Code Brown

Wow, what a week. With the US election result, and now big earthquakes and wild weather in New Zealand, I thought we could do with a little comic relief. Today we'll investigate my favourite piece of communication of recent times. I hope it will make you laugh as much as I did.

Do you remember the infamous Invercargill "poo pooper" of 2015? In case you're memory escapes you, during February and March last year, poos were found floating in Invercargill's Splash Palace swimming pools on six consecutive Friday evenings.

Council staff estimated that the cost of closing and cleaning the pool and lost revenue was upwards of ten thousand dollars. I can only imagine the pool was probably getting pretty empty on Friday nights by the end of March. While it's tempting to giggle at stories like this, Wellington City Council has designed a poster to remind us that it's not a laughing matter. 

While pooing in the pool might not be funny, the poster certainly is. Rather than lecture the public about the dangers of fecal contamination, the council has decided to take a more low-brow approach. This works. It grabs your attention, tells you what you need to know about the problem and offers potential solutions — all in under five sentences.

Interestingly, the poster never actually says "don't poo in the pool". Attention-grabbing synonyms are used as a stand-in for instructions. They manage to elicit a laugh and aren't so obscure that the reader needs to consult urban dictionary. For anyone unsure of any of these phrases, the large brown splodge drifting down the page will surely help with the translation.

I've seen this poster a bunch of times and it makes me laugh every time. Especially when it's projected onto the really huge screen behind the main pool. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I've found it pretty soothing in this poo-nami of a week.