Thursday, August 5, 2010

Viral "epic nervous breakdown" video helps startup get distribution

Counter to what many think, your business is never too small for major media exposure. That's why I like stories like this one about Vital Energy, an energy drink created by a couple of recent college grads who have been selling it into stores themselves. These guys created one of the funniest product videos I've ever seen and, as hoped, it has gone viral, with more than one million online views. The video is going to be featured on a TruTV cable show and is being considered for MTV's Pranked.

Haven't seen the "epic nervous breakdown" video starring the (poor) mother of one of the founders? (She is a friend of a friend, who tells me the mom is normally pretty calm.) Here it is:

Most of the press surrounding this adventure has been in the trade and local media, which is the ideal mix for the company at this stage. Local media exposure is crucial to getting local distribution, particularly in Wegmans supermarkets. Starting locally helps them get the bugs out of their systems and learn as they do. If the guys can get the drink into their local Wegmans stores, they can probably get it picked up in other Wegmans supermarkets throughout the Northeast.

The trade publication exposure supports their distribution efforts. They don't have much much conventional consumer media exposure yet, but that's OK -- before they get on Good Morning America or Regis & Kelly, they should have much more widespread distribution.

I suspect these guys have a lot to learn yet about product manufacturing, distribution, and marketing, but their product video is sheer genius. Congratulations to them. I hope they enjoy fabulous success and are in a position to mentor other young entrepreneurs in the future.

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