The Explainer Video Explained or How a Pooing Unicorn Took Over the Internet

Only in 2015 can youtube teach us that it’s perfectly fine to eat from a cute little unicorn’s butthole. Don’t you just love this generation? :}

– Jonathan Jones , YouTube User comment
Last year the Internet was dominated by an explainer video featuring a baby unicorn pooping rainbows on a assembly line of ice cream cones. Can’t even imagine what that would look like? Not many people could and is probably why the video when viral.

The company Squatty Potty produced the Unicorn video featuring a stool that puts you into the correct position to make doing your business easier. How do you make an engaging video about something that everyone does, but no one talks about wants to talk about? Especially if it is talking about problems with your own potty time.

An explainer video explains your product or service to your prospective clients. It is the cornerstone of a successful crowd-funding campaign and social media marketing strategies. The Squatty Potty video according to Adweek, had more than 50 million views on Facebook and YouTube, with 70 percent of viewers watching the entire three-minute piece.

What is the recipe for success? What makes a video viral worthy? It comes down to a good story. Creating a clever and compelling narrative is not easy. However, if you understand a few basic principals of storytelling the process of uncovering the best way to convey your story can become a managed process.

Define Your Audience

Who are you trying to talk to? In the case of the Squatty Potty, they are talking to a large group of people who are not going to want to publicly put their hand up as having a need for their product. They had to make something that was not only interesting, it had to be weird. In this case, weird worked.

Tell Your Story

The next issue was how to tell the story of the stool in a way that was fun and well, not gross. According to Jeffery Harmon the one of video’s produces, they decided to go with the opposite of poo, ice cream. And what would poo ice-cream? A unicorn.

They went with a fantasy world featuring a prince and a unicorn as the perfect way to elevate the product into a fun space to tell the story.

Creating Context

After deciding on the context, they had to make the world. Most videos are not going to need an animatronic baby unicorn and a full stage set, but you get my meaning. Showing your audience how the product or service works in the right context can make all the difference. In this case of the Squatty Potty, it is a highly conceptualised view into a whimsical new reality.

If your product deals with law or finance, would a magical reality be appropriate? Maybe, maybe not. Context is very powerful when conveying an idea, the viewer has to be able to place themselves in the correct space to fully engage with the message. Setting the stage is central to this part of telling the story.

Call To Action

Tell your viewer what you want to them to do. Don’t leave them hanging, be sure they understand what the next step is to engage with you. Ask in a clear way, people are busy and don’t have time to guess.

Connecting Your Story

This is the basic structure of how to create a story that connects, conveys meaning and creates action. And on top of all this is creativity, the super special sauce that holds all of it together.




The image is a screenshot from the Squatty Potty video.

NS170_MeganDavis_140624_0049_LRAuthor: Megan Davis, Lead Storyteller at Spendlove and Lamb

Megan Davis, Lead Storyteller of Spendlove and Lamb
Megan is a social media consultant, trainer, design thinker and founder of Spendlove and Lamb. She is in the business of crafting narratives. Megan learned design thinking right from the source at a bootcamp. After learning this methodology she has embraced it in her social media consultancy, Spendlove and Lamb. Using human centered design facilitates the creation of narratives, that tell the right stories to the right people. From large government organisations to start ups, Megan has enjoyed using design thinking to co-create meaningful approaches to anything from digital strategies to social media presences. She has recently returned from traveling the world conducting workshops in New York, London and Berlin teaching people how to connect with their story for personal and brand development.

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