We’ve got a pitch for you.
Imagine this: a tiny bottle of magical mist you can spray into the toilet to cover up unpleasant bathroom odors. People will love it, right?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “That’s a crazy idea.”
You’re probably also thinking, “Aren’t there already 10,000 products identical to that on the market?”
You may even be thinking, “There’s no way that would ever sell.”
You’d be right on the first two and dead wrong on the last one.
Here’s why it would sell. Let your mind be BLOWN…
Be introduced to Poo~Pourri, a wacky “spray before you go” bathroom mist that’s gone viral and sold millions of products. “How,” you ask? Because of its incredibly creative use of brand storytelling.
I’m going to dissect just how this crap “made it” (so well, in fact); and five essential lessons you can learn from the way they’re winning. Let’s proceed!
Who (or What) is Poo Pourri?
Head to the Poo~Pourri website and you’ll find a page that immediately resembles something from Alice in Wonderland, complete with an embedded video of a pretty princess who is, presumably, squatting on her porcelain throne. The entire page, from the font to the color scheme is decidedly elegant and playful. And, at first glance, the only thing that really clues you into what the product is all about (besides the name, of course) is the slogan beneath the brand’s logo: “Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know.”
Before we hop down the rabbit hole of what makes Poo Pourri such a genius brand, it’s important to understand where the brand came from in the first place. At the top of the page, beneath a header titled “The Magic of Poo,” there’s an “About us” section (it’s called “The Story of Poo”). We must warn you, though, this “About us” is likely different than any you’ve ever seen.
It starts out innocent enough: the founder’s name is Suzy and she started the brand as the “first natural, truly effective solution to a universal problem.” In her words, “Poop happens, and it stinks!” She goes on to encourage you to “Take a shift!” and allow Poo Pourri to liberate you from “toxic thoughts and ingredients” because, hey, you’ve “got more important crap to worry about!”
Does this introduction have the six-year old inside of you giggling and blushing? Good, because we get the distinct feeling that that’s exactly what Suzy is going for. We’re willing to bet, however, that you’re also silently acknowledging that Suzy is indeed right. This is a universal problem.
And therein lies the first stroke of genius.
Since its inception, Poo-Pourri has sold more than 4 million products and that number only continues to climb. These products are neat little 2 – 4 oz spritz sprays, all natural with essential oils and no parabens or chemicals (which I personally love!), and start around $9.95 without shipping per bottle. The products even have cute little names, and the product descriptions themselves maintain the storytelling vibe.
Even if you agree that nicely-packaged bathroom spray is a sensible idea, it still seems almost unbelievable that such a company should experience such runaway success.
It’s happening though, and the brand owes it all to storytelling. Something we talk a lot about (here, and here, for instance.)
How Poo Pourri Rocks Storytelling
Remember that embedded video on the main page of Poo~Pourri’s website? Well, they made a few original stories with the same lovely British redhead – 12, to be exact. Delight yourself in the crappiness of their entire channel, here.
Hilarious, right? Hilarious and slightly cringe-worthy, as well. The latter part owes largely to the fact that that video may be the single most daring and honest marketing video you’ve ever seen. Honesty is a theme that runs throughout the website.
From the unique section titled “Let’s Talk Crap” at the bottom of the home page (where you’ll also find the below “Hey Girl” gem) to the attractive product photos throughout the site, the brand’s home page manages to be hilarious, bawdy, and just sophisticated enough to pull it all off.
How does Poo~Pourri pull it off, though? And how do they take all of that storytelling and transform it into something that genuinely helps the brand make sales? The answer is that they use a series of tried and true marketing tactics that they infuse with their own individual flavor.
5 Marketing Lessons to Learn from the Storytelling Genius of Poo~Pourri
Here are the top 5 things we could all learn from Poo Pourri.
1. Know your audience
You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again but, come on, is there a brand out there that knows its audience better than Poo-Pourri? Doubtful. It’s clear from the get-go that Poo-Pourri is aimed at young, eco-conscious females everywhere that are having a hard time bucking the social norms associated with bathroom business.
If you need extra evidence of this, consider the video titled “Girls Don’t Poop.”
The video underlines the product’s quality by boasting that Poo-Pourri has more 5-star ratings on Amazon than the iPhone 5. It also offers a good-natured nudge at self-consciousness that generally surrounds bathroom visits. As Entrepreneur points out in their article on the company, “Everyone has a use for a spray that makes bathrooms smell fresh, but Poopourri did not target every Tom, Dick, and Harry.” Because of this, the brand is dominating while other bathroom spray brands are…stinking.
2. Be bold
If there’s one thing Poo-Pourri doesn’t do, it’s tread lightly. Phrases like “dirty little secret,” “tiny astronauts,” “chocolate éclair,” “intestinal cigar,” and “heaping dump” are prevalent throughout the brand’s advertisements.
And, yes, while we know that the majority of those phrases are enough to make you blush, they’re also bold. One of the best things this brand does is remove the timid language that often surrounds the topic of bathroom use. In doing so, they make the topic relatable and create an environment in which people can say, “Hey, yeah, I can totally relate. I’ll try this stuff out!” Unconventional? Yes. Brilliant? Absolutely.
3. Provide some comic relief
Let’s be honest, nobody really wants to talk about poop. But since Poo-Pourri does it in a funny, lighthearted way, it’s easier for customers to approach. Also, it’s infinitely obvious that whoever wrote the web copy for the company’s site had a great time doing it. This translates through to the reader and makes it easier for the customers to enjoy themselves on the page, translating into more sales and more brand engagement.
As a side note, let’s remember that, while Poo~Pourri is bawdy, a touch lewd, and very bold, it manages to balance those things with levels of professionalism, sophistication, and attention to detail that prevent it from ever coming close to unsaleable.
4. Be unique
What Poo Pourri is doing right now brings to mind what Dollar Shave Club has done in the last few years. While neither bathroom odor-maskers or razors are revolutionary products, both brands have managed to package and market their products in such a way that makes them seem so.
In the case of Dollar Shave Club, it’s ad copy that portrays the woes of people who don’t change their blade often enough. In the case of Poo~Pourri, it’s an all-natural product that comes packaged in a beautiful bottle that features a distinctly vintage appearance.
Reminiscent of high-class French toiletries, these little bottles instantly make customers feel like they’re holding an expensive and exclusive product. When a product looks great and performs even better, you can guarantee it’s going to be a hit with customers.
5. Own it
Throughout their website, Poo~Pourri continually says “Own your throne!” and they mean it. It’s evident, however, that the company takes that to heart. In addition to owning their thrones (as we assume they are) they’re also owning everything with the same flavorful style, from their brand message to their web copy. There’s not a piece of their website that feels boring, predictable, or pasteurized.
I think this is a huge key to their success across the board: they really, really commit to the level of storytelling they’ve exhibited. Which only means that someone over at Poo~Pourri is really, really, really, really… you get it… creative.
Everything is thoroughly, vibrantly on-brand, and it’s refreshing.
Take, for example, the social sharing buttons at the bottom of their home screen:
“Let me take a #shelfie,” “Ladies and gentleman, start your hot glue guns,” and “giveaways on giveaways on giveaways”? Of course I’m going to share that. Sharing that seems fun. How could I not share that?
Of course, that’s exactly the reaction those buttons are meant to produce and they do a fantastic job of it. Now, if those buttons had just featured the names of their respective social networks, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun and I wouldn’t be nearly as compelled to share.
Poo~Pourri knows that in order to stand out in the minds of your customers, you need to craft a unique and original brand message that pervades through every aspect of your marketing. They’ve done this and, frankly, we could all stand to learn a thing or two from them.
If you’d never heard of Poo~Pourri before this post, I trust your life has been changed. What’s more, I virtually guarantee that you’ll think of this brand the next time you use the bathroom. While this little company is still small compared to some of the scent-eliminating giants out there, it’s obvious that their brand message is set to take them far.
This is due in large part to the fact that the brand is just so dang good at storytelling. From their commercials to their web copy and everything in between, Poo~Pourri is a brand that you can’t forget and can’t help but identify with.
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