‘Meet the Poop Troop’ Is Down-and-Dirty Healthcare Marketing
Sometimes there are just no words. So there are poop emojis aimed at helping patients with constipation communicate their symptoms to their physicians in a clear and immediate way that will facilitate better medication compliance, thanks to the company that brought the world “The Poop Troop Emojis.”
Pharmaceutical brand Synergy’s direct-to-consumer marketing campaign about chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) is called “Confront Constipation,” and it is meant to help as many of the 33 million Americans and 14 percent of the world’s population suffering from CIC as possible. The emojis illustrate various results of the condition and, with one click, allow patients to communicate those with doctors who can then quickly decide what treatment they may need. Making communication easier is the point of these emojis, the company says.
This could prove fruitful for pharmaceutical companies, as well as patients and doctors. That’s because as many as half of patients stop taking their medication within months of receiving prescriptions, mostly because they don’t understand why they’re taking it, according to Chuck McLeester — a Target Marketing healthcare advisory board member.
So on Monday, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn published a blog post about the campaign on her site HealthPopuli.com. She used her Millennial daughter and Baby Boomer husband to test the efficacy of the emoji effort:
- Stressed-Out Stooly
- Clogged Chris
- Left-Out Lumpy
- Plugged-Up Paulie
- Miss La Poop
- Mr. Smooth
- Sausage Sally
- Doody Dan
- Splasher Asher
- Ploptimistic Peter
- Waterworks Wally
- Diarrhea Dave, and
- Runny Ron.
“For the younger market research subject, who is deep into UX design, this campaign was a big hit,” she writes about the effort Synergy announced in April. “She found it thoughtful, informative and entertaining. She told me that many peer-friends indeed talk about poop with each other. Some even text from the toilet while in the process of toileting.”
TMI, said her husband.
But the campaign wasn’t aimed at him, she notes.
In the health/care ecosystem context, this medicine segment is part of what I forecast as a growing basket of self-care treatments and technologies, based on consumers’ desire to live well and fully engaging in self-health. While some observers and analysts may scoff at the concept, if you are a person dealing with CIC and similar gut and bowel conditions, tactics and tools that help us live life on our own terms — such as dealing with runny uncontrollable stools — are front-of-mind and major daily hassles.
As a DTC campaign, there are two other aspects of this strategy I like: the use of the word “confront” in the hashtag, which supports full-on health engagement and self-awareness and empowerment; and the use of humor for a situation that the sufferer more often than not doesn’t find all that funny.
So far, the iTunes app appears to be getting mixed reviews — including some “ones” with a No. 2 that looks suspiciously like the soft-serve poo in average emoji lists.
The app is also available on Google Play and the campaign has its own hashtag, #ConfrontConstipation.
What do you think, marketers?
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Related story: Direct Marketing: An Rx for Medication Non-Adherence, Part 2