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Sun, May 06, 2001 EDT
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Moistened Toilet Paper Is on a Roll
By David Koenig   Associated Press
DALLAS — Seeking to wipe out potty discomfort, Kimberly-Clark Corp. is plunging into the market with a new product: moistened toilet paper on a roll.

The maker of Kleenex, Huggies and Kotex believes its latest creation could be the biggest advancement in toilet paper in a century — since someone thought to sell tissue on a roll.

The Irving-based company said Tuesday it plans to spend $40 million marketing Fresh Rollwipes under the Cottonelle brand name, one of its biggest product introductions ever. Company officials say annual sales could hit $150 million within a year and $500 million in six years.

"Using a moist product cleans and freshens better than dry toilet paper alone," said Peggy Nabbefeldt, a Kimberly-Clark marketing director. "They have to realize this should be a normal part of a universal task."

The product will be introduced in early summer in the Northeast and Southeast, the company said.

But the advertising must also be, well, subtle.

"There's only so much people want to hear about with a product like this," Nabbefeldt added.

For several years, Kimberly-Clark has sold flushable moistened toilet paper that comes in a tub — similar to baby wipes, except the fibers break apart in water, like ordinary tissue. The rapid growth of the wet-paper market persuaded company officials to see if they could refine the product.

The company surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that 63 percent of them occasionally used something wet — often a baby wipe or regular toilet paper sprinkled with water — after going to the toilet. About a quarter did it daily.

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