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9/27/2007
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YouTube Videos Stir Up New Sales For 'Will It Blend' Maker

Blendtec's viral marketing strategy helped it raise awareness and even share ad revenue with Revver, the hosting company for the videos.

What's the secret formula for selling products via YouTube? One company's recipe includes 50 marbles, three golf balls, one iPhone, a can of Coke -- the soda and container -- and hitting the button marked frappe.

Sound familiar? If so, you're probably one of millions of viewers who have checked out on YouTube any of the dozens of "Will it Blend" videos created over the last year by Blendtec, a small Utah-based maker of commercial and home kitchen blenders.

The videos star Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson demonstrating in a lab-coat how Blendtec blenders can crunch to smithereens everything from hockey pucks, to iPhones, to strongman Chuck Norris action-figures.

The videos are silly and fun to watch, but above all, prove one important point to unsuspecting viewers and potential customers. If that kitchen appliance is tough enough to rip into shreds a handful of cell phones, then, yes it can also "blend a margarita and get rid of that big chunk of ice," said George Wright, Blendtec director of marketing and co-brainchild of the segments.

The Blendtec videos, which are reminiscent of The Late Show with David Letterman's "Will it Float?" bits, have generated "millions of dollars in brand recognition" for peanuts, said Wright.

"People didn't know a company called Blendtec, but we were making commercial blenders for years," he said. "The blender used in restaurants for your smoothie is available for the home now too, and the word is out among consumers," he said.

The company couldn't afford "tens of thousands for a marketing campaign" that uses traditional print or TV ads, so it went viral instead, he said.

The segments cost very little to produce and Blendtec even shares in ad revenue from Revver, the hosting company for the videos also running on Blendtec's Willitblend.com site, said Wright.

Online sales of Blendtec blenders have increased five-fold over the company's old record revenue prior to the videos, he said.

And although the videos use Blendtec home kitchen blenders, the segments have also helped pump up commercial sales. A Blendtec salesman recently landed commercial blender contract by having the potential customer check out the Will It Blend videos online, he said. "That closed the deal," Wright said.

Of course not everyone who views the videos end up buying a blender but the segments have been "a breakthrough in demographics" for the company's brand awareness, he said.

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