I spent a very engaging eight hours with the members of Technology Section of the PRSA yesterday at the annual T3 Conference. The programming was among the best I’ve ever attended and helped to crystallize some thinking around the issues complicating social media campaigns that I think a lot of us in the industry are struggling to understand. I’ll explain, but my mantra from here on out is "try or die, there is no one size fits all equation for marketing through the Web."
One of the presentations was given by the marketing director at Blendtec. Will It Blend?, the company’s very successful viral marketing campaign consisting of a series of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders. In the Web shorts, the founder of the blender manufacturer blends — shall we say — non-traditional items in order to show off the power of his blender. My personal favorite involved the destruction of glo-sticks, but that’s really neither here nor there. The in-person demonstration did terrible things to the handle of this rake.
What can be said for this campaign is that it worked and perhaps most importantly that it was cheap – $50 was the start-up cost quoted in the presentation. PR has been searching since its inception for ways to quantify and measure value and we increasingly challenge ourselves to predict the impact of our programs. I’m throwing a stake in the ground today that says you will choke on your b-school formulas and be outmaneuvered by more nimble competition if you don’t start trying, whether you can calculate the potential return on investment or not.
Blendtec’s sales are up 700 percent … yes, 700, no typo … but I guarantee you that there was no formula or case study that would have suggested to Blendtec’s CEO that the Will It Blend? campaign would deliver those, or any kind of returns. It was just someone’s idea and they gave it a try. If it didn’t work, they could just shrug their shoulders and move on to the next one. Will it Blend will continue to evolve as long as Blendtec continues to think innovatively and respond to its audience in an authentic way — and they’ll sell more blenders. I’ll probably buy one just because they had the guts to do something that came from the gut.
— Kevin Sangsland