We’ve been campaigning for a new poo emoji with CALM … for those times when you just feel crap

Last week, one year since the first lockdown was announced, we were busy introducing the “Unhappy Pile of Poo” emoji to the world with CALM, calling on the Unicode Consortium to add the new design into circulation. The aim – to help users take the first steps towards telling a friend or loved one that they are struggling with their mental wellbeing or simply #feellikecrap.

After a year of missed life events, furloughs and social isolation, CALM (a charity leading a movement against suicide) found that visits to their website from young people (18-24) rose by an unprecedented 100%.

Over the period they answered 123,075 calls and web chats – that’s a call for help answered every 56 seconds. A new emoji to communicate feeling ‘crap, low, overwhelmed or broken’ felt more necessary than ever.

First we researched current emojis, found where the gaps were and surveyed over 2,000 people for their thoughts, before CALM re-designed an existing emoji for this new purpose. The iconically whimsical ‘Pile of Poo’ emoji, became the new ‘unhappy Pile of Poo’.

We brought in CALM’s ambassador, comedian, writer and actress Rosie Jones to headline our campaign plus emoji expert Dr Philip Sergeant. He offered advice and weight to our story, underlining the fact that sometimes to talk about the heavy stuff, you need to start with a lighter moment to quickly and easily highlight how you’re feeling – and this emoji is the perfect place to start.

Coverage for the event was widespread, with the likes of the BBC, iPaper, Evening Standard, Daily Star and over 120 regionals covering the news.

Over 200 pieces of coverage later, the charity’s share of voice compared to similar organisations was at 84%, giving thousands more people the opportunity to see the services the charity has to offer.