In a realm of offensive scribbles, minimal amenities and if you’re lucky, advertisements featuring Kotex or Durex’s newest compact protection, a few pioneering brands are transforming what may be the most awkward frontier for advertisers: bathrooms.

Though critics are deeming it the invasion of society’s last private and sacred space, others feel it’s about time we start creating a branded experience out of our time spent on the can.

Granted, bathroom advertising isn’t exactly new. But seeing as studies place average retention rates for bathroom ads at 84 percent, a growing number of brands are vying for those undisclosed minutes of your undivided attention.

This ad for Coca-Cola’s Japanese beverage, Georgia Max Coffee, has the bathroom-goer feeling the adrenaline rush of an alpine half-pipe jump as he/she settles in for relief.

Sports broadcasting giant ESPN has taken the notion of “interactive advertising” to a whole new level by turning your trip to the loo into an opportunity to step up your game.

Marketers are also using gaming content to drive home important public service messages. In 2007 Frankfurt Taxi Services teamed up with Saatchi & Saatchi to post unique ads in German bars.

The idea was for bar patrons to question their ability to drive as they guided (and inevitably totalled) a virtual vehicle with their urine stream. A message then appeared on screen, warning against the risks of getting behind the wheel. 

This PSA, created by Ogilvy Brazil, encourages people who may be suffering from schizophrenia to seek help by featuring an unsettling figure glaring at them from the far corner of the bathroom mirror.

With this ad adorning the exit door of the bathroom and serving up some scary statistics, you’re likely to think twice about exiting the bathroom without washing your hands.

If you haven’t walked out of the dirty door hoping to change the world, you might just be willing to change the way you go to the bathroom. In this case, P-Mate, creator of an innovative female hygiene product, opted for guerrilla marketing tactics by having women dare to assert their “freedom to pee standing up.”

The team switched male and female bathroom signs and led the confused ladies straight into the men’s washroom – and to its patiently waiting urinals.

Whether your next trip to the loo has you changing perspectives, old habits or transportation plans, it’s a given that someone’s vying for your attention. But brands should tread carefully. When it comes to advertising in bathrooms, it’s a slippery slope between entertaining and invasive.