Friday, October 5, 2018

The Twitturd, Now on Kickstarter, Is a St. Louis Company's Jab at the Tweeter-in-Chief

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge 1842f6e48e20e86e99d071630d4584dd_original_opt.png

A St. Louis company hopes to make a big splash with a toy depicting a chicken-like Donald Trump using Twitter while sitting atop a golden shitter. The brainchild of two friends from St. Louis, the "Twitturd" is the star of a just-launched Kickstarter campaign.

Kevin Kelly, 35, is a marketing professional and former tech startup guy who decided to start making physical objects "instead of apps that never get made," as he explains it. He's partnered with Casey Latiolais, 32, a 3D motion and character designer who designed the infamous Trump chicken/rooster that has made frequent appearances at protests in recent years.

The two met when they were both working at the Bruton Stroube production studio in downtown St. Louis. Latiolais, who is also a St. Louis native, later moved to Seattle before settling in LA to work for Buck.

During Latiolais' time in Seattle, in November 2016, he was contacted by Chinese real estate company Beijing Reliance Commercial Land. The company wanted him to design a statue to commemorate the Chinese calendar's then-upcoming Year of the Rooster. Given that November 2016 also happened to host a rather consequential U.S. election, Latiolais opted to give the statue some Trumpian qualities.

The character design immediately went viral, earning write-ups from the New York Times and CNN, and soon started popping up in balloon form at all manner of anti-Trump protests, including an appearance on the White House lawn in August 2017.

Latiolais saw an opportunity.

"When it first went viral he hit me up because he knows that I'm an entrepreneur — I have a couple companies here in St. Louis," Kelly explains. "And he's like, 'We gotta figure out a way to do something with this.'"

Kelly already runs one local business, Snakebite Co., which makes and sells bottle openers and other bartender tools. That gave him valuable experience making and distributing a physical product. Kelly and Latiolais formed SNAFU Studio, and soon noted the huge number of bootleg Trump chickens that had already started selling on Etsy — crochet ones, ceramic ones, vinyl versions. They were all just unlicensed versions of Latiolais' design.

"We saw this and we're like, 'My god, these are all over the place,'" Kelly says. "So what if we made a design that was equally viral — and even what I think is a better concept — and started off with a vinyl toy to see what the response would be?"

click to enlarge The Twitturd will be available in both white and blue, meant to represent both white-collar and blue-collar workers.
  • The Twitturd will be available in both white and blue, meant to represent both white-collar and blue-collar workers.

The result, of course, is the Twitturd, a five-inch-tall representation of the president of the United States in bird form, phone in hand, sitting atop a golden, er, throne. Its design is very similar to Latiolais' Trump rooster, but it evolved slightly to interpolate the Twitter bird.

"I really worked to try to make this something that would make both liberals and conservatives kind of chuckle," Kelly insists of the final product. "This isn't necessarily a protest; this is more of a calling out of an erratic social behavior that I think whatever side you're on you can kind of find humorous."

Since its launch Wednesday, the Twitturd Kickstarter campaign has already raised $3,351 of its $70,000 goal. Among the rewards for pledging money are a MAGA-style hat sporting the slogan "MAKE HIM STOP TWEETING" and a Twitter-blue t-shirt featuring the white outline of a pile of poop. If you simply want the toy, you're looking at dropping $25 for the "Early Turd" pledge.

Kelly and Latiolais hope the design will go viral and the money will follow.

"It's something that we're trying to put out there to see if it'll get any traction," Kelly says. "And Trump keeps providing some pretty good fuel each day.

"I think yesterday he walked onto Air Force One with some toilet paper attached to his shoe," Kelly laughs. "So right now I'm trying to capitalize off of that."

Watch the Kickstarter video for the Twitturd below:

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