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Responsible Marketing

Chocolate covered grasshoppers get people talking

By May 14, 2009January 29th, 20218 Comments

Yesterday, I received a lumpy mailer from a company I’d never heard of. Normally I give unsolicited mail about the same amount of consideration you probably do—a few seconds.

But since it was, well, lumpy, and delivered via FedEx I opened it. Here’s what I found:


On one side, it says “Yes, these are real grasshoppers. They’ve even been approved by the FDA of Thailand.”

On the other side:

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 attached tag included the call to action:

Entrepreneurs can change the world.
Join the movement now!

I really didn’t have the time, but I couldn’t resist jumping on this to learn what it was all about. The URL takes you to a page with the following video:

As it turns out, Grasshopper offers a nicely-packaged virtual PBX service for businesses. It’s a direct competitor to Grand Central, a similar service recently purchased by Google that’s locked down while Google integrates it into their systems.

Five things I loved about this campaign

  1. The FedEx package made it feel urgent without using deceptive “Urgent – Open Immediately” language. This is message responsible.
  2. Lumpy mail gets opened.
  3. This is textbook example of how to do a word of mouth campaign. Chocolate covered grasshoppers? I had to share this with colleagues and with you.
  4. A little mystery goes a long way. There was no sales copy—just a creative idea and a URL to learn more. Irresistible.
  5. The landing page made it easy to share the video on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and and a host of other sites using an AddThis widget.

And the three things I didn’t love

  1. Each tag was numbered, X of 5,000, and I understand after doing some research for this post that Grasshopper sent these packages to the people they deemed the 5,000 most influential people in America. Very flattering. But at first I thought I might need this code when I logged onto the website. Not so. This is not a limited edition keepsake, it’s a marketing piece. And by letting me know there were so many produced, it made me feel less special—at least initially.
  2. The moving-text style video that was so fresh and interesting a year ago is beginning to get tired. I still like it, but it would seem every ‘movement’ has a video like this associated with it.
  3. Which brings me to the whole ‘movement’ thing. I like to be inspired as much as the next entrepreneur, but I’m approaching my ‘movement’ saturation point. How many movements can one person truly join?

Still, Grasshopper has succeeded where most fail. In one fell swoop, they got my attention, held it, and they got me talking. And though I don’t need their service, If I did, I’d consider them.

So, what do you think of Grasshopper’s campaign?

Would you eat a chocolate covered grasshopper? (I won’t)

But if you’d like to try one, contact me and we’ll make it happen. I’ll post a video of you eating one here and you’ll be famous.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Impressive! Yes, I think this is a truly responsible marketing campaign…

    As is another I saw in this story: Well-placed logo you have included in the picture! Not a bad idea to include your branding in the story!

    (But I think I will pass on the offer of the new protein source.)

  • Ha! You noticed our logo.

    Believe it or not, that wasn’t intentional.

    I stepped outside my office door, snapped two pictures of pack with my iPhone and kept the one that wasn’t blurry. It just kinda worked out that way.

    Sure you won’t bite on the chocolate covered grasshopper offer?

  • If you’re a fan of Amazing Race, you’ll be happy that at least these have chocolate on them! Actually if you were in the San Francisco area, I would take you up on your offer =)

  • J. Wong says:

    From your details on receiving, opening, and even mentioning your experience online, I’d say the grasshopper campaign is pretty effective. And, as you mentioned, lumpy packages are a sure-fire way to get people to open mail. Offering that kind of simple, interactive experience is something that’s missing from traditional mail campaigns (or at least my mail anyway).

    I, too, could have done without the text animations. They’re seldom done effectively, and this one actually made me think of someone singing off key, and then I thought about beat poetry with the different text sizes. I can’t really remember much about the video, except the pause for the word “Entrepreneurs.”

    Overall, though, the packaging is definitely an attention-grabber, which should peak some interest in visiting the Web site. Who knows? Maybe the Grasshopper marketing team figured that most people wouldn’t eat chocolate-covered grasshoppers but would leave the package on their desk as a “Look at this unique piece of mail I received.”

    I don’t think I’m ready for the chocolate-covered grasshopper…

  • I can send you some. 🙂

  • Jeff Stern says:

    If you want to send this package to NC, I’m sure that I can find someone on our staff at the Museum of Life and Science willing to try it! We recently had an event where not only did our visitors and members eat a bunch of bugs, but they said they were better than the ribs they had eaten the night before:

  • Responsible AND creative. REALLY creative. I may actually pop a couple suckers into my mouth if we were sent something like this. And their whole delivery is perfect as it would get just about everyone opening it and visiting the website to see what it is and that’s the ultimate goal of a marketer. Good for them.

  • It appears that they accomplished exactly what they wanted. They created a motivation for you to check out what they were all about. Seems like an expertly run campaign.

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