The holiday season is usually busy for Squatty Potty, a plastic step known as "the stool for better stools," but it took a pooping unicorn to drive its sales into the stratosphere.
The wide-eyed mythical creature with active bowels, star of Squatty Potty's massively popular viral video, is credited with a 600 percent leap in online sales and a 400 percent increase in retail sales at the brand's largest partner, Bed Bath & Beyond.
The company, founded as a home-based business in 2011, is on track to beat its goals for the year, with CEO Bobby Edwards predicting upward of $15 million in total sales for 2015. That includes those who buy and give Squatty Potty as a gag gift, which is fine with Edwards. (Last year, the company's sales only totaled $3 million, but a fall 2014 appearance on Shark Tank set the stage for a boom in 2015.)
The video, dubbed "This unicorn changed the way I poop," has snagged more than 50 million views on Facebook and YouTube, with some 70 percent of viewers watching the entire three-minute piece, according to the video's creators, the Harmon Brothers. Roughly 25 percent of the views were from paid promotion of the content, they said, with the rest being organic.
(The unicorn that expels rainbow soft-serve ice cream crushed the team's previous greatest hit, for the Poo-Pourri brand. "Girls Don't Poop" racked up 34 million views, but took nearly two years to do so).
Squatty Potty, with exposure from ABC's Shark Tank and high-profile media mavens like Howard Stern and Dr. Oz, had yet to make a splash, so to speak, with its advertising. There was only one animated short video, instructional in nature and created in-house, in its arsenal.
"We're still bootstrapping it, and we're very conscious of every marketing dollar we spend," Edwards said. "I thought the unicorn video had the recipe to be a viral success, but I didn't know it would become a phenomenon."
He quickly figured that he should gird for a sales rush within a week of the video's early October launch, Edwards said, and he put all three of his manufacturing plants on 24-hour production schedules.
The sales surge has been vindication for Edwards, who went out on a limb with the video against the advice of his Shark Tank investor and advisor, Lori Greiner. (She initially hated the concept). Even Squatty Potty's other founders, Edwards' parents, weren't keen on the royal-themed, scatological joke-filled digital short.
Not surprisingly, they've all since come around, just in time for the auto-tuned remix of the video, called, "The best poop of your life." The Facebook version has racked up more than 100,000 shares.
"It's even weirder than the original," Edwards said. "It's hard to do poop funny and not be cliché, but I think this does. And I like weird."