Yesterday’s keynote at Pubcon was George Wright, the Marketing Director at Blendtec. He told the story of how they have used viral video to exponentially grow their business in the past two years. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a textbook case study on viral marketing on the social web. Here it is…
Blendtec is a Utah Manufacturer of commercial high performance blending products for restaurants. They also have a retail product called the Total blender that uses the same technology as their commercial products.
George joined the company less than three years ago. He quickly learned that Blendtec has great products but didn’t have brand recognition. Great products with a weak brand equals weak sales.
He recommended to Tom Dickson, Blentec’s CEO they do a brand campaign. Tom, said sure go ahead. And btw, your budget is $50. Not $50 per month. Just $50.
George turned lemon into lemonade….
With his $50 he bought:
The URL www.willitblend.com
A lab coat
McDonalds Happy Meal
One day George was walking through the warehouse and saw a lot of sawdust on the floor. When he looked into it, he learned the engineers were running 2 x 4 chunks of wood through the blenders for testing purposes. That’s when a light bulb went on for George!
He came up with the idea to build a separate website called WillitBlend?
The strategy is to provide videos that answer the question “will it blend?” On this website, Tom Dickson their CEO, very casually (no script) answers the question “will it blend?” and puts odd objects into their industrial strength Total Blender (for consumers) while wearing a lab coat and sporting protective eye wear. He blends things like golf balls, marbles, a Happy Meal and one of the most popular is a video blending an iPhone.
Did this strategy work?
Here are some of the results…
– The Total Blender retail sales grew 700% in the past two years.
– The videos have more than 5 million views on YouTube and more than 7 million views on their website.
– They’ve received national media coverage that is equivalent to millions of dollars in advertising.
– The brand strength of the consumer product has increased pull through in their commercial products.
– The SEO value from their videos drives more traffic to their website.
BTW, Blendtec auctioned the blended iPhone on Ebay which sold for about $1,000. Those proceeds were donated to a children’s hospital. That’s awesome!
Blendtec’s viral video strategy is nothing short of brilliant. George says: “using viral video even a small company can have a big presence.”
Using some creativity and a willingness to experiment on the social web, the Willitblend website and YouTube strategy has paid great dividends for Blendtec.
If you’ve never seen their popular iPhone video, here it is: