Classic campaign #1
Now let's see... Will it Blend?
Dinosaur’s Head of Digital, Frank, shares one of his favourite digital advertising campaigns. And you definitely don’t want to try this one at home. (And even if you do want to, don’t.)
Just how can we destroy Jar-Jar Binks? This was the question on everybody’s lips when the Star Wars prequels came out. Darth Maul couldn’t do it. Legions of fanatical moviegoers couldn’t figure it out. But one American CEO certainly did.
How? By sticking the much maligned Star Wars character headfirst into a food blender and grinding him into a million tiny pieces. And the whole 2-minute YouTube video was made to advertise a range of food blenders. Naturally, the destruction of a toy Jar-Jar Binks was just one of many. During the campaign, home appliance manufacturer, Blendtec, would spin, shred and blend its way into the digital marketing hall of fame.
But what might seem like an obvious piece of snack-sized content today was a pretty revolutionary branding strategy back in 2007. YouTube had only been around for two years and was far from a household name.
A winning blend of viral content marketing and online silliness
It all started with a simple brief: demonstrate the durability and reliability of Blendtec’s kitchen blenders. And it led to one, strikingly simple idea: get something you’d never normally stick in a blender, ask the question ‘Will it blend?’ and then hit the button.
Over the next ten years, CEO Tim Dickson blended pretty much whatever he could get his hands on. Marbles. Crowbars. iPads. Superglue. Golf balls. And if you think he met his match when attempting to blend the toughest object known to humankind – the Nokia 3310 – you might be in for a surprise.
For a whole decade the format barely changed. Man blends things. That’s it. And with tens of millions of views to its name, it was an astoundingly effective marketing campaign.
While not the first digital viral marketing campaign, you’d be hard pushed to find one that stayed at the top for quite so long. Cheap, lo-fi and stripped-back, it was the simplicity of the idea – a straightforward, clear, easy-to-get concept – that sustained it. Blendtec had found a winning formula that it expressed over countless iterations.
And as the meme developed, Tim Dickson became an unwitting pioneer of modern content marketing, piggybacking on everything from the Super Bowl to Apple product launches. Anything that was in the news, he exploited.
Why it works
From a marketing ROI viewpoint, it sells in all the product benefits around durability and build quality. It serves to differentiate Blendtec in a commodity market.
From a social media marketer’s viewpoint, it’s engaging, sticky with shareable, bite-sized content. It effortlessly tells the product story with wit and authenticity.
And, most importantly, from a viewer’s viewpoint, it’s just what the internet is for: silly stuff that, well, just works. Like a kitten on a skateboard (don’t try that at home either).
What it means for us
For me, the real power of the campaign came from a very simple creative idea. Blendtec didn’t try to do, say or show any more – or less – than they needed to. They told a story. They made it fun. They knew their channel. And when they found a formula that worked, they stuck to it.
Sadly, the campaign is now over after ten long years. But I live in hope that one day Blendtec will rediscover greatness and rise to blend the unblendable once more.
Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more, give us a call on 0161 831 0831 and ask for Nicola or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also published on Medium.