Blendtec mixes online video to raise brand awareness

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SAN JOSE, CA - Online video and a $50 budget helped blender manufacturer Blendtec grow its brand awareness and increase sales by five times through viral marketing on YouTube, according to an Internet Retailer Conference speaker.

In his presentation, "Blending Video and E-commerce," Tom Dickson, CEO of Blendtec, discussed its "Will it blend?" campaign that helped the firm raises awareness of its commercial and consumer blenders. The campaign aims at testing if specific products not meant for a blender will blend. It began as an in-house joke about a blended iPod, which ended up on eBay and saw 58,000 viewers.

"It's got to be entertaining and worth watching," Mr. Dickson said. "It's sponsored by us, the manufacturer and based on real people. The interactivity is incredible. We have hundreds of thousands of people suggesting things to blend."

These videos include blending beer bottles, soda bottles and Coke with chicken, or Co-chicken. The Co-chicken video has tracked 1.7 million views on YouTube, and the iPod saw 6 million views in five days.

In total, Blendtec's videos have experienced 19.4 million views on You Tube and 18 million on their own site at www.blendtec.com. There were no links on Yahoo or Google last November but now it has millions.

The firm has more than 30,000 subscribers, so when the new shows go up, they receive an e-mail. So far there are 54 shows up today.

There are risks to a campaign like this, however.

"You have absolutely no control as to what happens to this show, even if you take it down, it will still be on the Internet," Mr. Dickson said. "You are also under public scrutiny. People are asking questions like, 'What is sparking on second 18?' Also, if you say anything wrong or if you try to fake something, the public doesn't buy into it, so you have to be honest in a campaign like this."

Blendtec has used this video marketing campaign to tap into a new demographic like the 12-24 year old category.

"These people aren't in need of blenders, but they are the ones watching YouTube," Mr. Dickson said. "So when these kids go to Costco with their parents, where we do demos, they go crazy and the parents buy the blender. This is a whole new demographic that we have tapped into."

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