Will it Blend?
Blendtec is not really unique. It isn’t a particularly inventive idea. It isn’t even particularly well produced (although that is the point). So why am I featuring it?
The simple truth is that Blendtec founder, Tom Dickson, took one of the 5 F’s of Social Media and used it to bring to life, a quite frankly, dull subject, blenders. While most manufacturers were trying to make the products either sound like a must-have or focussing on key features, Blendtec took the unprecedented step of trying to make the topic of blenders fun.
What is it?
Blendtec was created after Tom first tried to blend a box of matches. The mess created, inspired Tom to kick-off his unusual marketing campaign, which has turned into a viral success. Blendtec now has its own sites with regular videos being placed on the site. Tom Dickson still stars and utilises his inane grin as he subjects the items to the blender.
The campaign took off from almost day one. The fact that the episodes offered shock value was enough, but the fun factor hasn’t tired. Each episode centres on an item that really shouldn’t be blended, lighters, cans of fizzy drink and even a 6ft garden rake.
Part of Will it Blend’s appeal however is the fact that Tom normally offers up a reason for things being blended. A common request from fans of the show is to blend a crowbar. In one episode which appeared to bow to viewer demand it appeared Tom was going to attempt to blend a crowbar. Completely by chance, this was interupted by a mobile phone. Tom’s response was to blend each and every phone of the crew.
He has also earned money by doing shows based around the superbowl, blending in relation to movie launches and a disc of GTA IV. Perhaps the standout feature was when Tom blended his iPhone citing the reason that he needed to upgrade. The shock value in one of the most in-demand products being destroyed in front of your eyes made this episode one of the most watched in the series.
For me this is a perfect example of a campaign that just works. It strikes a chord with people as it demonstrates a rather dry subject and creates theatre, involving something that the general public wouldn’t consider. The main underlying theme for me is that the deliberately cheesy set-up and low-cost production values make the whole thing, a lot of fun. This is truly one of the most successful viral/social campaigns there has been. Not purely because of the buzz created. Not purely because of the sheer volumes of views it has received. This campaign has delivered real commercial return.
It is rumoured this very low budget viral has delivered up to 500% sales growth. Proving that impact campaigns can deliver real commercial benefit.