Big? Large? Double? TP packaging a load of sheets!

In The Marketing Microscope on February 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Next time you buy bath tissue, be careful – you might be getting rolled.

I am not one of those guys who is too lazy to put a new roll of “tp” on the holder. (I’m a pretty civilized bathroom user. At the risk of being kicked out of the “typical male” club, I’ll even admit, here and now, that I wash my hands.)  But I’d rather reload the roller less often, so I prefer larger rolls.  And in shopping for those, I’ve noticed that several  manufacturers have begun playing a game that forces the consumer who wants a goo deal to pay way more attention to the product than it deserves.

Quickie quiz: which do you think has more sheets on it – a “large” roll or a “big” roll? And how do those compare to “double” rolls? Truth is, you have to look for the sheet count to really tell.  And chances are, they’ve rolled out a few more choice adjectives for the custom sizes they sell to dollar stores, etc., to confuse you even more!

Does your mind really have space for a deep consideration of your choice among 12 double rolls at  6.99, 36 big rolls at $ 15.99,  9 large rolls at $8.99, or 16 “mega”  rolls at $14.99?  They’re hoping not. I’ m wondering if this is just  one more reason why so many people across the globe hate us – perhaps American industry could do something more important than change production lines and retool dies to provide us an unlimited variety of sheet-count options.

You might be saying “get a life” – and granted, it’s not a big, huge, or large issue. But I guess that all depends on where you stand – or sit – when you’re nearing the end of the roll!

Last second update – as I was completing this post, I saw an ad for a paper towel manufacturer introducing its new “HUGE” roll. As one of my favorite writers Dave Barry would say, “I am not making this up.”

  1. I always grab the Cashmere Double. I don’t care anymore how much it costs. I did a cost/benefit analysis ONE day (when I was no longer a student), and that’s that. Now that I think about it, I wonder why I chose and continue to choose the “Cashmere” brand….Cashmere conjures “soft” in most everyone’s mind, but if you really think about wiping your arse with goat hair….well, that = YUCK! Yet, I will stick with Cashmere Double till the day I die or they go out of business. But then, I’m one who gets upset when the new version of hymns are sung in church. I spent days memorizing those “thee”s and “thou”s and no one will be able to stop me from belting them out over the “he”s and the non “she”s. But that’s another argument. Choosing Cashmere Double makes me feel extravagant but frugal all at the same time, and I like it.

    • Heidi,
      Thank you for the lovely imagery. (I hope not too many goats read my blog.) And while your loyalty to a certain TP brand (not available here, by the way) is admirable, I think in your dedication to the archaic phrasing of church hymns, thou hast gone too far.

  2. I never really looked at the sheet count and the prices with the sheet counts. But,after reading this blog I went to the store and stood there in front of the toliet paper section looking at all the big, large, double rolls and the prices, then I started looking at the sheet count, I was just amazed at the results. I have learned now to take time when buying toliet paper and get the real deal.

  3. I don’t really think anyone really looks at the “huge”, “large”, “mega” word. I mean personally sometimes I think you can get the knock off brand for cheaper and just as much and just as good quality. I never look into the size, I look for softness. So really who cares how big? Start advertising what you’re doing to make it softer. No one wants sandpaper that’s for sure. …Goes back to brand loyalty, find one you like and stick with it

  4. In some places like Wal-mart, you can look next to the price and theres an item that says how many cents per weight you are getting. An example is meat it might say your paying 15 cents / lb. Some items like TP is the same way. By adding in that knowledge with some common sense of big, large, double, etc, that and comfort(ie buying TP that feels like treebark vs super soft. You can easily make the best choice in which TP to buy.

    • True. And that’s a reasonable way to combat the problem I am addressing here. But most people don’t, or certainly wouldn’t typically, investigate things to that degree, going by the much more simple and obvious indicators
      that would SEEM to be a good way to tell – those big words on the label!

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