3 Tips on Marketing Around Taboo Topics from a Pooping Unicorn

On a recent episode of our podcast, we talked about Squatty Potty‘s great viral marketing video, This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop.

That video for a product that helps people unload their bowels with greater ease and efficiency currently has over 23 million YouTube views. Since it posted, online sales of the product have jumped 600% and retail sales have shot up 200%.

We used our discussion of the Squatty Potty “Pooping Unicorn” video (which you can watch below) to open up the conversation to the larger question of how to market a product that deals with a topic most people aren’t comfortable discussing. 

This Is a Problem Many Companies Wrestle With… 

Marketing is all about communicating what a product does and why it is beneficial—but how can you do that when your subject matter alone makes people avert their gaze and go red in the cheeks?

Is your marketing constricted by your product category?

We’re talking about topics like pooping, periods, hemorrhoids, STDs, even death. These are things most people don’t care to discuss around the dinner table. But they’re topics your brand needs to engage people around. So what’s the best approach to take?

If that sounds like the marketing quandary your company finds itself in, here are three tips inspired by the Squatty Potty “Pooping Unicorn” video…

3 Techniques for Marketing Around Tough Topics

Use these techniques to work around tricky (or icky) subject matter and get your message across:

  1. Use comedy – Cut the discomfort of the topic by making people laugh a little. In life and marketing, this is a good way to broach tough subject matter.
  1. Use metaphor – Put it in indirect terms to make people more comfortable. So instead of poop, let’s talk about ice cream. It gets the idea across while cutting out some of the “yuck” factor.
  1. Tackle the topic dead on – Say upfront, hey people don’t like to talk about this—but don’t let that keep you from the product or benefit you need. Aim to tear down the taboo and start a dialogue.

Just Because the Front Door Is Locked Doesn’t Mean There’s Not Another Way In

See what we did there? We used a metaphor! The point being, no matter what your product or category, there’s always a way to reach people.

Marketing with an unexpected twist

The general rule of thumb: the tougher the topic and the more “boring” or clinical your product, the more creative and engaging the marketing needs to be.

With an iPhone or sports car, the marketing’s is easy. You just show the product and people drool. But with something more complicated or something that goes to a darker place like the bathroom, you need to be more creative in illustrating how the product works and why its beneficial.

If you’re stuck on how to market your product because it’s in a constricting category, just think to yourself “pooping unicorn”. Find a way to simplify the purpose and benefit of your product. Find your “pooping unicorn”.


Check out the Squatty Potty video:





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