How far would you go to market a promotional deal from your company? There’s the standard options of sending out some circulars and emails. You could employ the slightly more costly method of advertising on a webpage or magazine. You could hire one of those poor guys that stand out on the side of a road dressed as a gorilla while holding up signs about today’s specials. You could also reach out to thousands of commuters at once and blow up your name on the side of a billboard.
Or, if you’e ZooGue CEO Tim Angel, you don’t mess around with those conventional methods of advertising. Instead, you release a video of yourself dipping an iPad into a stream of lava.
See the video below:
ZooGue is an online retailer of iPad cases as well as other cases for other mobile devices. They’ve recently developed a case for the iPhone 4S, which is what prompted the adventure you saw in the video. On their website, they describe themselves as the business type that “always thinks outside of the box.” I think dipping an iPad into a flowing stream of lava would qualify that claim.
So about that video.
I was slightly alarmed by the video when I first found it so I snooped around the Internet for some info until, unsatisfied with what I learned (or, as it were, didn’t learn), I wrote to Angel himself to get the story.
“This was actually simply for marketing reasons only,” he says. “The goal was to make an entertaining original homemade video to get tons of views and get the word out about our free iPhone cases.” The free cases he mentioned are available for the iPhone 4S and you can find out more about the offer on ZooGue’s website or via the included video below.
You may think that treating your iPad to a bath of molten lava wouldn’t be all that difficult, but apparently lava isn’t such a willing co-star in marketing videos. In his email to WebProNews, Angel explains the tribulations involved in capturing the video:
This video is about six months in the making. It was not easy and this was actually my second time to the volcano in Hawai. The first time I failed miserably; I wasn’t even able to see a drop of lava. Months later a friend that I met in Hawaii during the first time sent me an email and said lava was flowing great and that I should fly over there.
So this time I was gonna make sure I had it planned right. I reserved a helicopter to take us to the lava and rented a car to drive wherever I needed to go. I was running really late to the airport because I had overslept. I was running to my gate and then when I got there it turned out the plane was two hours late. So I waited and then flew to Hilo. When I landed at 11PM I received a voicemail that the helicopter company was canceling because it was too dangerous to land near the lava. Then it started pouring rain and of course I thought, “Noooo, not again.” We were supposed to take the helicopter in the morning in just seven hours. My flight back to California was scheduled for the very next evening so there was no time for error. I thought, “There is no way I can fail again.” So I called my friend and asked if I could hike out to the lava. He said I could but it will be a few hours and he would go as well. So that’s what we did and we made it. The lava was so amazing we stayed there and watched it for six hours. It was a successful but stressful trip. The two-hour hike back was two hours in the rain in a t-shirt. It was not fun, but hey, I didn’t really care I completed my mission.
So the most obvious question to this mission is: was it worth it? It seems like a costly marketing campaign, and not just because of the sacrificial iPad that got committed to the lava. Renting cars isn’t exactly cheap, and I’d imagine renting a helicopter is even moreso (who knew you could even rent those things?). And more importantly, did the stunt even get his company the attention he’d hoped for?
Well. You just found about ZooGue’s promotion, didn’t you?