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Social Media Showcase - Blendtec

 Have you ever wondered about whether you could blend an entire coconut? Blendtec founder and face of “Will it Blend?” viral marketing campaign, Tom Dickson  answers this question by throwing in a whole pineapple together with a coconut in a recent video they uploaded in late July. The verdict: it blended, giving a new meaning to drink pina colada.

How one man’s curiosity led to blending history

An engineer as well as an inventor, Dickson has always been curious about the way engines work. He has always tried to put engines into small things. One such experiment, which involved wheat and a vacuum, led to the production of The Kitchen Mill. But it was his next invention, however, that really took off and became the poster model for one of the most successful viral marketing campaigns in the world.

Dickson’s fascination with blenders can be traced back to September 4, 1968, his wedding day. He and his wife had received a Rival blender as gift and ever since then, he had been intrigued with the idea of making a blender that will never fail. This later led him to create Mix and Blend, which combines mixer and blender into in an all-in-one kitchen must-have. Dickson, however, still wasn’t satisfied. So he improved the platform, which eventually led to the creation of the Total Blender.

The new blender was awesome but it didn’t take off until it launched its now infamous marketing campaign, which answers a question that until now, Dickson himself asks, “Will it Blend?”

Blending as Viral Marketing

No one could have predicted the heights of fame that experimenting with a blender would bring. After all, when Dickson tests the capacity of his blenders, it’s standard procedure to use different materials--especially things that you wouldn’t normally think of blending. Like the 2x2 wood board that Dickson was blending when George Wright, Blendtec’s first marketing director, walked in. Longtime employees were used to their CEO’s wacky experiments and didn’t bat an eyelash. Wright on the other hand, thought it wasn’t a normal thing to do but still, it was awesome.

The marketing director then bought a Happy meal, coke cans, golf balls and a bunch of other things--all within a budget of $50. They made 5 short videos of Dickson blending 5 different items. Six days later, they became a viral sensation with YouTube views reaching 6 million. Today, they have over 800 thousand Youtube subscribers with some of their most popular videos reaching up to 17 million views.

One of the things that keep the video clips addictive is capturing the element of surprise. Dickson doesn’t always know what item is going to be blended since Wright does the brainstorming with producers. The key to this campaign is truly the question “Will it blend?” which means Dickson is as surprised by the results as everyone else.

Some of their memorable blends include hockey pucks, which according to the Blendtec CEO, was the worst-smelling. Another is a blending segment with 6 Bic lighters that went awry when the lid flew off after it combusted, shooting flames across the room. The Blendtec team had to use a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. Luckily, the incident left Dickson relatively unscathed save for singed eyebrows. Unfortunately, their video wasn’t able to capture the explosive scene as well as they would have liked.

A lot of their most popular blends revolve around Apple products like the iPad, which has over 17 million views. This piggybacking marketing strategy is deliberate. They even placed a disclaimer on their youtube channel stating, “We would like to thank Apple for creating so many products for us to blend.” Their videos blending the iPhone, iPod and other Apple devices all received over more a million hits. People even logged on to eBay just to view the dusty remains of a blended iPod (sold at $800) and iPhone (sold at $901). The sales of both was quadrupled by the company and donated to a children’s hospital located in Utah.

Although their “Will it Blend?” campaign has become a legend in the history of viral marketing and has more than doubled company profits, Blendtec doesn’t rely on it solely. It also utilizes social media by tapping into influencers in the blogosphere and providing content that people care about.

Blended Social Media Success

Usually, a company partners with a blogger in exchange for a blog post or sponsorship. Blendtec, however, goes the extra mile by prospecting brand ambassadors and choosing those whom it can forge lasting relationships with.

“We follow and engage with people who care about what we care about,” says senior Content Marketing Manager Mike Jensen. “We are proud of the people who are proud of our product.”

To prospect for their brand ambassadors, attending events like blogger conferences or crossfit competitions is crucial. Blendtec representatives would set up booths at these events and give out smoothies. This becomes the venue for content creators to reach out to the company for a potential partnership--that would often mean product giveaways, which can also help them to grow their audience.

Blendtec’s own blog employs its own content marketing strategy, focusing on three key categories: fuel, nurture and create. These represent the customer journey.

Fuel category is where you’ll find content that is tailored for the athletic lifestyle or those whose passion revolves around nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Blendtec demonstrates how its products can help athletes--from professional to semi-pro and amateur--in achieving their goals. Content creators from fuel are usually dieticians, nutritionists and sometimes even the athletes themselves.

Nurture content is for parents who want to ensure that their kids are getting their vitamins through real healthy food. This can be achieved by making smoothies and other nutritious recipes. Food bloggers also contribute a lot to this category since taking pictures of both food and the tools used to make it is second nature to them.

Chefs, artists and even small business owners comprise the content creators create for this category. Rather than trying to get Blendtec’s products featured on cooking shows, Blendtec instead worked directly with chefs, so they could inspire other people to create better dishes. Other create content partners include spas and estheticians who make use of Blendtec blenders in producing their products.

The success of Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” campaign may have been triggered by an experiment, but it has become more than just a viral marketing scheme. It has evolved to become a credible source of what the powerful blenders are really capable of. Supplemented by relevant content and customer relationships, Blendtec has become more than just a blending machine. For some people, it has become a vital part of their lifestyle.

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About the Author

 

Camille Marcon

About Camille

Camille Marie Marcon is a creative writer who likes to wander and wonder a lot—in either order. She thrives on coffee, chocolate, travel, stimulating conversations, reel encounters, and page turners. When she’s not trying to pen that elusive masterpiece, she’s stalking the latest promo fares and planning her next trip out of the country.

 


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