Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Um ... Thanks, But No Thanks!

Yesterday, I got a FedEx package containing a surprise: Chocolate-covered grasshoppers!

Turns out that the little critters are a promotion for a telephone system targeting small business owners.

Marketing folks, take note: They rebranded from GotVMail to Grasshopper, using the tagline, "Entrepreneurs Can Change The World." Their website urges potential customers to "Join the movement now!"

Quite a transformation, from a mundane company name and mission to a memorable brand that literally "jumps out at you."

The marketing piece inside the package dared me to take a risk and snack on the little goodies. Not me! I could hardly open the bag and when I did, just looking at them made me shudder.

But then I have a deep-seated revulsion to large insects that goes back to a childhood vacation at the Salton Sea when I was five or six.

We stayed overnight and woke up to a scene straight out of the Old Testament: Grasshoppers everywhere. All over the walkways, stacked up on walls and littering the grass. Most of them were dead, but I found a live one and bent down to look closely at it.

My proximity must have been threatening, because it shot some kind of brown liquid at me that looked like tobacco juice. It didn't hurt, but it startled me so badly that I screamed my head off. I've had a visceral reaction to grasshoppers ever since.

So I'm not a fan of the delicacies, but I have to give them thumbs up for getting my attention! What do you think?


  1. I think that's a very clever marketing campaign.

    And I'd have tried one of the chocolate-covered hoppers, as long as it was dark chocolate.

  2. I heard a few other folks received the promotion as well and, like you, complemented their efforts. I guess it did the job - and got everyone's attention!

  3. Darn it, Susan! I should've saved one for you. :-)

    I wouldn't be able to get beyond the ugghhhh factor, I'm afraid. One of (many) reasons I love watching The Amazing Race (best reality show on TV) but I could never be a contestant. I'd love figuring out the travel logistics and seeing all the sights, but the bungee jumping and the bug-eating would do me in!

    Pam, if everyone's talking about it, they definitely achieved their goal!

  4. Making an impression is good, as long as it's a good impression. The positioning of "hey, it's kind of weird, but you might like it," is not a good one for a mid-day snack, or a company for that matter. I would go with the chocolate covered Oreos any day of the week and twice on Sundays (and often do)!

  5. Interesting feedback, Bob. I thought the positioning of the risk-taking aspect of the weird/scary snack and their hoped-for connection with risk-taking entrepreneurs was a bit of a stretch, too.

    Not an Oreo fan myself, but I buy a lot of them for my Oreo-loving family!