Often considered a taboo topic, poop is one of the most important (and visible) biomarkers of gut health. An output we all experience, this bit of biomass is literally data we flush away without a backwards glance. It’s also surprisingly complex—a watery mixture of bacteria (living and dead), cellular lining, fiber, fats, proteins, mucus, bile, and other compounds your body couldn’t digest. But our relationship with poop can be strained—61% of Americans suffer from digestive issues, including constipation, bloating, and irregularity, and some 50 million live with chronic constipation; yet the topic of poop is still shrouded in shame, secrecy, and taboo. The need for understanding and studying it has never felt more urgent.
In order to destigmatize this critical aspect of our health, spark conversation, and dismantle taboo, we created a digital learning experience made to educate and shift perspective. Enter “Bathroom Classroom”—a drip email series that transformed the bathroom from a mindless scroll-zone to an interactive classroom. Each new email drop (pun intended) challenged viewers to read, learn, interact, and even squat through a digital interpretation of the toilet. The incentive? Participants were given the chance to unlock a custom fabricated artifact for FREE: a Seed • Nuova SERIES 001 Defecation Postural Modification Device (DPMD), an artifact designed for angularly shedding trillions of microbes, aka pooping.
Since our inception, we’ve looked towards culture—art, fashion, streetwear, music—to bring science and learning into the zeitgeist. We believe that the medium is the message when it comes to scientific communication, and to truly reach people, you have to meet them where they are. Inspired by the assertion that “science isn’t finished until it’s communicated,” we educate and shift perspective through words, poetry, design, typography, animation, sounds, emojis, annotations—however we can trojan horse learning; sometimes that means rewarding curiosity with free merch drops, limited-edition artifacts, and digital activations.
To this end, we’ve innovated a framework we call Magic: our learn-to-earn system for translating science through experiential mediums for the reward of a curated collection of wearables, artifacts, and relics—all dropped completely for free. No waitlists, no lines, only curiosity, learning, and participation can unlock. Using the formula of streetwear and fashion, we created a system of scarcity, urgency, and relevance, to make learning science as exciting as the next sneaker drop.
To incentivize learning for this campaign, we invited our community to participate in a 3-part drip email series for the chance to win a custom fabricated DPMD. Throughout the series, participants traversed the 400,000 year journey to the modern toilet, were taught a lesson on the unexpected math of evacuations, and shrunk down to microscopic levels to uncover the microbiology of what makes us “go” (poop).
The biggest challenges we faced when creating “Bathroom Classroom” were not related to the drip email series itself, but prototyping, developing, and fabricating physical DPMDs. As sustainability is embedded into our brand’s DNA, we thought: how could we develop artifacts while upholding our values? Our solution was to partner with NUOVA, a luxury creative house that specializes in material architecture and design circularity. Through the lens of advanced material research and new process technologies, we worked with NUOVA to create a limited number of DPMDs as luxury artifacts – without compromising on design or sustainability.
Within the first few weeks of launching “Bathroom Classroom,” 3,000+ participants signed up to receive the course in their inboxes. Over 2,000 people completed it to the final quiz where one had to score 100% for the chance to win a DPMD. Additionally, it drove meaningful and consistent engagement on our social channels resulting in a combination of 9,000+ likes, shares, comments, and saves. Here’s what our community had to say about it:
“Wow! I had no idea it [poop] was 3/4 water. Fascinating! Literally the only company that is constantly and proactively educating me daily lol!”
“Loved this!!! You make learning and thinking fun and provocative!”
By transforming the bathroom from a mindless scroll-zone to an interactive classroom, we were able to spark discussions about poop, shift perspective, and perhaps most importantly, educate. The feedback we received reveal that people are open to having conversations about such an intimate and private part of daily life, and prove that taboos have the potential to be dismantled through education and rewarding curiosity.
At Seed, we believe education is agency—learning cultivates power and accountability, and when we understand the foundation from which we create, innovate, and teach, we can impart these learnings to others. By giving people the agency to understand health, they can more easily make better choices for better health. For these reasons, we consider our efforts on this campaign to be a success.
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