3 Startup PR Lessons from Poo-Pourri That Don’t Stink

3 Startup PR Lessons from Poo-Pourri That Don’t Stink

Brace yourself. We’re about to talk about startup PR and poop. Two words we’re confident you and even we never thought would collide… until now.

We love a great Startup PR success story, so naturally when we caught wind of Poo-Pourri’s viral ad at Onboardly HQ – it finally gave us something to talk about other than Miley Cyrus and the age old question – what does the fox say?

Poo-Pourri, a company that has actually been around since 2007, offers an odor eliminating spray meant to be sprayed into the toilet prior to use, resulting in a refreshing scent of flowers, regardless of what was dropped. Their catchy slogan?  “Our business is to make it smell like your business, never even happened.” They’ve been the talk of the internetz, ever since their video went live on September 10th, drawing over 10,000 views in the first few hours it was online.

So what’s their secret to getting all of the media love?

Beyond the obvious fact that everyone (and I mean everyone) fits their demographic, Poo-pourri aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone.  And guess what – you can too!

Here’s how:

Boldly Go Where No One Wants You To Go

Here’s the thing. Most people don’t want to talk about, well, poop! And they most certainly don’t want to talk or think about women pooping. Yet Poo-Pourri’s explainer video has gathered over 12 million views in under a month. Why? Because it got people talking.

Shock value works, controversy sells, and having a strong opinion can set you apart from the rest.  It’s up to you on whether you want to use these angles to your advantage when it comes to your content and your PR approach. Take your competitors for example. Some people choose not to mention competitors at all when talking to journalists, let alone talk badly of them. After all, no one likes a bully. But there’s a certain advantage to willingly admitting, ‘yes we’re better’ and encouraging others to prove you wrong.

Similarly, being opinionated can go a long way. Many startups struggle with pin-pointing what makes them different, especially if their product isn’t entirely unique or the first of its kind. If you’re one of these startups, go where others wouldn’t expect you to go. Have an opinion or take a stand. And don’t be afraid to be challenged or proven wrong. That’s how you learn.

Choose The Unobvious Brand Ambassador

One might assume the go-to brand ambassador for an odor reduction product would be a man, right? After all, aren’t men usually always game to talk about taking the browns to the Superbowl? And a woman would never ever stink up a bathroom, right?

Well, think again. The face of Poo-Pourri isn’t your typical man on a toilet; it’s a beautiful, sophisticated, and well-dressed woman. Poo-Pourri saw the predictable route (man on toilet, talking about turds) and then bee-lined in the other direction. Not only did they use a pretty face and a sexy British accent, they had zero qualms having her refer to the “creamy behemoth” she’s just birthed from her cavernous bowels.

Trying to pick your startup’s spokesperson can be tricky but avoid going for the person that’s most comfortable and instead, choose someone who will evoke emotions when they tell your story. Sometimes, your CEO is the best person for the job – it worked for Dollar Shave Club founder Mike Dubin.  BeauCoo, a body positive community for women shared this powerful video that told co-founder Victoria MacLean’s personal struggles that led to the creation of the app. You don’t need to hire a fancy spokeswoman for the job, often times, the person to share your story best is already on your team.

Numbers Are Sexy. Flaunt Them.

Over 12 million views. Four million units and counting sold. These are just two of the numbers people are referring to when they talk about the recent success of Poo-Pourri. Their units sold? It’s a number proudly displayed via a running counter at PooPourri.com. Spoiler alert: it’s currently rising at about six units per second.

Journalists want unique data. They love numbers and percentages. And they love recent ones even more. Sure, your numbers weren’t stellar when you launched but a quick glance at your growth since you dropped out of beta? I bet those numbers are impressive. So leverage them when you’re talking to journalists.

Got someone on the fence? They may have passed on covering your launch but don’t be afraid to reach out a couple of months down the road to share your growth. As more writers are becoming less interested in launch news, a growth story a month or two down the road may be the very thing they’re looking for.

In conclusion, (almost) everything can be sexy and original, if you make it so. Even a woman sitting on a toilet talking about her cavernous bowels. So next time you’re looking for a way to make your product stand out from the rest, don’t be afraid to be a little different.

As Dan Walschmidt says, “You being different is what changes things.”

Have a favorite lesson you’ve learnt from a startup vid? Or a great tale of how you set yourself apart from the competition? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!

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Heather Carson

Onboardly Co-founder

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Onboardly Co-founder