Will it Blend? A talk from the creator

Webmasterworld’s Pubcon conference in Las Vegas is into its second day and the keynote speaker it George Wright from Blendtec. They ran one of the most effective viral video campaigns – willitblend.com where they take interesting things and see whether they will blend in their blending machine.

When I say interesting things I mean things like… iphones (Video below may take a few seconds to load).

The video has 4.7 Million downloads on Youtube alone – and there are a whole series of these videos. so how does a small (very small) company in Utah suddenly get millions of people talking about their goods? Well George is speaking as I type… here’s his story.

Two or three years ago, Blendtec had great products, but a really poor brand. George went to the company owner and said he needed money for a brand awareness campaign. The boss offered $50.

So George wandered through the warehouse and manufacturing plant and found a demo area, with sawdust on the floor where the product tester was testing the strength of the products. So they made a video and put it on YouTube. He spent the $50 on the domain, a white lab coat, a MacDonald’s breakfast and a rotisserie chicken and some marbles.

Now they have 70-75 videos. Their only failure was … Chuck Norris 🙂

They sent this video to Chuck before they posted it, but they got no reply. So they posted it anyway. Months later, they got a call from a friend saying that Chuck Norris was talking about the video on a major radio station. Blendtec now had an A-list celebrity helping the product go viral.

So what makes a video go Viral? Here are some tips George learnt from his campaign.

  • Make it interesting and entertaining enough for friends to open their address book and send it to their friends.
  • Make it tie in with the corporate objective
  • Let it be sponsored by the manufacturer. Don’t go too “under the radar”
  • They based their idea on real people – in this case their product testing engineer
  • Develop interactivity – let people comment and suggest what to blend next.

(George unfortunately had those comments going to his Blackberry… which he eventually had to block!)

  • Make user subscription very easy.

 

George also looked at the risks of a viral campaign and suggested that the biggest risk was to NOT try it. But he also pointed out:

  • A viral campaign means you surrender control of the message upon distribution. (They had some problems with ceramic magnets… )
  • Accept that you will have public scrutiny of your content
  • Distribution is global (Is it legal in all countries)

Altogether they have acheived:

  • 65 Million views on YouTube
  • 120 Million visitors to willitblend.com
  • 200,000 subscribers
  • 700% increase in blender sales
  • Pull through increase in their other product lines

You’ve got to admit, that with that kind of pull, a salesman selling advertising is going to have a pretty hard time selling ad space to this guy.

The other types of media were pretty interested too. He showed how he was on a US program called “the Big Idea” where he blended a pack of glow stick with the light off. The kind of coverage you just can’t buy.

Viral works… They even got a mention in congress.

He finished by Blending a rake… but I’m pressing “publish” right now 🙂

Dixon.