Strategy & Marketing

Let’s Take the Poo to the Loo

You may have missed this timely statistic, but India has the highest ‘open defecation’ rate in the world. As the British Telegraph reports, “With 620 million people creating 65 million kilograms of open waste each day. Only half of its population use toilets at all.” To answer that challenge, UNICEF has launched a new campaign called “Let’s Take the Poo to the Loo” – or more formally, the “Poo To Loo Initiative.” As the Telegraph describes it:

“Meet Mr Poo – the unlikely star of Unicef’s public health campaign in India, aimed at encouraging children to use the lavatory. Mr Poo features in a short educational video as part of the Poo2Loo initiative, chasing a man down the street until the townspeople construct a giant lavatory to flush public defecation away. The video is accompanied by a song, whose lyrics include:“first thing in the morning, what do I see/a pile of s— staring at me.’’

Bold? Probably if you live in the West.  But in a culture where there are more mobile phones than toilets, “open defecation” is a real problem. The government felt something needed to be done, and how do you reach young people in India?  Social media, music videos, and TV – with a little Bollywood style dancing tossed in for good measure.

And using the latest technology, there’s a mobile phone app that allows you to report cases of public defecation, and log it on a city map using GPS.

It may not be a problem in suburban Dallas, but in a country like India?  I can personally report that it is. I’ll be curious to see if the campaign makes an impact.

What do you think? Is it a smart approach to use media to solve an international social issue like this?


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  1. I would say more of an embarassment. Sounds like they need an app to help locate facilities within 30 meters of a persons current location.

    1. Don’t mean to cast India in a bad light. I love the country and have been there 3 or 4 times. I would love to make India a key partner in our effort with the Influence Lab (influence
      But this was just so interesting as a national media campaign I thought it worth noting…

  2. this made me really laugh! but i must say it’s quite ingenuis though. You guys should come to the suburbs of Lagos Nigeria where i live. Public peeing is the new cool. been talking about it until i’m almost blue in the face. i wish the government would do something like this campaign…

    1. I totally understand. I’ve been in Lagos multiple times and know exactly what you’re talking about. Maybe that’s your calling – to convince the Nigerian government that you need a national media campaign like this!

  3. Should I laugh or shake my head 😛
    I havn’t seen it play on any of the television channels yet (don’t watch much tv though)
    I think this is a Modi sarkar initiative… well new government new methods. I would surely say that public defecation has reduce a lot in all the major cities. Hoping the same for our rural India.

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