Seeing a pile of poop at Klyde Warren Park isn't an unusual sight, especially if you're in the dog park (sigh), but a rather large one is attracting crowds to the downtown Dallas park.
For one day only on Thursday, a 30-foot inflatable turd (This is why I took on more than $20,000 in student loans? And this is why most writers drink.) appeared in the park as part of a promotion for Poo~pourri, the Dallas-based maker of totable bathroom odor fresheners.
The big, brown sight created a long line of people waiting to experience the short interactive exhibit inside the poop tent as part of a marketing and mental health awareness campaign called "#LetYour????Go" that also attracted a big, steaming pile of social media attention.
The promotion fits right in with the company's bluntly comedic brand, which isn't afraid to use words like "poop" or "shit" in its public relations. (So spare me the angry comments and emails that I'm being snarky about this. I'm not. I'm having honest fun with a bizarre spectacle put on by a company run by people who clearly have a sense of humor about themselves and what they do for our economy, while questioning every choice I've made until this moment in time. You don't see Dulcolax putting up a giant, impacted colon bouncy house or a small intestine-themed hedge maze.)
The event also coincided with Mental Health Awareness Day and gave participants the chance to "Let their shit go," according to the slogan for the public spectacle.
"I wanted to build this giant, inflatable poop but then I'm like, 'What are we going to do with it?'" says Suzy Batiz, the chief executive officer and founder of Poo~pourri. "We have an opportunity to transform people, like, how can we help people transform their shit? Then we started thinking and it was actually [senior PR director Rachel Champlin's] idea of 'Let your shit go.'"
The giant dookie teepee houses a short, 360-degree, sensory experience in which guests wrote out their biggest worries or concerns and flushed it away from their lives. Guests also popped a squat on a toilet with the lid down (thank you for letting me do this with my pants on) while watching a colorful, meditative video on a domed interior screen with encouraging words about letting your problems go (but with words such as "shit" and "crap," with the tone of that high school baseball coach who's also the school's freshman counselor).
The experience also allowed participants to write whatever was weighing them down on an electronic tablet and flush it away by pulling a non-symbolic toilet chain (I wrote "Worrying how in the hell I'm going to write a story about this ridiculous rift in time," and I'll admit, I did feel better after I flushed it).
"You really get the experience of letting your shit go," Batiz says.
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The dinosaur-sized No. 2 will embark on a national 22-city tour, so other parts of America will have a chance to let their shit go as well, Batiz says (and it's also nice to hear that a giant piece of shit is going on tour and you learn it's not Jake Paul).
"Why not?" Batiz says (after I simply asked "Why?"). "One of my friends who's a high-level business guy goes, 'What's the ROI [return on investment]?' I'm like, 'To make people happy?' It's happiness, and you get to feel free and lighter."