It appears as if the hand of a Star Wars Imperial Storm Trooper is rising from the toilet in a new ad for Hyba, a recently-debuted tush-cleansing system from Georgia-Pacific that's being billed as "the future of wiping."
The Hyba system combines extra-sturdy toilet paper with a touchless water spritzer and hopes to rival regular old T.P. and bathroom wipes, the latter which have spawned everything from class-action litigation, to a controversial law in Washington D.C. to a giant sewer clog in London known as "The Fatberg."
Since June, G-P quietly has been selling Hyba on Amazon using tame infomercial-style ads. But now, it's trying to make some noise with spots from new agency Wolfgang L.A. that are among the strangest ever for toilet paper. That includes the one in which a hand, clad in a bulky plastic astronaut glove, emerges from a glowing toilet to show introduce the system to a startled man.
Another spot shows a creepy plumber plunging a toilet while asking an embarrassed woman on a date, with the tagline "Better than wipes for your pipes." Two others contrast old-fashioned toilet paper to advanced electric razors and facial-cleansing tech--with cheeky copy like "You shave your face with a state-of-the-art razor, but you wipe like it's 1954. It's 2017, wipe like it." The tagline "Hyba: spray hello to the future," follows and also features in print ads. Vince Pleone directed the spots out of Big Block.
With Wolfgang, Hyba is trying something "a little more disruptive to get people's attention," says Kirsten Hadley, senior brand director at G-P. "We're asking consumers to change a regimen they've been doing their entire lives."
Many people "don't feel they get clean enough using bath tissue alone," Hadley says. But those who've turned to flushable wipes are "worried about what's going to happen to their system when they flush them, or they're not flushing them at all. They're wrapping them and putting them in a waste bin," she says.
The Hyba system itself is $39.99; Hyba toilet paper refills go for $25.22 for 24-count packs. There is also a "cleansing spritz" that goes for $11.99 per three bottles of refill. For comparison, Georgia-Pacific's Quilted Northern goes for $19.49 for a double-roll 24-pack on Amazon, and Kimberly-Clark's Scott-brand flushable wipes go for $15.25 for a 408-count supply.
Read more about the marketing and controversies around tush wipes, and about "The Lord of the Wipes," the sewage executive who's become a watchdog on the matter, here.