Duke student's inventive toilet paper flush with ads, coupons

Posted October 22, 2012

— A Duke University student has found one of the last untapped markets for advertising – people on the toilet.

Bryan Silverman, a sophomore studying neuroscience, and his brother, Jordan, founded Star Toilet Paper about a year ago and are now rolling out rolls that contain ads, coupons and even QR codes that people can scan with their smartphones to redeem discounts.

"Our tag line is, 'Don't rush. Look before you flush,'" Bryan Silverman said Monday.

The company already has attracted more than 50 advertisers for the toilet paper, which they provide free to public venues, including The Blue Note Grille and Devine's in Durham and restrooms in upscale locales such as Westchester, N.Y., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Business owners kind of chuckle at first, but once you get down to the nitty-gritty and all the details, they say that really is a good idea," he said.

Duke student's toilet paper flush with ads, coupons Duke student's toilet paper flush with ads, coupons

The brothers use recycled paper and vegetable oil-based inks for the ads, which they say makes it safe to use and flush and easy to read.

Now that they're on a roll, they are working at DUhatch, Duke's student business incubator, to expand.

"It's a place for them to both work and connect with experts to move their businesses forward," DUhatch director Larry Boyd said. "I hope the business succeeds, but more than anything, I know Bryan's going to learn a whole lot in the process of doing this."

Silverman said building Star Toilet Paper has been a great experience, and he believes the firm can eventually be No. 1 in the business most associated with No. 2.

"In the long term, we hope to be the toilet paper provider for every public venue across America," he said. "There's no way to go other than with ambition."


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  • Coolbreeze Oct 24, 2012

    No Thanks...I rather read my newspaper or magazine...

  • JohnnyMcRonny Oct 24, 2012

    Article makes it seem like this is a new idea. It isn't.

    Plain ol' vanilla (to start with) is good enough for me.

  • fayncmike Oct 23, 2012

    I wouldn't be seen dead walking around with some company logo on my head (cap) so why would I buy toilet paper with ads on it?

  • Supie Oct 23, 2012

    What interests me is that, with the companies paying for ads, can't someone produce FREE T P ?

  • whatelseisnew Oct 23, 2012

    "I hope there are a lot of political ads on there, that's where they belong."

    So true. So true.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 23, 2012

    Will it never end? Now I can no longer commune with nature without Madison Avenue bothering me.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Oct 23, 2012

    I hope he does not think he is the first to think of this. Primarily, all the added ingredients are irritants. Ads irritate your mind, then your behind.

  • westernwake1 Oct 22, 2012

    "I sure hope the ink they use doesnt rub off!" - shortcake53

    Or you may land up with the advertising text "Buy Charmin instead" printed on your hind-quarters.

  • shortcake53 Oct 22, 2012

    I sure hope the ink they use doesnt rub off!

  • westernwake1 Oct 22, 2012

    I say put political ads on them... and print the rolls on sand-paper. This will provide a feeling of what politicans are really doing to you.