Viral Marketing, A Success Story: “Will it blend” That is the Question”

Posted: February 20, 2011 in Com 125 (b) Intro to internet

Company profile

A small Utah-based manufacturer that makes high performing, durable blenders for commercial use and a newer line for home appliances.

Problem

Started off as a small company, had a good product, but consumers had low brand awareness and knowledge.  As Dickson said, even though we had the best blender in the world, people didn’t know who we were. We wanted to demonstrate the power and durability of the Blendtec blender. Blogs and reviews from online forums and discussions suggested that consumers were reluctant and hesitant to buy products from Blendtec merely because of low brand awareness (no advertisements, limited distribution, and lack of information) and hence were not confident to make purchases.

Reviews also suggested that consumers were more comfortable buying products from its main competitor Vita-mix.

Rivals

Goal

With a small budget ($50) the company was desperate to revitalise its brand and create top of mind awareness for its consumers- knowing the company sells one of the most uninteresting and over saturated commodities in any department store-blenders are largely all the same, many times the odds are consumers will not be able to recall a specific brand let alone being convinced to buy a particular model.    Blendtec, therefore needed to differentiate its product (durability/powerful) /marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and thus market share.

What did the company do?

The company decided to use online video (viral marketing) – low in cost, as a form of marketing for the company’s product to increase sales.

Summary of the Case Study

1. George Wright, Blendtecs vice president of marketing and sales created a YouTube and marketing campaign called “Will it Blend”?

George Wright happened to witness CEO, Tom Dickson feeding a 2×2 inch wooden board into a commercial blender as part of his destructive test and found it fascinating, hence thought others might get a kick out of watching the process, and the idea for creating a video was born.

2.  Immediately Wright gathered together his webmaster and his video producer, who usually made instructional and maintenance videos. They spent $50 on a domain, a lab coat, pair of safety glasses, a bag of marbles, a 12-pack of Diet Coke, a McDonald’s  meal, a rotisserie chicken, and a garden rake. Then they went to the CEO, Tom Dickson, and asked him to to blend each of the items they had purchased – on camera

Tom Dickson, sticks it in the blender and says “Will it blend? That is the question”. While the item is blending he smiles and waits for the process to end. When it does, he empties the contents and the subtitle “Yes! it blends” appears.

3. Wright had stumbled upon one of the hottest marketing forces of the Internet age: viral video ads. They began making a series of online videos entitled ‘Will it blend?’. The videos consisted of a number of infomercials that demonstrated their product range of blenders and what they were able to blend. More than half of Internet users have watched a video ad online, according to research by the Kelsey Group. Nearly half of those viewers went on to visit the company website, and 15% of those made a purchase.

4.  Blendtec’s first “Will It Blend?” videos became the 33rd-most-viewed series ever on YouTube, and helped drive sales of the company’s $399 high-end consumer blender up to 500% in 2008.

Dickson went on to film 62 other “Will It Blend?” videos, blending everything even a video camera, and then filmed an attempt to return the blended camera to the store.

Some of the best videos Blendtec has done to date are in the playlist in its YouTube channel, includes, “Will It Blend?-iPhone”, which has more than 7 million views.

In fact, so popular is this worldwide phenomenon that 210,000 people logged on to eBay to view the leftovers of a blended iPod and iPhone. The dust of each of these products fetched $800 and $901 respectively. The company quadrupled the value and donated it to a sick children’s hospital in Utah

LETS TAKE A LOOK…

WOULD U PAY $800 for the dust of an iPOD and $901 for the dust of an iPhone?

So after destroying a number of Apple’s products doesn’t Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, have a  few choice words for Dickson?

—When I threw the iPhone into the blender, it was still playing a video even when it was halfway destroyed, so I think Steve Jobs was pleased that it lasted that long. This is the ultimate test and it did very well

The 61-year-old engineer believes Will It Blend? has the capacity to run for a long time as new products are released onto the market.

There’s no limit to what will blend. We have hundreds of thousands of requests of things to blend. When we walk into a store I am always looking for things to blend and we never know what’s going to happen

Blended items to date include; golf balls, iphones, digital cameras, action figures, marbles, skis, matches, thanksgiving dinners and more.

A success story…

1. Drive sales of the company up to 500% in 2008, and up to 700% in 2009.

2. Traffic to the company’s website has increased by 650% since the introduction of the videos, while Blendtec’s online sales have increased five-fold

4. To date, some videos have received over 28 million views by unique users and Blendtec is positioned to make above and beyond 50 million US dollars in sales for the coming financial year (2010).

5. The first videos went on the company’s website on Nov 2, and after only 1 day the site had received 23,000 hits. After being released on YouTube the videos exploded, with their version of a ‘golf ball smoothie’ receiving over 1.7 million views.  Nearly half of those viewers went on to visit the company website, and 15% of those made a purchase.

Sources:

http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/case-study-willitblend

http://www.lbhat.com/brands/blendtec-the-power-of-viral-marketing/

http://money.cnn.com/2008/04/10/smbusiness/puree_rake.fsb/index.htm

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Comments
  1. This was an interesting post

  2. eirevent says:

    What a fantastic story from a great company! I love Tom Dickson 🙂
    Will Tom Blend?

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