Brand Insight: Poo~Pourri on Keeping It Real
There are two things that can make or break a new brand; usability and savvy marketing. Poo~Pourri boasts both. The “before-you-go toilet spray” is the only product of its kind on the market and clinically proven to work, while a series of ballsy, playful content from its in-house creative department has left the brand and its potty mouthed poop puns etched into the brains of millions. The brand’s most recent hit was a parody music video, called ‘Imagine Where You Can GO’, directed by Cameron Duddy, who helmed the promo for Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. The film has amassed over 12 million views.
LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with Suzy Batiz, Founder and CEO, and Nicole Story, VP of Creative, to find out what keeps them ticking and how they keep fecal word play so fresh.
LBB> As far as I’m aware, you guys are the only pre-poop spray available. But, even though you offer a unique product, you operate in a market that’s crowded with traditional aerosol air fresheners. From a marketing point of view, what challenges does that present?
SUZY> To those hearing about us for the first time, we’re not only a new product (Poo~Pourri), we’re a new product category (Before-You-Go Toilet Spray). In creating a new category and shifting the consumer’s bathroom routine, our marketing has to include a lot of education. What the heck is a before-you-go toilet spray?! While challenging, it is an opportunity for us to creatively explain how and why Poo~Pourri works better – and is better for you – than the chemical-based alternatives.
LBB> What kind of demographic do you find purchasing Poo~Pourri? As time has passed, do the results surprise you at all?
SUZY> As you can imagine, Poo~Pourri is an interesting product to market. Everyone poops – e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. And while one might think we could market to any human with a pulse, we don’t. We want to talk to people in which pooping is a pain point for them. Those are the people who buy Poo~Pourri. Our fan-base does skew more female, but we know a lot of women are buying Poo~Pourri for their stinky spouse. Unofficially, Poo~Pourri has saved millions of marriages.
Founder and CEO Suzy Batiz, and VP of Creative Nicole Story
LBB> Heaps of brands try their hand at ‘creating a viral video’ these days, despite the definition of such content being something that is spontaneously shared. This type of content is your bread and butter and the foundation of your marketing. How do you ensure you keep it fresh without being try-hard?
SUZY> Viral is never a guarantee. So many factors play into it – timing, algorithms, and yes, even luck. When creating video content, we know our best chance for virality is through disruption and relatability. We disrupt with a “did they just go there?!” shock factor, whether in the humorous dialogue or visuals. And we relate by telling stories of bathroom situations we’ve all been in.
Here in the office, we’re a tough crowd when it comes to potty humour. So when we create a script that makes even us laugh out loud, we know we have a winner.
LBB> I don’t believe you’ve ever worked with an agency. Why do you prefer to keep creative in-house?
NICOLE> We have an incredibly talented in-house team that knows Poo~Pourri like a best friend – she’s our homegirl. As an in-house team, we’re nimble, super fast, scrappy and ready to take risks. We have tried outsourcing creative projects in the past, and they tend to end with a full-circle Wizard of Oz moment where we realise we’ve had the power in-house all along. And between you and me, it’s way more fun this way! We’re not really watch-from-the-sidelines kind of people.
LBB> On a practical level, how does the in-house creative work? Do you have a team or do you tend to work more with freelancers?
NICOLE> Our in-house creative team is small but very mighty. We do 95 per cent of the copywriting and design. If there is ever a skill set or discipline we don’t possess under our roof, we love finding uber-talented freelancers to collaborate with. For example, we work with an amazing artist to create the illustrations on our bottles, and we partnered with a singer/songwriter and music producer to co-write Imagine Where You Can Go!
LBB> Nicole, your role is VP of Creative – do you have an agency background? How do you find the experience of working in-house for a brand like Poo~Pourri?
NICOLE> My pre-Poo professional experiences include graphic design, art direction, and copywriting at print media publishers. Though I’ve never worked in the agency world, I really enjoy working for a brand – especially a badass brand like Poo~Pourri. Maybe it’s because I’m the kind of gal who likes to have fewer, deeper friendships, but I love immersing myself fully in just Poo. As our own client, we’re able to take bold risks quickly.
LBB> How does having the creative folk as part of the company benefit it as a whole? How does everyone feed into each other?
NICOLE> We’re lean, we’re fast, we can pivot on a moment’s notice and keep running, and we think like our customers because we’re directly connected to them. When we get immediate feedback, creative solutions can happen in minutes, as opposed to days, with no middleman in the way.
We also keep the entire company engaged in creative ideas. We host company-wide brainstorm sessions. Employees can pitch product or marketing ideas, Shark Tank style. The creativity that is sewn into the thread of Poo~Pourri creates an indescribable buzz and excitement. And with a trailblazer like Suzy steering the ship, we never know what’s coming up next on the poop deck!
LBB> Most recently you released the music video and tune ‘Imagine Where You Can Go’ – what research informed that idea?
SUZY> As most ideas do for me, it just popped in! I remember walking into the office and telling the team, “Hey! Let’s create a Poo MUSIC video!”. What I loved most about the concept was that no brands had created a music video that successfully converts – a music video with a direct, blatant “click here now” call-to-action. We get a lot of energy in breaking the rules, defying the odds, and doing things that have never been done.
LBB> You worked with Uptown Funk director Cameron Duddy – why was he right to helm the project?
SUZY> Well we started as huge fans of his work, and from our very first phone call with Cameron, we all just clicked. Not only did he get our vision, he came to the table with amazing, hilarious ideas that made it even more epic. He will forever be an honorary member of the Poo Crew.
LBB> You also had the most popular radio ad during 2015’s Super Bowl. What other marketing efforts can you tell us about aside from the online films?
NICOLE> That’s right! Being our first time writing for radio, we followed a similar recipe to our videos – shock + a relatable story. We’ve all been at that food-filled gathering where some party pooper blows up the bathroom. Don’t be that guy – use Poo~Pourri!
Social is also a huge content platform for us. We love to use the quick-moving nature of social media to see what types of content get the most engagement. It’s a great space to experiment and play without committing to full-fledged video production.
LBB> I’ve read that Christmas is your most fruitful sales period. Why do you think that is?
SUZY> Poo~Pourri is a great (non) gag gift. It’s less than $10, it’s sure to bring a smile to the recipient, and – BONUS – it actually works! We hear time and time again on social that Poo~Pourri, of all the gifts under the tree, was the biggest hit!
LBB> The brand has a very strong point of view and personality - was that always part of the company from day one? Why did you decide to embrace this frank tone of voice?
SUZY> From the day Poo~Pourri got its name, I knew the “taboo” topic of poop would have to be dealt with in a humorous, head-on way that would make it more approachable. Comedy takes the sting out of it. And people appreciate our honesty and frankness. We talk to them candidly about poop the same way a best friend would. And now that we have people talking about poop, what else can we get them to talk about…
LBB> Suzy, prior to your success with Poo~Pourri, you’ve experienced some down points in your entrepreneurial career. What did you learn from those experiences? And what advice would you give to someone that’s just starting out with a new company?
SUZY> After trying to run a costly bridal salon, I went bankrupt by the time I was 20. My second bankruptcy in 2000 was the biggest blessing of my life, because it forced me to downsize and focus. You're always going to be afraid, but what happens is you keep getting up in the morning and showing up for work, because there's a passion within you.
LBB> What’s in the pipeline for Poo~Pourri?
SUZY> We’re currently in production of our next video campaign, set to launch before Father’s Day. We’re exploring some new waters and pushing new limits with this one, so we’re super excited to see it come to life!
We’ve also just kicked off a partnership with the World Toilet Organization, a global non-profit committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. We’re anxious to channel the voice and power of our brand to advocate for their cause.
LBB> I have to ask - who is Miss Poo~Pourri and how did you find her?
SUZY> Isn’t she fabulous?! We found Bethany [Woodruff] at the casting call for Girls Don’t Poop in Utah. At the time, Bethany was a BYU student heavily involved in theatre. She nailed the audition. I’ll never forget when we were shooting our very first take of Girls Don’t Poop; she swung the stall door open and delivered the intro line, “you would not believe the mother load I just dropped.” We were cracking up on set and I thought, in that moment, “oh my gosh, we have something big on our hands…”
LBB> And finally, the variety of your euphemisms for the No. 2 is nothing short of educational. How do you keep yourselves informed?
NICOLE> We’ve never met a poo pun we didn’t like. We get a lot of ideas from customers, from the deep corners of the Internet, and from shooting shit with each other here in the office. There is a super top-secret Tiffany blue notebook with lists on lists on lists of poo euphemisms, just waiting for their time to shine. For me, moments of copy inspiration can come in the exact moments you’d figure – in the shower, in bed, and on the toilet.
Category: Beauty/health , Perfumes