If you’re always on the hunt for new coupons, now you don’t have to stop, even when you have to “go”.

Two brothers from New York – one a college student, the other a recent graduate – are building a business that offers coupons to a particularly captive audience. The “Star Toilet Paper” company prints advertisements and coupons directly onto public restroom toilet paper. “Our printed toilet paper allows you to reach a targeted audience in a unique way that will certainly catch people’s attention,” their website’s sales pitch reads.

Jordan and Bryan Silverman started their company in 2010, shortly after Jordan came up with the idea – where else – in a bathroom stall. “I was thinking that it’s one of the times that people want to read,” he tells the New York Daily News. “A person looks at the average advertisement for two to five seconds. People will look at ours for a lot longer.”

So far, they’ve signed up more than 50 advertisers, who pay about a half-cent for each sheet on which their ad appears. The brothers then offer their toilet paper free of charge to venues like bars, theaters, stadiums and office buildings.


If you’re wondering, the ads and coupons are printed with environmentally- and plumbing-friendly soybean-based ink. And if you see a coupon you like, you aren’t required to redeem an actual sheet of toilet paper at the store. Each sheet has a code that you can either enter online for a paper copy of the coupon, or scan with your camera phone. Which is a relief, because other restroom users who might wonder why you’re stuffing sheets of toilet paper into your pockets, will of course completely understand when you instead take out your camera and start snapping pictures in your stall.

Their two-year-old company is benefiting from a wave of new attention, now that co-founder Bryan Silverman has been named a finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2012” contest. The other finalists’ creations include low-cost solar building materials, a device that makes wheelchairs easier to use, a social network for college applicants and a new method of suturing surgical incisions. Worthy inventions all, but if they’re not getting quite the same amount of attention as the Silvermans’ invention, just try writing a catchy story complete with bathroom humor about any of those.

“Entrepreneurs on a roll,” reads the Lansing State Journal’s headline about the Silvermans and their product. “The idea is flush with opportunities,” the New York Daily News chimes in. “Silverman said that his brother at first pooh-poohed the idea,” writes the Ann Arbor Journal, noting that he eventually came around “after sitting down to think about it some more.”

The winner of the college entrepreneur contest will be profiled in the January edition of Entrepreneur magazine. But if free publicity is really the prize – it seems the Star Toilet Paper company has already won.

Image source: Star Toilet Paper’s Facebook page.

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