Will it Blend?
It's no secret that YouTube, the world's second-largest search engine, has changed the way many brands connect with fans. Expensive television advertising spots have been replaced by a much more permission-based form of content marketing: release a video, and if it's good enough, people will share. Major marketing publication Adage released a list of the top 10 viral video marketing efforts of all time, and we were a little surprised at the results. Utah-based Blendtec came out on top, beating even Old Spice:
All in all, the video series has amassed over 134 million views and has a dedicated Wikipedia page. An item blended on the show once sold on eBay for $901. Count us among the impressed! There's a great deal to love about Blendtec's efforts, and we've compiled the top 5 lessons in brand personality from this outrageously awesome campaign:
1. It's Consistent
Sitcoms are consistent, which is one reason why many of us have a deep and enduring love for Frasier or Friends or The Office. Over time, fans feel they know the characters on a personal level. Adage named Blendtec's element of consistency the best quality of the series. People know they can tune in and enjoy the company's enthusiastic CEO Tom Dickson performing a variation on the same stunt in the same environment, with the same kitschy music playing in the background.
In order for your brand to be known and loved, you've got to develop the same element of consistency, from the tone of your marketing communications to the topics of your content. Besides, as Blendtec demonstrates so brilliantly, consistent content definitely does not equal boring content!
2. It Makes Their Product Sparkle
Seriously, who wants to watch informational videos about blenders in their free time? 6 or 7 years ago, it was definitely a very small group of people. Blendtec's content marketing is effective because they actually succeeded in making kitchen appliances cool, and even a little edgy. There's no such thing as a boring product, just boring marketing.
3. It's Fan-Sourced
Blendtec encouraged interaction from their fans, inviting them to leave suggestions on the company's social media profiles about objects they'd like to see blended. Not only did this open lines of communication and increase the company's engagement rate, it created mystery. Fans were motivated to log back on to YouTube and check whether the video they suggested had been produced and uploaded.
4. It's Effective
It's a fact that Blendtec doesn't make the cheapest products in their niche. The average price per product seemed to hover right around $400 at the time of writing. The company's focus isn't on producing the cheapest blenders possible, but manufacturing the best quality available anywhere. If a consumer cared about an inexpensive blender that could cut through bananas, they'd be looking at other sources.
By emphasizing the fact that some of the world's toughest electronics could be quickly cut to shreds by their models, Blendtec effectively illustrates the quality of their product. We've got to hand it to the company for marketing straight to the priorities of their buyer personas.
5. It's Expanded and Grown
If BlendTec's videos were a bomb, we definitely wouldn't be talking about them years after the first was introduced. Perhaps what the brand did best was finding creative ways to expand the concept of inane blending even after they'd chopped up the obvious. The company began rolling out contests for fans, and prizes typically included a free blender, an item that had been blended in front of the camera, or an opportunity to have your own cell phone placed in one of their blenders to see how it would hold up.
Dickson expanded into newsjacking, chopping up recently-released video games, and making obscure references to Internet memes. The audience and brand grew because Blendtec continued to effectively expand on the concept that worked best for them, without allowing it to grow stale.
What do you think is the best viral video campaign of all time?