Love Poop: A New Ad Campaign Wants You To Examine Your Waste

Stop being squeamish, it’s an important way to find early signs of a bunch of diseases. A Dutch app wants to help you do it.

Do you look at your poop? Or flush it straight down?


Doctors say it’s good idea to peer at your brown stuff once in a while, because it might hold clues to the state of your health. Soft, but not too soft, and you’re right as rain. Hard as pellets, or covered in mucous, and it might be time for a checkup.

Poop-study is the point on an app and poster campaign, developed by They, the agency that also brought us antisocial media. With the end of toilets with inspection shelves (what the Germans call “flachspueler”), fewer people are looking at their stool apparently. And that worries experts in stomach, liver, and bowel health.

They’s campaign was developed for the Digestive Diseases Foundation (MLDS) in the Netherlands. “One of the best ways to spot early signs of colorectal cancer, and many other ailments, is to inspect your poop,” says Patrick van der Gronde, the agency’s cofounder. “The problem is, people don’t want to deal with their waste. Modern bathrooms have been designed so that visitors see and smell as little as possible. But it is important to take a look behind you sometimes. After all, what comes out of you says a lot about what’s going inside you.”

Posters for the “Love Poep” campaign have appeared in bathroom stalls throughout Holland. The idea is to raise awareness and encourage people to look at the app, where they learn about six poop types: from “brown and soft” (healthy poo), to “dry, hard pellets” (which could be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

They tried to keep the messaging light. “We had to acknowledge that poop is hardly anybody’s favorite subject. We’re not selling the new Audi Quattro here,” Van der Gronde says. “One thing we had going for us is that poop is funny. Just ask any 7-year-old. That led to pretty amusing images. We wanted to make the poop kind of cute, without losing the serious, educational purpose.”


About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.