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