Entrepreneurship: Advertising: the Final Frontier

February 13, 2013

So you’ve settled into the bathroom for a few minutes only to realize—too late!—you have nothing to read. Bryan Silverman ’15 and his brother Jordan share your frustration. It’s why they started Star Toilet Paper, toilet paper with advertisements printed on recycled paper in safety-tested, vegetable oil-based ink (like common printed napkins). Don’t turn your nose up, though. The idea was compelling enough for Silverman to be named Entrepreneur Magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2012.”

On a roll: Silverman's targeted advertising idea (Credit: Bryan Silverman '15)

“People say ‘what a crappy idea’ and things like that” when Silverman offers to advertise their businesses on rolls of toilet paper. “But once they get through cracking jokes, they usually love it.”

The Silverman brothers operate out of Durham and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the elder Jordan went to school. Thus far, they’ve persuaded restaurants, a bowling alley, a car wash, and more than sixty others to advertise on their rolls of bathroom tissue. Companies pay 62.5 cents per roll, which is half a cent per ad that repeats on a roll shared with five other companies. Star Toilet Paper then offers the rolls for free to venues that would otherwise have to pay to supply their restroom stalls.

“Our printed toilet paper allows you to reach a targeted audience in a unique way that will certainly catch people’s attention,” says the company’s website. “Ads and coupons on toilet paper provide customers with a convenient and fun way to talk about and learn more about your company.”