Grasshopper, an 800 phone number provider for small businesses in the US, rebranded itself. To advertise the new name (they were previously known as GotVMail) and brand, they grafted a clever marketing strategy.
They started with compiling a list of the 5,000 most influential people in the US. It included influential bloggers, journalists, celebrities, TV anchors, and CEOs (Pete Cashmore, Adam Ostrow, and Tamar Weinberg).
Then they created a package to be sent by snail mail consisting of real chocolate covered grasshoppers ( a wink to their new name) with a simple message and video URL. The URL linked to an inspirational YouTube video about how entrepreneurs can change the world.
The packages were shipped out by FedEx last May. Some of the recipients (Josh Lohensohn of CNET) posted videos online of themselves eating the grasshopper. The campaign created a lot of buzz, especially on blogs and Twitter.
Some data (source: mashable.com):
- 4,911% traffic increase from April to May 2009
- 144,843 video views with 162 comments
- 1,500 tweets- 120 blog posts in one month
- Tweets from Guy Kawasaki, Kevin Rose, and Jason Calacanis
- 7 national TV mentions, including FOX
What are the success factors?
A sound concept
This was not just a renaming/rebranding, but a repositioning of the company. Needham-based GotVMail Communications LLC is a maker of communication systems for small businesses. They wanted to relaunch their company targeting entrepreneurship – a shift from being a telecommunications company to a company that helped entrepreneurs.
A theme that makes sense
The company chose the grasshopper to communicate the idea of jumping forward. Since grasshoppers can jump 20 times their own size, they nicely symbolize small businesses (their potential customers) that want to leap forward.
The grasshoppers were farm-raised insects and dipped in chocolate. They were very professional packaged and clearly stated what was inside.
The front of the envelope said:
“Yes, these are real grasshoppers. Approved by the FDA of Thailand”.
On the back was written:
“You’re a risk-taker, a dream-realizer. What’s left to do that you haven’t already done? Eat a grasshopper. They’re farm raised, covered in chocolate and rich in protein. So, not only will you be breaking boundaries, but you’ll be eating healthy, too.”
The call to action was on the attached tag:
Entrepreneurs can change the world. Join the movement now!http://grasshopper.com/idea
Perfect marketing mix
This campaign combines a snail mail FedEx package with word of mouth (WOM) and social media. The landing page of the video URL made it easy for postings on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites using an AddThis widget.
The Grasshopper campaign was able to achieve its main goals with a small budget:
- To get attention
- To hold interest
- To get people talking
- To be considered as a supplier
No word if PETA was among the 5,000…..