There are certain things that are frowned upon discussing in polite company. Sex and politics are surely at the top of the list, but poop has to be a close third. And it is in part because of this stigma that biopharmaceutical company Synergy Pharmaceuticals has reimagined the poop emoji as a series of distinct emojis for people living with the gastrointestinal disorder chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).
Conveniently, Synergy’s pipeline includes a drug called Trulance, an FDA-approved treatment for adults with CIC.
Edelman specialist agency Salutem worked with Synergy to develop the so-called Poop Troop, which Salutem says is the first emoji keyboard app featuring 14 animated poop emojis to encourage people to talk to “their family, friends and healthcare providers about the physical and emotional impact of [CIC]”.
According to a press release, each character represents a type of bowel movement — “from constipation to normal to diarrhea” — and an emotion that people with CIC often associate with each, including stressed, depressed, angry, relieved, cool, euphoric, surprised, concerned and embarrassed. What’s more, members of the Poop Troop have memorable names like Left-Out Lumpy, Miss La Poop, Mr. Smooth, Ploptimistic Peter, Runny Ron and Sausage Sally.
The Poop Troop is part of a broader disease education initiative from Synergy called Confront Constipation. The site recommends using the Poop Troop to determine treatment goals and have a more productive dialogue about constipation with medical professionals or “[sharing] them with friends to take your texts to a whole new level!” (The Confront Constipation site also includes a discussion guide.)
The emoji keyboard app is available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded for free. Once installed, the Poop Troop can be accessed directly from the standard keyboard page on a user’s smartphone, Salutem said.
According to Google Play, it has between 500 and 1000 downloads.
Salutem said CIC affects approximately 33m Americans and an estimated 14% of the global population. In addition to causing infrequent, hard stools and other physical symptoms such as straining, abdominal bloating and discomfort, CIC can adversely affect an individual’s quality of life, including increasing stress levels and anxiety, the release said.
At the same time, Salutem noted research has shown more than 90% of people use emojis in their day-to-day digital conversations.
“Many people with CIC feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about their symptoms with those closest to them, so they often suffer in silence,” said Julie Holcombe, senior director of marketing at Synergy, in a statement. “Our hope is that the Poop Troop can help make difficult conversations easier for people with CIC, while raising awareness around the impact of CIC beyond those living with this complex disorder.”