Rich Clark Marketing

Opinions from Rich Clark one of the UK's leading Marketing Professionals


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Blendtec – Will it Blend

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.

Fun

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.


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Teenagers Don’t Regularly Read Newspapers

Morgan Stanley Revelation

Well it seems to take a 15 year old boy to tell the corporate world the blinking obvious.  Matthew Robson a 15 year old school boy had a work experience stint at Morgan Stanley.  As part of his spell there he was asked to write a research paper on teens media consumption.

Now this isn’t a dig at Matthew Robson, or particularly at Morgan Stanley, but does it demonstrate a distinct lack of awareness at large corporations about online and other emerging media channels.  Matthew probably didn’t expect to become when he wrote a summary of what he and his mates thought.  Yet it seems his work hit the tables of analysts, investors and CEOs.

So what inspiration did Matthew afford to his six-figure salaried friends?  Well here are a few items:

Teens prefer streaming sites (e.g. Napster and Spotify) to regular Radio – as, wait for it, they don’t like adverts

Teens prefer Facebook to Twitter as it is seen as a better way to stay in touch – (apparently Stephen Fry isn’t cool for teens)

Teens also watch TV (a lot) but via internet rather than TV, so they can watch what they want when they want on channels such as iPlayer

Teens don’t buy newspapers, or indeed don’t buy CDs

Teens also find online advertising pointless

Well as I said, this is not against Matthew, I just think the stating of the blooming obvious really illustrates a lack of corporate understanding.  This lack of understanding is both lack of education of online and also most are so far out of touch with ‘youth’  the obvious becomes a breakthrough.  I just hope Matthew’s efforts opens the eyes of some corporations. 

I have thought of some other bright ideas that Morgan Stanley can get excited about:

Top 5 ideas

1. School boys like football and can often be found to wear replica football shirts

2. Very young children struggle to eat solid food, they prefer liquidised food which is easier to swallow

3. Kids enjoy sending text messages on their mobile phones

4. Children play games on their consoles

5. Girls and boys are different, as a result they should be treated differently when targetting products at them

Matthew is also quoted as saying that he is now considering a career in investment banking.  Matthew, I am not surprised, good luck.