The Squatty Potty looks like your run of the mill medical device. It’s white, plastic and efficiently designed, but not particularly streamlined. It’s function? To prop your legs up while you’re pooping. Nothing more, nothing less.
By those standards, it seems like a pretty hard product to sell. But here’s the catch—over the past year, the Squatty Potty has taken the Internet (and our bathrooms) by storm. In a single year, the Squatty Potty experienced a 600 percent leap in online sales, and a 400 percent increase in retail sales at the brand’s largest partner, Bed Bath & Beyond. In 2015 alone, Squatty Potty had more than $15 million in sales—the year prior, the brand only totaled $3 million.
So what helped to drive this young brand’s sales into the stratosphere? A pooping unicorn.
Squatty Potty’s marketing is centered around a video dubbed “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop.” As it turns out, we humans having been pooping all wrong—we were never meant to sit. So our bodies are typically in the wrong position when we’re trying to drop a pony. So, a very well-voiced narrator tells us all about the little plastic steps that will give users the “best poop of your life, guaranteed.” It’s even intended to cut your porcelain time in half.
Thanks to a unicorn, a colorful marketing video (filled with rainbow colored "ice cream") and an extremely creative (or weird) concept, Squatty Potty has made a name for itself as one of the most influential marketing campaigns of the past year. It’s utterly baffling, definitely head-scratching and somewhere between disgusting and brilliant—and as it turns out, people love it. To date, it’s snagged nearly 70 million views on YouTube and Facebook. And the video’s creators, the Harmon Brothers, estimate that some 70 percent of viewers are actually watching the entire three-minute piece—a rarity these days due to our short attention spans.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in marketing and advertising of hygiene-related products is the awkwardness of having to discuss it. By taking a risk and using a comical and a non-confrontational approach, the video enabled the company to talk to its audience about a not so “palatable” topic. Who knew you could beat awkward be being even more…awkward?
Check out this interview with the Squatty Potty founders, and learn more about how taking a risk and going with your gut (or in this case, a pooping unicorn) can pay off in a big way.