For the new media assignment our group decided to analyse a social media case. We found the Blendtec case to be extremely interesting and powerful to be shared with the rest of students. The case describes the enormous success, “Blendtec”, an American manufacturer of high performance durable blenders had with the help of Social media marketing.
The story of Blendtec, a company founded by Tom Dickson starts in 1975 in Utah, USA. Tom using a versatile vacuum cleaner motor combined it with a rotor and stator micronetic-milling chamber, which helped mill wheat quickly and efficiently. To start the business, Blendtec was provided with the start-up capital by the K-TEC Kitchen Mill. Years later as the smoothie revolution was heating up, companies turned to Blendtec to develop high performing, durable blenders for commercial use (Blendtec 2012). Today Blendtec blenders are used by restaurants, coffee shops, smoothie bars and domestic households.
Since Blendtec had very small advertising budgets in the beginning, they had to come up with special viral advertising spots that could be found on, or promoted through, social media platforms. The company’s new Marketing Director George Wright found out that CEO Tom Dickson and his R&D Team tested their products by blending up wood or other robust materials (Briggs 2009). He saw this as a great way of marketing and asked Dickson to do his unusual quality-control technique test on camera for posting the short videos online. He bought some marbles, a rake, a six-pack of soda, a fast-food value meal and golf balls, put Dickson in front of a camera, wearing a lab coat, and asked him to blend the purchases. These series of videos were introduced to the public in 2006 and are known as “Will it Blend?” (Briggs 2009).
ANALYSIS & IMPACT
The video series on YouTube was an instant success for Wright and Blendtec. In the first week of publication they had more than six million hits. Sometimes later the company was granted advertising rights by Yahoo! and Google. Blendtec also used “The YouTube Tags”, which are important video ranking factors in YouTube search results to improve the number of search engine hits (Briggs 2009).
Within two years and 186 videos later, the campaign helped to increase retail blender sales by 700 percent and made Dickson an Internet celebrity. Blendtec has received several awards for their marketing strategy, including Clio Award. The net Award for viral marketing made the YouTube Awards short list in 2007 (Renberg Winters 2009). Furthermore, Blendtec had several TV appearances, global interviews, print and electronic articles and blog entries or co-promotions (Nike, google or AT&T) (Briggs, C. 2009).
After the enormous success of their viral videos on YouTube, Blendtec created their own website with the “Will it Blend?” videos. This microsite is a very active website, where the consumer get totally involved. The aim is to show the clients what the machines are able to blend and how powerful they are through humorous but authentic ways. Videos on this website are also published via Facebook, which nearly has 25 000 followers (Facebook 2012). This platform provides interaction and communication between the company and the customers. The FanPage is more informal and motivates the consumer to recommend things Dickson can blend up. Beside Facebook, Blendtec also has a Twitter account which accounts nearly 10 000 followers (Twitter 2012). The most important social media channel is still their YouTube channel. Since 2006 the Blendtec channel registered very successful hits and click rates especially the “iPhone” video, which reached more than 10 million hits at that time (Youtube 2012). Thus shows an enormous interest by consumers.
In recent times there have been a number of successful viral campaigns. Traditionally marketers would develop advertisements and then rely on television and print...