Poo2Loo, short for ‘Take Poo to the Loo’, is a social media campaign for India led by UNISEF to tackle the problem of open defecation in the country. According to Poo2Loo, India has the highest open defecation rate in the world, with 620 million people creating 65 million kilograms of open waste each day. With a population of 1.2 billion, only half of its population use toilets at all.
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JWT, Delhi approached us to help them create a music video for the campaign with the antihero mascot ‘Mr Poo’ an animated human-sized pile of shit. Yes, literally. It was therefore important to not disgust people to the point where they don’t watch it. At the same time, the communication had to be in the face and make an impact. People in India are so used to seeing shit on the streets that it is normal to become immune to it. The campaign had to shake them up, but not gross them out.
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Designing the Poo character was the trickiest part. As a mascot, he had to be somewhat endearing. However, the audience could not fall in love with him, nor be repulsed by him, and yet be made uncomfortable enough to realise this was their everyday reality and a huge problem.
The significant elements that would help us bring out these nuances the way we wanted it was the environment around the Poo character – the public spaces, railway tracks, monuments, etc. After multiple iterations, we finally arrived at a 2D route and gave it a brownish tint overall. If the colours are bright and poppy, it’s hard to take the communication seriously. We added yoga houses where people are practising pranayama (breathing) and inhaling all the stink.
It was decided that both Hindi and English would be used in the lyrics of the song as the film was produced for a big city audience and that is where most of the activations would take place. All of these details pushed us to design the film the way we did. Do not be surprised if you fail to spot an Indian toilet in the whole video!
We roped in Shri Sriram , a London-based Indian musician, for the soundtrack. As this project was primarily a music video, we got to working on the soundtrack before getting started on the animation. Suresh and Shri got to jamming together in the studio and came up with the wacky idea of creating the whole track using only plumbing sounds, which added a whole new flavour to the song. Shri himself went on to provide vocals.
Creative Agency: JWT, Delhi
Executive Creative Director: Sonia Bhatnagar
Creative: Sundeep Sehgal, Shikha Sud
Client Servicing: Vipul Malviya
Films: Avani Mankotia
Production House: Eeksaurus
Director: Suresh Eriyat
Producer: Nilima Eriyat
Executive Producer: Mehernosh Dastoor
Music Producer, Music Composer, Lead Singer: Shri Sriram
Singers: Loy Chacko, Sofia Ashraf, Nitu Chaudhry, Pradip Kashikar
Percussionist: Lyndsay D’ Mello
Sound Engineer: Chester Misquitta
Associate Director: Kevin Varghese, Paul Mathew
Project Coordination: Himakshi Rawal, Sakshi Gaur
Project Head: Arun Rane
Pre-production: Arun Rane, Sunita Kathiwada, Anamika Baruah, Ranjit Mandal, Anusweta De Sarkar,Rajib Mandal, Kartiki Kolamkar
Character Design: Sunita Kathiwada, Kartiki Kolamkar, Neha Katkar
Environment Design: Ranjit Mandal, Sunita Kathiwada, Shailesh Chindarkar, Ramesh Jadhav,
Anusweta De Sarkar, Kartiki Kolamkar, Divya Chaturvedi
Animation Team Lead (3D): Swapnil Patil
Animation Team: Swapnil Patil, Anik Roy, Debajyoti, Abhijit Bugde, Sanjay Patkar, Shailesh Chindarkar, Ramesh Jadhav
Rigging: Hitendra Singh
Modeling: Aditya Raje, Keyur Patel, Khayali Pandya, Amar Patel, Devender Parmar
Lighting: Amar Patel, Aditya Raje
Texturing: Devender Parmar, Khayali Pandya
Rendering: Aditya Raje, Hitendra Singh, Amar Patel
Compositors: Rajib Mandal, Vikrant Jabde, Divya Chaturvedi
Post Production: Jivan Gaikwad
The film received huge traction. There were a bunch of outreach programs designed around this campaign which took off in unison with the music video and made a lot of noise. The antihero Poo character was listed in Time Magazine as one of the most famous and influential characters. Endearing pile of shit or not, it greatly satisfies us to do something that somehow translates into making a change in the world.