I just met one of my son’s idols.
It was the founder of Blendtec and creator of the Will it Blend — Tom Dickson (pictured, left). He was demoing the Q-Series on the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show floor and spent a few minutes with me to tell his story.
If you don’t know him, check out his videos. He has blended everything you can imagine to demonstrate the indestructible nature of his blenders. iPhones, hockey pucks, cans of Coke… you name it. When I approached his booth, he was finishing up a lawn rake handle. Shoving it right in. And the beast was eating it. No complaints.
But this is not a story of great product demos, but one of great marketing. Dickson told me that it started when he was doing crazy things in his R&D lab to try and break the blenders. His partner saw some YouTube videos of people doing outlandish things for attention and suggested to Tom that his “experiments” would fit right in. Two hundred million views later he has attained Web cult hero status. He’s been on every major talk show and each new video spreads virally like webfire upon release. He reports that in the two and a half years since going on YouTube, sales at the company have increased 1000%.
Take that recession!
Dickson said that his case study has been written up in ‘marketing publications in every language on the globe.’ When I asked him how he decides what gets ground next, he said manufacturers come to him now. ‘Google, â€˜will it blend + nike’ and see what I mean.’ I did and I do.
He says a video grinding starts at $30K and goes up from there. A steal for a marketer, if you ask me, since the videos receive around six million views as soon as they go up. I asked him if there was any concern about the viral video audience being different from what you would think a â€˜blender-buyer’ might be, he said “No,” adding, ‘We were amazed to see 20 somethings walking out of Costco with our blenders.’
The success of Blendtec and the ‘Will it Blend’ videos is an inarguable testament to the strength of viral advertising. And BTW, Dickson is a great pitchman and you should watch him if you get a chance.
From Guest Blogger Steve Popp.