October 25, 2014

Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers: An Example of a Viral Re-Brand

A few days ago, Lisa Barone wrote an article about the need to tell your story about your business, using social media tools.

One of the examples she mentioned was the re-branding of virtual switchboard and voice mail services provider, GotVMail, to Grasshopper.  She noted:

“Earlier this week, 5,000 influential marketers were sent chocolate covered grasshoppers to snack on and blog about. The grasshoppers were blogged, tweeted, and linked to all over the Web. It was a viral marketing campaign used to get the company attention and to tell people what Grasshopper.com was all about. And in just 24 hours, people learned that it was a phone system company that cared about entrepreneurs. In one day, thousands of people knew their story.”

I happened to be one of those so-called “influential marketers” who received a package of the chocolate-covered grasshoppers.  A few days ago I received a FedEx envelope  — what John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing refers to as “lumpy mail” — a package containing more than simply a flat letter.

The office mail clerk (ahem… my husband) announced it came from a company called Grasshopper.  Not knowing what that was, and being seriously over-scheduled the past few days, I did not even have time to open the package.  I set it aside.  There the package sat — until I was going through my mail this beautiful sunny morning.  That lumpy package was the first one I opened:

Re-brand lumpy mail with grasshoppers

Here’s a close-up of the package of chocolate-covered grasshoppers.  The footnote says they are real grasshoppers, and “even approved by the FDA of Thailand”:

Grasshopper rebrand package close-up

The package label sends you to a URL where you can watch a video, at http://grasshopper.com/idea.

I will tell you that the grasshoppers are seriously lumpy in that package.  You might have to eat each one in more than one bite.

I won’t be eating them though. The thought of eating bugs would take a more culinary-adventurous person than I am.

So what’s the connection with entrepreneurs and small businesses and grasshoppers?  As Rob May, founder of Lifestream Backup,  noted to me on Twitter this morning: “My theory is that anyone tough enough to eat a grasshopper is tough enough to start their own business.”

Rob, there may be something to that.  This is the other side of the package, and the wording ties together being an an entrepreneur and eating the little 6-legged creatures, where it says “You’re a risk-taker, a dream-realizer.  What’s left to do that you haven’t already done?  Eat a grasshopper.”

Eat a grasshopper, entrepreneur!

The re-branding campaign of GotVMail seems to be working in the sense of getting buzz.  Lots of people are talking about the company and those grasshoppers.  Social media helps the word spread fast.  But of course, people on social media are notorious for having ADD (attention deficit disorder), and soon move on to the next shiny thing to talk about. The real test will be how the re-brand story plays out over time.  Does it translate into more customers and increased business?  Will Grasshopper be a more memorable or evocative or impactful brand than GotVMail?

Stefan Pollack, President of Pollack PR Marketing Group, is following this re-brand to see how it is working.  He said this morning on Twitter, “I asked them for a recap of the outcomes to use as a case. I will share when/ if I get it.”  Stefan, we look forward to that, too.  It will be interesting to follow the story of the GotVMail brand morphing into Grasshopper.

Meanwhile, I sit here wondering what to do with those chocolate covered grasshoppers.  If anybody would like them, email me with your mailing address.  I will be happy to send them to you – first come, first served. Thanks — the chocolate covered grasshoppers have been claimed!  :)

30 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

30 Reactions

  1. Oh come on, why don’t you want to eat those? LOL. :) They sound so appealing, I’m getting hungry just looking at the little bugg eyed guy on the front.

    Wow, they really took the time to come up good creative packaging. It definitely gets people to stop and take notice. And it’s so unique that there’s a good chance of those people who received them to show it to others.

  2. If they are covered in good quality chocolate, I wouldn’t mind testing it. Have they printed the company name of the candy? It sounds that it could come from a similar company like Extreme Food here in Gothenburg, Sweden.

  3. I got the grasshopper package. Having lived in Asia for many years I’ve already eaten grasshoppers. I like fried scorpions much more. They have a popcorn like quality which makes them fun to eat.

    I tried the chocolate covered ones and they were pretty good. Sort of like M&Ms, but crunchier on the inside.

    I also thought it was a pretty good marketing effort. I went to the site and I’m spending time talking about it now. And, of course, being featured on Small Business Trends (with photos) is a good thing.

    I hope the Grasshopper folks do a case study on this showing how it turned out. This would be useful for the rest of us and provide more coverage of Grasshopper.

  4. Mmmm…grasshoppers…tasty.

    I do have to wonder whether anyone will realize that they offer phone services for small businesses, etc.

    Is “branding” so important that you can completely ignore the products and services you offer, and hope people remember the chocolate in a few months?

    Will be interesting to see how this develops. Kudos to them for generating so much buzz.

    And for giving us so much to chew on.

  5. Hi,
    I always wanted to try those chocolate covered insects. Only if to prove to myself that they actually existed. My dad used to tell me about how he ate them, along with chocolate covered ant cookies, and I never knew if he was kidding or not.

    I was not one of the folks who received a grasshopper package, but I saw the video over at JimKukral.com, and posted on a local business blog that I run. {NEObizblog.com}

    So, the most important questions that I have is;

    Were they nice and cruuunchy?

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  6. “I do have to wonder whether anyone will realize that they offer phone services for small businesses, etc.”

    Hell NO. They might as well sell potatoe chips. Grasshopper could just as easily describe a snack company as a telephone company. six months from now they will wake up to realize the big bucks they wasted.

  7. Oh My! Why did I missed this? I could already have tried this chocolate coated grasshoppers.

    Two thumbs up for Grasshopper company: for the buzz it gets from renowned marketers, the attention it received from entrepreneurs and other expectators and the traffic it gets from this campaign!

  8. So did I eat the grasshoppers? NO. My step-father is coming into town this weekend and he has been know to eat an insect or two intentionally and unintentionally. I remeber hearing about him eating a container of chocoalte covered ants from the local Asian market before so I think I will let him taste test them.

  9. Thanks Anita for letting me know I missed out on getting the chocolate covered grasshoppers to taste and review.

    Probably best. Would likely have nightmares about large grasshoppers coming to get me. Great to discover your blog.

  10. This is hilarious. This company hasn’t put out a new product in 3 years so they change the name to try to generate buzz. In the meantime all the competitors have passed them by while they still have the same stale product with no new features.

  11. Hmmm.. Bill, I didn’t have an idea about what their existence before… So why they are stale?

  12. I just knew that Martin would volunteer to eat those little green critters. I just knew it! He’s a wild man.

  13. TJ:

    Yes, as a “chile head” I am living on the wild side! ;)

    8chocolate: Have you reviewed any chile pepper chocolate?

  14. EEWWLLLL…lol I dont think I could eat these.

  15. I like chocolate and I like bugs… This article has definitely made my mind up about one thing. Where can I find me some chocolate covered grasshoppers!?

    My own twisted tastes aside, this is genius! As a marketing major currently under going the final stages toward graduating all I have to say is that this kind of buzz/viral marketing is sole future of how to market.

  16. Nice gismo – but you have to look beyond the marketing. Marketing will only work wrapped around substance, you can’t market air.

  17. Chocolate covered grasshoppers? I’m a big food and chocolate fan, but I think even that may be too much lol :)

  18. Gimmicks are good, usefulness is better. Make sure that you don’t just stick in people’s minds – even a migraine can do that.

  19. What a unique idea. I sold Advertising Specialties for a number of years encouraging people to do something like this. You have to get and keep your name in front of people. We all have Attention Deficit Disorder.

  20. You have a very beautiful carpet… Seems to be “Heirs” design. Could you send me a photo of that, if you don’t mind… :-) It is just out of curiosity… And I bet on it being “Heirs” carpet with my friend so we want to make sure before she is going to take me out for dinner ;-)
    By the way, take a good care of that beauty…

  21. You know it’s coming from entrepreneurs when their first delivery is full of bugs…

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