Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pimped Out John: Roto-Rooter's Fresh Idea

What do you do with your product when it's been around forever?What do you do when your product meets a need that while definitely necessary isn't all that fun and exciting (and the details of which are quasi-unmentionable? What do you do when everybody's heard of you, but that half of them know you by the tired jingle that ran for years on TV? What do you do when you want to appeal to a younger demographic?

If you're Roto-Rooter, you come up with a fresh idea.

There's takes advantage of shows like Pimp My Ride  and - though not explicitly - of trends like the movement towards "man caves" (set-aside places in the house where there's nothing chintz, flouncy, pink, flowered, or white-winey, and where a guy can be a guy) and you have the Pimped Out John Sweepstakes.

Announced, appropriately enough, on the anniversary of the death of Thomas Crapper, an inventor credited with a number of the elements that made indoor plumbing feasible, the Pimped Out John contest has it's grand prize, a fitted out toilet that electronic junkies in particular will flip their lid for.

Among the fixtures:

  • Xbox
  • DVD player
  • Laptop computer ("with fully articulated robot arm")
  • iPod (with stereo docking station equipped with toilet paper dispenser)
  • Tivo recorder
  • Bike pedal exerciser

For toilet traditionalists, there's a magazine rack (plus subscriptions to Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and GQ - the latter of which seems like quite a peculiar choice).

But wait, there's more....

As if all of this "stuff" wasn't enough, there's also a stocked fridge (drinks and snacks) with a beer tap, and a cup warmer/cooler. So you'll never have to leave. (Here's where I really draw the line - eating and drinking while taking care of business.  Waste not, want not? Garbage in, garbage out?  Way too much of a straight line connection here for me.

This is one part of the prize that I think they could easily have eliminated.

The flourishing touch is an emergency call button that summon's up Roto-Rooter, just in case something happens - presumably to the plumbing and not to the electronics or the Internet connection.

All and all a fun way to work with an old, unglamorous brand and attract some attention.

It sure beats, "Call Roto-Rooter, that's the name. And away go troubles, down the drain. Roto-Rooter. Sewer service. Roto-Rooter. Sewer service." That's their old jingle which, since seeing the article on this sweepstakes I can't get out of my head.)

You can enter the contest (up until April 2 - drawing's later in the month) - by going to the Roto-Rooter site. I'm debating entering. I wouldn't mind winning the stuff, but I sure wouldn't use any of it in my bathroom.


Thanks to my sister, Trish, who saw an article on this in The Boston Globe.


Cahill said...

A classic case of missing the entire point. They pimp out the toilet, but make no mention of fixing it's basic functionality: getting stuff down the drain without having to call Rotorooter.

Low flow toilets: increasing the problem they were designed to solve. Now toilets use 1/2 the water they used to, but take 4 flushes per use to accomplish the goal. So they basically double water consumption.

Mary Schmidt said...

Firstly, let me just say "ew-yewwww!"

Secondly, I've got low flow toilets and they work fine - just what do you guy do???? (ew-yewwww #2)

Thirdly, what IS this male fascination with toilet time? Just how much time do guys want to spend in there anyway? (ew-yewwww #3)

Seriously, it is amazing what lengths companies will go to. I'd love to see the - um - volume projections on sales. ;-)

Ann Handley said...

Channeling blogger Greg Verdino here, who said it best: "At least they aren't soliciting user-generated content."

(Now THAT is an ewwwwww!!!!!)

Cahill said...

OMG! Too funny.

For the record, one of my low flows works right every time. The other doesn't. It may become a garden planter over the weekend if I can find the time.

Anonymous said...

where could i get one of these?