Most kids think Robots are cool. All Kids think poop is hysterical. As a product promotion meme, Robot Poop is a total winner. The question is, what does Robot Poop look like. Ah, that is indeed the question.
I’ve been working feverishly on my next big project and no I don’t have COVID-19. Its foundation is based on steel tube. I’ve been in love with steel tube ever since I designed Kid Builders in 1984, and Allied introduced their Flo-Coat product. To quote them, here’s the main reason I used thei material :
Keep the playground safe with the added protection of Allied’s Flo-Coat® in-line galvanized steel tubing. Our Flo-Coat® steel tubing, which is CPSIA compliant, will resist flaking and chipping with advanced corrosion protection while allowing for easy formability. By utilizing Flo-Coat® in-line galvanized tubing, your powder coated playground products will have a greater resistance to corrosion.
There are thousands of playgrounds standing today that bear witness to the wisdom of this decision, so it is a natural for my next project. In this case, the new design is for homes, daycare, and preschools, so the tubing has to be smaller. Much to my delight, Allied now makes colored conduit that is perfect for what I want, and we can now skip the whole powder-coating process. That’s particularly important since this will be a mass-market product, and price-point is critical.
In the 70’s I was working exclusively in wood on my play sculptures and in my collaboration with BigToys, where I designed systems for schools. It didn’t take long for me to realize that wood in most schools and parks wasn’t durable enough to meet the needs of the mainstream.
But there was another reason to switch to steel that for me as an artist was even more exciting. I could work with curves. Most playgrounds today have their genesis from this simple design. It has been disappointing that the value of bending pipe as a visual element has only become available with the advent of structures that are made entirely from arches.
Since I can jump on a trend as well as the next guy, my new system is made predominately of bent colored tubes. When you see how these parts are made, you will understand why I’m stuck on this Robot Poop meme.
Keep watching it gets worse!
Since my goal with this project is to engage kids, I need to grab their attention. That also counts for marketing in general. For more than the last decade, we have lived in an attention economy. While the need to generate attention may not always be a good thing, it can be positive when used in a fun way. Kids who find ways of gaining attention in fun ways will typically be successful despite the challenges they may face.
For this reason, I am OK using Robot Poop as part of my product marketing. You have to admit that it got you to read this blog and view that cringe-worthy GIF. And aren’t you just a bit curious about what the product looks like?