A Viral Success Recipe: Unicorns, Ice Cream and Poop Jokes

What do you get when you mix an adorable unicorn, a saucy prince, poop jokes galore and YouTube? A viral marketing success story, that, while seeming unachievable, still provides important lessons for all marketers. And c’mon … don’t you want a good laugh before the stress of the holiday hits later this week?

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Squatty Potty, the personal elimination improvement device for bathrooms. You know, the stool for better stools (their words, not mine!), which had sales skyrocket following the decision to take a risk, go against suggestions from investors and work with the Harmon Brothers to make a video that went so viral it’s earned over 28.2 million views.

If you haven’t seen the video, which launched in October 2015, watch it above — that is, if you can handle bathroom humor mixed with ice cream innuendos and adorable unicorns.

But the more important video — in my opinion — is the one below, which I found this past weekend while cruising YouTube. It’s about the risk the founders took when teaming up with the Harmon Brothers to do the video. You see some of the founders honestly saying they didn’t get the concept and vision, and being doubtful, then later realizing there was something to using humor to educate an audience.

If you don’t have 4 minutes to watch (seriously though, make the time), here are some of the highlights:

• Despite being on Season 6 of Shark Tank, nothing up until the video — which went viral — had boosted sales the way the unicorn did.

• According to Co-founded Bill Edwards, the first month after the video launched, online sales of Squatty Potty increased 250 percent, clearly outperforming the product’s time on primetime TV.

• The screenshot below from the video shows sales in both the online and retail spaces before the video launched on YouTube and after. Just … wow.

Squatty Potty Sales via YouTube viral video• There was a huge spike in search traffic following the video, with Google searches for “Squatty Potty” up by 500 percent.

• Post-video, the folks behind Squatty Potty realized they were successfully reaching a younger audience, without affecting their pre-video audience.

• Possibly the most important words in the video are said by CEO Bobby Edwards:

“This video was converting. It was getting people to buy our product.”

The video closes with Co-founder Judy Edwards saying, “You’ll be seeing us more on YouTube … ”

And a year later … we have. Launched on Nov. 10, the folks behind (ha-ha) Squatty Potty are back, along with the smooth-talking prince and unicorn, but this time they’re promoting a different product.

The latest video, “Slay Your Poo-Stink with the Golden Fart of Mystic Unicorn” is well … more of the same, but maybe a little creepier in some instances. The actual product is an odor eliminating spray, much like the popular Poo-pourri (fun fact, the Harmon Brothers also worked on those viral videos).

The video has over a half million views so far, and I’m curious to see if it has a similar effect on sales the way the previous video did … but I’m not sure. While the actual Squatty Potty product has the corner on the market, Unicorn Gold is coming up against established Poo-pourri.

Squatty Potty prince in viral YouTube VideoBottom line: It can pay off to take risks, but only when you partner with the right people and then TRULY partner with them. The Edwards trio, while maybe not getting the ice cream-pooping unicorn at first (well, Bobby got it, but Bobby seems hip to this stuff), put their trust into the Harmon Brothers and didn’t micromanage the vision. And look where it got them: a YouTube viral success, a massive increase in sales and the distinct possibility that people will never look at unicorns and ice cream the same way ever again.