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 🙂



Barrie · November 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

Can we get one of these in the office?

Dixon Jones · November 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Are you making the smoothies every morning then?

Barrie · November 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm

I just wanted to use it to tidy my desk up. Imagine blending a French Dictionary with a speaker

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