Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest


One of the best things about marketing is that there are many different tactics that can be used to promote a product: TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, social media, and more. An often-overlooked tactic of public relations can be among the most cost-effective, and generate lots of free publicity. Case in point is Cheap Chic Weddings and its ninth annual toilet paper wedding dress contest.

Cheap Chic Weddings was created in 2003 to help couples achieve the wedding of their dreams without spending tens of thousands of dollars. The company’s mission of “having a cheap wedding that looks like a million bucks” is front-and-center in the contest. Paired with corporate sponsor Charmin, the contest requires entrants to only use Charmin toilet paper, tape, glue, needle and thread to create a wearable dress that can be taken on and off. Contestants submit photos of dresses and a panel of judges narrows the list to the top 10. Voting is then opened to the public and the top three dresses will be showcased at a live event in New York City in June.

Crazy, creative, effective, cheap – the contest has all the elements for a great public relations campaign that will resonate with brides everywhere.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Start with discussion about use of public relations as an effective marketing tool.
2. Next, discuss contests as public relations and marketing tools. Then show the Charmin toilet paper wedding dress contest: Discuss the target market and key message for the contest. How does this relate to the company’s mission?
4. Discuss how effective (or not) using contests can be in marketing.
5. Divide students into team. Have each team develop a contest for a product of their choice.



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