Toletta confesses to a bathroom obsession

The toilet seat-cover manufacturer takes a novel approach to marketing its products online, targeting the wannabe modelling community with a 'Bathroom Confessions' contest and online magazine.

There isn’t an obvious link between Facebook, toilet seat covers and models, but for Caine Ruckstuhl, founder of Toletta, an Ottawa-based toilet seat cover manufacturer, it’s been a magic combination when it comes to building his brand.

Ruckstuhl, who handles everything from marketing to operations at Toletta, started building a Facebook-based marketing strategy for his brand last year with the launch of a Facebook-only ‘magazine’ originally titled after the product. The goal was to associate his somewhat unconventional product with the world of fashion and models. But he quickly found that people weren’t engaging with the Toletta magazine brand, and so relaunched the online publication this winter with a new name and its own persona, with only casual reference to the brand.

Now called Sugar Pop Magazine, the latest issue has drummed up encouraging results, he says, bumping up the brand’s Facebook fans to 1,333 from 300, and garnering 600 fans on Twitter. (Perhaps compared to Molson Canadian‘s fan base, this may not sound like much, but we’re talking toilet seat covers here.)

To build on the hype he’s generating with his fashion-forward followers, Ruckstuhl recently launched the ‘Fashion Model Bathroom Confessions’ contest, in which Toletta invites models (specifically) to confess, via video, how they approach using a public bathroom. The contest has been up for almost two weeks, and has so far generated five confirmed participants and 65 who have indicated there are interested via a Facebook event alert.

The key in engaging the social media crowd with an unconventional product was really in picking a niche target – in this case, models – and finding out what makes them tick, then offering them a chance to get it, Ruckstuhl says. In this case, this meant offering prizing that included a photo shoot, magazine cover and promotion via Toletta’s media properties (Facebook, Twitter and

‘Twitter and Facebook are running on autopilot, people are just joining on their own, and distributors are finding us through the magazine,’ he says. ‘The biggest thing benefit is from the consumer generated videos, because it is very hard for a company to get consumers talking about your product.’

The contest and digital strategy are handled by Ruckstuhl, while graphic design is handled by Toronto-based In Creative.