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Earlier this year, Kraft scored big with its iFood application, which allowed shoppers with smart phones to access a website filled with meal suggestions and recipes that, not coincidentally, used Kraft Foods products.

And now, Advertising Age reports, comes the next logical step in the food chain…SitOrSquat, a smart phone application created by Procter & Gamble’s Charmin toilet paper brand that has “the goal of turning the digital masses into a mobile army of restroom reviewers. It both helps locate public restrooms and provides star ratings based on their cleanliness and other amenities.” It also allows users to rank them, review them, and even post images of them.

Unlike Kraft’s iFood effort, SitOrSquat isn’t aimed specifically at selling toilet paper, and it isn’t like P&G is in the restroom business. Rather, as Ad Age notes, “it's just another effort at nontraditional branding.”

The app is seen as having particular relevance to road warriors, who often can find themselves seeking clean and friendly restroom facilities…which could be a little tougher now, Ad Age writes, now that Starbucks is closing down hundreds of stores.

And here’s where SitOrSquat is wiping up, according to the story: “As of last month, SitOrSquat had logged more than 52,000 toilets in 10 countries, more than half a million unique visitors and more than 1,600 downloads of its mobile apps. All those numbers are growing rapidly, and Charmin hopes publicity regarding its sponsorship helps them grow faster.”

KC's View:
Make that at least 1,601 mobile app downloads – as soon as I saw this story in Ad Age, I immediately fired up the iPhone and downloaded it. I mean, who could resist an app with what has to be one of the great names.

But there’s a serious side to this story that retailers need to consider. Most, if not all, feature public restrooms. It has been my experience, having been in a lot of them over the years, that you can tell a lot about a company by the cleanliness of the facilities. (Also the originality…someday, go to Jungle Jim’s in Ohio and check out the public restrooms, which get the all-time prize for having a sense of humor.) In case you missed it, SitOrSquat is posting user reviews of public restroom facilities – which means that your companies could be getting extra notice – good and bad – whether you like it or not. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

So get busy. Clean those toilets. Wash those sinks. Scrub those tiles. There is no part of your business that isn’t transparent these days…it is a fact of life in the 21st century. And don't whine about it…instead, embrace it as an opportunity to get better.