Extreme Blending Whirls Orem Business into National Spotlight

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    By Andrew Hill

    For Tom Dickson, a regular day at the office may include organizing paperwork, answering his phone, working on his computer and then taking it all, jamming it into his blender and hitting frappe.

    Willitblend.com is the popular Web site of Orem-based company Blendtec. It has been making a name for the company and generating significant sales increases because of a new series of videos called “Will it Blend?” Dickson, the company owner and founder, is also the star of the videos, which put his blenders to the test as he tries to prove that “yes, it blends!”

    The videos feature Dickson using his blender to reduce anything, including golf clubs, cell phones, Barbie dolls and iPods, to little more than powder in a matter of seconds.

    The extreme blending videos, featured on Willitblend.com and YouTube, have quickly established themselves among some of the most popular videos on the web. The web site has received more than 20 million views since launching about two and one half months ago.

    “When we started ”Will it Blend?” it was initially intended to be a brand awareness campaign,” said George Wright, marketing director for Blendtec. “It”s a way for us to tell people that the best blenders in the world are made right here at Blendtec, right in Orem.”

    It”s working.

    “Internet sales have grown exponentially,” Wright said.

    The Web site”s out-of-the-ordinary blending has brought Blendtec into the national spotlight by landing it a featured spot on the Today Show just before Thanksgiving and more recently, an appearance on iVillage Live filmed in Orlando.

    Extreme blending is not new to Blendtec. The company has been producing its tough blenders for years and has been blending objects like two-by-fours to test the quality and durability of different blender parts all that time.

    Commercial businesses, like coffee and smoothie shops, make up the bulk of Blendtec”s business, but a desire to gain a stronger presence inside the home is what prompted Blendtec to produce the “Will it Blend?” campaign.

    One reason the videos have spread so quickly is because of the appeal created from their entertaining and comedic nature.

    “I think it”s stupid, yet one of the most entertaining things I”ve ever seen,” said Kelli Edwards, a BYU sophomore majoring in integrative biology.

    Because the videos are only found on the Internet, Blendtec must rely on the videos” humor to bring customers to them.

    “The whole model of marketing and advertising has changed,” said Clint Rogers, research assistant in the eBusiness Center of the Marriott Business School.

    Rogers said the old in-your-face style of marketing is being tuned out because people have much more control over what they view thanks to new technologies like TiVo.

    “What does work is when people add value [to their message] by making it entertaining, educational or giving something for free and then imbedding they”re branding or marketing message,” Rogers said.

    Another reason Blendtec designed “Will it Blend?” to be entertaining was to generate popularity through word of mouth. The concept is called viral marketing.

    “People see it and they love it and they tell their friends,” Wright said.

    The blenders used in the videos are the same blenders that Blendtec sells online, and have not been altered to perform their heavy duty blending.

    “My roommate owns one,” said Jordan Smith, a senior from South Jordan. “I saw [him] turn a bunch of ice into snow. It was just kind of a fine powder. They”re pretty impressive.”

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