Synergy Pharmaceuticals' poop emoji keyboard encourages discussions about constipation

Dive Brief:

  • Synergy Pharmaceuticals has launched an emoji keyboard it calls Poop Troop with 14 dynamic poop icons, according to a press release from the company. The emoji are part of the company’s broader education initiative Confront Constipation intended to increase understanding of chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). Synergy markets Trulance, a once-daily tablet approved for adults with CIC. 
  • Salutem, a division of Daniel J. Edelman Holdings Inc., worked with Synergy to create the emoji keyboard. Characters, including Clogged Chris, Runny Ron, Mr. Smooth and Plugged-Up Paulie, contained in the keyboard were designed to represent emotions CIC sufferers associate with types of bowel movements such as depressed, angry, relieved, cool, euphoric, surprised, concerned and embarrassed. 
  • The Poop Troop emoji keyboard app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play app store. Synergy has also introduced a Confront Constipation website that directs visitors to the Apple App Store and Google Play app store to purchase the emoji keyboard, and features a stool discussion guide. 

Dive Insight:

In ways that would seem déclassé in other mediums, emoji have emboldened discussions laced with innuendo, crass references, embarrassment or uncomfortable scenarios. The number-one emoji in the U.S. is the eggplant, and the leading emoji in Canada is the smiling poop symbol. Marketers have latched on to the freedom these sorts of borderline appropriate emoji bring to private discussions between friends and family members to insert themselves into chatter with pictures that might be kept under wraps in broader company. Grindr released 500 icons dubbed Gaymoji such as banana hammock and handcuff emblems meant to be shorthand for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Similarly, Synergy Pharmaceuticals’ 14 spirited bowel movement emoji supply an electronic language for constipation issues that oftentimes go unmentioned.

Marketers aren’t jumping into the emoji fray simply to advance digital vocabularies. They understand millennials and Gen Z consumers communicate with the cartoonish motifs, and they can better participate in those communications on their own terms if they produce brand-affiliated emoji that take off. Early last year, campaigns using emoji catapulted 777% from the prior year, according to data explored in Appboy’s magazine Relate. Dunkin Donuts’, Dove, Life is Good, Domino’s and 20th Century Fox are among the companies that have engaged in emoji marketing. In its analysis of emoji campaigns, Socialbakers Analytics argued brands must create emoji that resonate with young consumers while not patronizing them, and can gain with emoji that’s simultaneously insider-y and easy to comprehend. The firm acknowledges it's not an easy fine line to walk. 

Resonating with constipation sufferers could mean big business for Synergy Pharmaceuticals. Its Poop Troop emoji keyboard arrives in the Apple App Store and Google Play app store as the company is aiming to bolster Trulance prescriptions. Synergy is locked in a battle with Allergan, the drug company behind alternative constipation medication Linzess, to win over patients with bowel movement conditions. In a blog post about Synergy’s poop emoji, The Wall Street Journal noted, “Synergy shareholders could certainly use a push; the stock is down 30% so far this year.” 

Filed Under: Apps Campaigns Mobile marketing trends
Top image credit: Synergy Pharmaceuticals