tones, stylized tree icons and the bicycle, the color green, the light italic style writing and the pretty balloons that reassure on the fact that this product is 100% tree free.

Everything is made from production waste coming from sugar cane and bamboo processing, and their use is considered eco-friendly because they are very fast-growing plants.


The last feature of these American packs is the need - almost the urgency - to communicate the quantity of paper that is being sold instead of the sheet count, grammage or weight, but rather in surface. Measuring for a better understanding.

Inside this package of 4 rolls having 1000 sheet count each, there are 38.1m² of paper, they tell us.That’s like saying we can cover the main bathroom in our home, with five layers one on top of the other. And there is still paper left over. •

  • Tissue in New York
  • Tissue in New York
  • Tissue in New York
  • Tissue in New York
  • Tissue in New York
  • Tissue in New York
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