Posted June 6, 2007 6:02 pm by with 12 comments

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I just heard a great presentation from Tom Dickson, CEO of Blendtec. Blendtec is the company responsible for the “Will it Blend?” videos on YouTube in which Tom blends everything from garden rakes to cell phones. You can see some of them here. There have been close to 36 million views of these videos, and Dickson shared exactly how this viral campaign has helped his brand.

In addition to incredible media opportunities (including the Today Show and Jay Leno), online sales of the home blender have jumped by a factor of five times, and in-store sales have increased as well. Not bad results from a $50 investment…

Here is where the story gets ridiculous and infuriating. Incredibly, Dickson showed a CNN clip where two marketing “experts” were debating his YouTube campaign. One of them actually stated that Dickson was foolish to market this way because it was “a lot of work.” He said that if Blendtec wanted to sell blenders, they should just buy an ad in the newspaper. How stupid can one be? As Dickson mentioned, a full page ad in the New York Times could cost well north of $50,000 and likely would generate very few sales.

The scarey thing is that these kinds of marketing “experts” are everywhere. They are so incredibly dense that they would want a client to spend millions on an advertising campaign instead of spending $50 and taking an afternoon to shoot a homemade video.

So here are two simple tips:

1) Be careful when choosing a marketing “expert.”
2) Don’t discount viral marketing.

Oh yes, Dickson has one more tip for you. Don’t try to blend your cell phones at home. Or if you do, use a Blendtec blender.

  • Ryan

    gotta love how his demonstration of his “rake-shake” didn’t go so well…
    look what these guys from captured today.

  • It truly is viral marketing! I saw a video following the link before reading the whole article and mailed it to 4 friends. Seconds later, I read about how this was a viral campaign. Works very well! 🙂

  • The problem with “experts” is that there’s so many out there they can generate a substantial amount of noise (long tail effect anyone*). I don’t claim to be an expert at anything … there’s always someone out there who knows more than I do about any particular subject.

    *Came across a good line yesterday though: Not all SEO experts are bad. It’s just that 95% of them give them a bad name.

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  • I’ve had this same conversation a few times – some ‘marketers’ seem built from the mo(u)ld that unless you’re paying someone somewhere, you’re not actually ‘marketing’.

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  • Hi Greg

    Wow, 36 million views! I’d say that’s not a bad result for $50. This might be busting into the realms of conspiracy theory a little bit… but have you ever considered the possibility that CNN PAID those marketing “experts” to say what they did, because CNN were jealous over somebody other than THEM getting 36 million viewers?

    Just a thought… 🙂

    Paul Hancox

  • Now you know who’s responsible for many collapses of many dotcoms in the nineties. The sadest truth is that they’re still there wandering around trying to fool you with ‘the power of marketing’.

  • This is such a great topic and I think marketing academics will soon spend a lot of time researching the benefits and implications of using free (viral) media to build a brand’s image. Knowledge@W. P. Carey wrote an article,
    “Brand Evolution: The Dove story,” last week and it helps to explain why some brands are successful while others may hurt their image. Find it here:

  • Charlene

    It’s all part of the idea (and it goes beyond marketing) that what costs money is always worth more than what doesn’t. It’s a foolish idea but one many people are absolutely convinced of.

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  • JT

    Viral Marketing is the best way of marketing. Whether the traffic comes from AdWords, SEO, E-mail or wherever they come from the traffic must convert into viral marketing beside of the sales and email leads capturing.

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