Toilet paper may be in short supply, but Squatty Potty’s April Fools’ joke about TP seeds offers serious help
I’ve been wondering how brands would handle April Fools’ joke opportunities this year, since the date falls smack-dab in the middle of America’s Coronavirus crisis. Clearly this isn’t a light-hearted time and tricking the public isn’t something brands want to be associated with right now. On the other hand, while we are all grappling with the anxiety and realities of a pandemic, we can all still use a little levity in our lives…
Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw Squatty Potty’s email in my inbox first thing this morning, April 1. With the subject line “Now You Can Grow Your Own Toilet Paper!”, I suspected an April Fools’ joke was afoot. The second I opened the email, the brand confirmed my suspicion with a banner graphic that read: Squatty Potty Toilet Paper Seeds – a totally fake product for a good cause.
I immediately clicked through to watch the YouTube video, and I was not disappointed. Squatty Potty brings its signature humor to the video (if you don’t know the unicorn poop ice cream video that, um, exploded the brand, check it out here). It’s a faux commercial about growing your own Toilet Paper plant with Squatty Potty’s new Toilet Paper Seeds. Leveraging what must be toilet paper’s biggest moment in American history, the April Fools’ joke is that you can plant these seeds to grow your own toilet paper (and therefore never run out – which has become a fearful focal point of the Coronavirus crisis).
After some excellent visual and verbal jokes (including my personal favorite, that these TP plants have been bred to require minimal light – after all, they’re used to “going where the sun don’t shine”), Squatty Potty quickly gets to the truth behind the joke. The spokesperson says, “Clearly, toilet paper seeds are not real, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy them anyway.”
Why would you buy a fake product? Because there is a bigger purpose behind the April Fools’ joke (yeah, I went there). Squatty Potty is donating all profits from the $9.99 sale of these TP seeds to Johns Hopkins University & Medical – to help those affected by COVID-19 by supporting research and patient care.
The brand then goes on to share that your purchase will get you a digital file of a seed packet, which you can then print out and construct, to show everyone “that you’re the sh$t.” Very clever. That allows maximum profits to go to the cause (vs. being wasted on producing and mailing a product – something that could have elicited very negative feedback), while still letting people show that they helped. It also lets people show that they are in on the joke and gives them a memento of their donation that will serve as a conversation starter in the future.
This branded April Fools’ joke works for all the right reasons, right now:
- The premise ties in with a hot topic (the country’s lack of toilet paper) – and it is one related to the brand’s expertise.
- The idea is actually funny (and very well executed, living up to Squatty Potty’s previous video efforts that have become part of their DNA).
- The brand immediately offers up that this is a joke, maintaining authenticity…and then ties into a call-to-action that lets viewers provide very real help.
Will I be buying a pack of Squatty Potty Toilet Paper Seeds? Does a bear…nevermind. Yes. I fully support brands finding new ways to bring people together and provide support, now more than ever. I also appreciate that my April Fools’ Day started out with a smile instead of a prankless wasteland. Please check out the video – and make a donation, if you are so moved. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself…)