In marketing and advertising, these two separate disciplines of  “marketing” and “advertising” each elevate awareness of particular brands. The data gathered from advertising campaigns is used to attribute key points of success within said campaigns. Effective advertising works and elevates brands into the mainstream of consumer products.

Sometimes, timing trumps advertising when certain needs need to be met. Timing, in this case, brings success to very few. A pandemic that brought a highly contagious disease, making many sick with too many fatalities halted our daily lives and routines is not high on the list of the timing anyone wants. It’s actually further than last, if possible. For one startup, the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with their product filled a certain need for the general public.

No. 2, a toilet paper brand, and it’s owner Samira Far, broke through due to COVID-19. No.2 is a toilet paper made from bamboo. Using bamboo eliminates the need to cut down forests, as it is a fast-growing wood plant. While it might cost a little more than your traditional toilet paper, it is an environmental and sustainable alternative.

In the beginning of the pandemic, it was also an available alternative as toilet paper sold out at many, many stores. Toilet paper is a huge seemingly innocuous business, and a business of habit. People tend to stick to one preferred brand. Their habit buying and panicked mindset meant $1.6 billion for toilet paper companies. 

If shoppers couldn’t find their favorite brand, or any brand, they took to the internet to find some leads on where to obtain toilet paper. Here, they found No. 2. Sales began to dramatically increase on March 9, and by March 19, Far sold out as well. 

The No.2 website provides facts around toilet paper and the effect it leaves on the environment. It also provides information on the (cleaner) benefits of bamboo toilet paper over traditional toilet paper. Consumers can even answer a few questions to help determine how much they need to buy, and can sign up to subscribe on a monthly basis. 

At this point, the toilet paper hoarding situation has tapered off, and stores and Far replenished their stocks of toilet paper. The pandemic will not last forever, but because of the pandemic, Far’s company has a foot in the “Big Toilet Paper” door, and more stakes in the game. Consumers can buy directly from the site, and on other sites like Amazon. 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to life the blanket, descriptive statements that we are living in “uncertain” and “unprecedented” times. To bring it back to marketing, these are buzzwords that elicit emotion, but don’t really go further to describe what is meant by “uncertain” and “unprecedented”. The timing of the boom in the toilet paper industry due to a pandemic that caused people to buy toilet paper en masse might provide more of an answer.