How Squatty Potty Went Viral And Went Up 600% In Sales (9 min read)
Squatty Potty – a bizarre commercial video showing an ice cream pooping unicorn.
The video featured a Squatty Potty, which is a toilet stool that positions your body in a natural squat while pooping. The posture helps you reduce the health issues coming from the "normal" way of making poop on a toilet seat.
Strategy & Tools
Squatty Potty History Timeline
- 2011 – Squatty Potty has been founded
- 2013 – the first video ad of Squatty Potty is released. Some generic explainer.
- Fall 2014 – Shark Tank appearance. It gives the initial boost to the brand.
- Oct 4, 2015 – launching a teaser. It gets over 20,000 shares in a few days with no paid media.
- Oct 6, 2015 – „This unicorn changed the way I poop” video release on YT. Looking at historical posts, it seems that the video has been released earlier, but YT date states differently.
- Oct 7, 2015 – the video is released on Facebook. Oc 12, 2015 – The video has been viewed 2 million times already.
- Dec, 2015 – Squatty Potty reaches the most search volume, linked to Christmas shopping.
- Oct 18, 2017 – „Discover the Most Pleasurable way to poop” video release, introducing new characters in the universe. It’s not as successful, but again goes viral to reach over 6 million views.
- By 2021 – The video got 680k reactions, 469k comments and over 142M views on Facebook Watch. On YouTube, it totaled 40 million views.
Stating the problem
Squatty Potty is a family business. One of the founders had experienced repeated constipation and while other family members talked to a doctor, they realized that squatting is a more natural, better way to poop.
The video that went viral was on a high level just that – it stated the problem and talked about the solution.
In a pretty odd way
They picked a format that is known to be working – it’s quite similar to the ads of Old Spice. It was made to be weird. That worked as it was fun and entertaining while describing a topic most people would like to avoid. That’s probably the biggest success here.
Squatty Potty Brand design
Squatty Potty could easily be a generic, white health product that no one buys because he wants it. However, the weird, colorful design, hilarious jokes, and the theme in which the video has been filmed make it entertaining.
In consequence, people also buy Squatty Potty for friends as a gag gift but for the owners, that’s perfectly okay–it still ads to the revenue.
Going up the hill
It wasn’t that easy to push the idea for the brand’s identity with unicorns and princes. However, the CEO decided to stick to his gut and not make much of the critic he heard. Paid off.
The CEO of Squatty Potty stated that about 25% of the video views came from paid ads while the other 75% was purely organic. The ads could be seen on YouTube, as well as on FB Watch, always in the form of a video ad.
Who made the Squatty Potty commercial?
The Squatty Potty commercial was created by Harmon Brothers, a marketing agency known for a “unique” marketing strategies and eye-catching ads. The biggest hit was the ad with a pooping unicorn, uploaded to YouTube in 2015.
Daniel Harmon says ads with more and more colorful characters from the Squatty Potty universe, while keeping the well-known character of Prince, were so good because it was about adding something new to the old stuff which the Squatty Potty’s fans already knew and loved.
Did Squatty Potty get a deal on Shark Tank?
The company and its product have made their public debut on programs like Shark Tank. The idea wasn't the most warm-welcomed, but Squatty Potty has seriously boosted their recognition after being featured in such a popular show and saw a spike in sales.
The Shark Tank cooperation with investor Lori Grenier has expanded the offering beyond online sales and rolled the product out in Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond retail stores. Sources say that Greiner invested $350,000 which was to be a 10% stake in Squatty Potty, and it turned out to be the true bullseye as the company scored $164 in sales.
Squatty Potty and Twitter
Twitter makes any published content public and is quick to spot trends and virals. The people that saw the video on other platforms commented it on Twitter, almost certainly making it a trending hashtag. That’s another way of taking it to new audiences.
YouTube & FB Watch Recommendations
YouTube and Facebook Watch have their algorithms working to keep the viewer in the platform for as long as possible. This means that they serve the users content that is relevant and has a high potential to get clicked and watched. Among the factors are the themes the user is engaging with, currently viral videos, video’s engagement, etc. If the users who watch a video first are engaged and positive about it, it’ll be shown to more and if that still works–the reach will get even bigger.
This is how Squatty Potty had so much organic growth. The video was golden, and the algorithms liked it and served it to new users–even though there was a paid campaign on it. And over 70% watched it end to end, for over 3 minutes!
PR and Media coverage
They sent the information to journalists who then have written about the bizarre video–it has been published in very high profile publications, like AdWeek or Fast Company. This tactic has been used once again two years later, when introducing new characters to the Squatty Potty’s universe.
With all the laughs aside, many comments reference that their lives actually got better after buying Squatty Potty, and it simply works. That could convince others.
Translating viral success to sales
Going viral with a video can work wonders for the brand, but that doesn’t mean it will contribute to the sales. However, in this case, it grew the sales 5 times! In 2015, the company projected to total $15M in sales, compared to $3M in 2014. That also was a 600% boost in online sales and 400% boost in retail sales.
Even if the company was profitable before the viral success, it’s „This unicorn changed the way I poop” what made it so successful.
Bizarre things are extraordinary, stand out and are more memorable. This might be why the video succeeded, but also translated to sales.
One aspect of a product influences how we perceive its other features. With Squatty Potty, its quirky brand and videos were loved by the audience and eventually made them love the whole product.
The ad makes clever connections to the audience, referencing other known brands like Ben & Jerry’s or fro-yo.
Humor is another aspect that makes things more memorable and connects the brand with positive feelings. Squatty Potty=humor.
Our decisions are influenced by emotions. Upbeat consumers are 24% more likely to consume the content. After watching the ad, viewers were relaxed and amused and with those moods, they were more likely to buy the product. Even as a direct effect of watching the video, since the product wasn’t expensive ($25).
Window of Opportunity
It might be hard to recreate the exact success of Squatty Potty but if anything–it will be something at least as creative as that. No matter what product you sell, you can look at it from different angles and be brave about how would you want it to be perceived. Brand is what can make or break your product, but so it seems that applies even to health products.
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