one day old snowblower ad goes viral - nearly 30,000 views!!

19 replies
From snowy New Brunswick in Canada: This is just such a great piece of copy - I don't know if this guy has sold it yet, but I'll be AMAZED if he hasn't!!

Enjoy!

11HP/29" Snowblower - Moncton Tools & Hardware For Sale - Kijiji Moncton Canada.
#day #snowblower #views #viral
  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    I just came here to post the exact same thing. Hilarious.
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  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    "And it’s only 4 years old. I dare you to find a harder working 4 year old. My niece is five and she gets tired and cranky after just a few minutes of shoveling. This guy just goes and goes and goes. " awesome
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    • Profile picture of the author Verisimilitude
      The copy is funny and entertaining for sure, but it still doesn't tell me much about the snowblower itself other than the fact that it's 4 years old, supposedly has been well-taken care of, has push-to-start, and has a light.

      When you consider the process from start to finish of how a consumer might consider and then purchase a snowblower, the copy falls apart somewhat. After all, it's a relatively high involvement product, as well as one that likely won't be easily shown off to peers, so a humor-motivated impulse buy doesn't seem all too likely to me.

      Then again, just my 2 cents.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenboss
        Originally Posted by Verisimilitude View Post

        The copy is funny and entertaining for sure, but it still doesn't tell me much about the snowblower itself other than the fact that it's 4 years old, supposedly has been well-taken care of, has push-to-start, and has a light.

        When you consider the process from start to finish of how a consumer might consider and then purchase a snowblower, the copy falls apart somewhat. After all, it's a relatively high involvement product, as well as one that likely won't be easily shown off to peers, so a humor-motivated impulse buy doesn't seem all too likely to me.

        Then again, just my 2 cents.
        Ah, well, Verisimilitude, whilst I partially agree, I believe you are talking about "sensible" consumers, like we all like to think we are. The truth is that thousands of consumers are anything but! Sensible or not, though, - if you are in the market for a snowblower, this ad is definitely getting your attention. This is much more than entertaining - he is definitely pushing emotional buttons. He's targeting the first time buyer, and making him feel like he's going to be landing on his feet with the snowblower equivalent of a Ferrari for just 900 Canadian bucks! Or less!!! Who cares about specs?

        As for "won't be easily shown off to peers" I disagree - there is a huge envy factor with snowblowers, and he takes great care to paint it like this is some kinda veritable Show-Off MACHINE!!!

        BTW I just checked again - over 187,000 views, at this moment of writing, and the ad is still only 2 days old. OK, that is obviously for its entertainment value above all, but hey, it does show the value of humour and sharp writing for creating exposure. And since the ad itself now has celebrity status, the guy who actually buys it is going to feel pretty damn cool!! I doubt very much our seller has had to settle for less than 900 - he may even have a bidding war on his hands!
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        • Profile picture of the author Verisimilitude
          Originally Posted by kenboss View Post

          Ah, well, Verisimilitude, whilst I partially agree, I believe you are talking about "sensible" consumers, like we all like to think we are. The truth is that thousands of consumers are anything but! Sensible or not, though, - if you are in the market for a snowblower, this ad is definitely getting your attention. This is much more than entertaining - he is definitely pushing emotional buttons. He's targeting the first time buyer, and making him feel like he's going to be landing on his feet with the snowblower equivalent of a Ferrari for just 900 Canadian bucks! Or less!!! Who cares about specs?

          As for "won't be easily shown off to peers" I disagree - there is a huge envy factor with snowblowers, and he takes great care to paint it like this is some kinda veritable Show-Off MACHINE!!!

          BTW I just checked again - over 187,000 views, at this moment of writing, and the ad is still only 2 days old. OK, that is obviously for its entertainment value above all, but hey, it does show the value of humour and sharp writing for creating exposure. And since the ad itself now has celebrity status, the guy who actually buys it is going to feel pretty damn cool!! I doubt very much our seller has had to settle for less than 900 - he may even have a bidding war on his hands!
          You're right. Not everyone is always logical. I often catch myself telling others the same thing.

          However, would you agree that the urge to be sensible grows significantly when the price of a product jumps from $90, to $900, to $9000? (Not always! Ok, ok, I get it! )There's a reason why the term "high-involvement purchase/product" exists, after all.

          Granted, even then there will be people out there who will shell out $9k, $90k or even $900k on an impulse buy.

          But out of those 187k views, how many are views simply for the entertainment? How many of them even live in a place that gets more than a couple of inches of snow a year?

          He's got the awareness down pat, but I think it's debatable that generating mass amounts of awareness will work for the sale of all products. Some, yes.

          I suppose time will tell.

          P.S. Ever notice how creatives (art directors, copywriters) tend to read into each others' works and the "possibilities" they could generate a little more deeply than "normal people"? This is just a little something I've come to notice from talking with and working with groups of aspiring copywriters and art directors.

          It's almost like we want a creative to succeed if they impress us with their work, even if their work is only impressive to us because we understand the process of creating copy/art direction/etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author ericbryant
    OK that was funny! For better or for worse on the technicalities of ad copy being discussed above, there is no doubt this ad accomplished its purpose!
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    • Profile picture of the author AnneE
      Do I detect a hint of jealousy in some of those "how many of the 30K visitors are serious buyers?" questions. Really? I mean, seriously?

      He only needs a tiny fraction of the readers to be potential buyers. If I was buying the only question I still would have other than whether it was still available was a better answer on why he is selling it. But he only needs one buyer -- this isn't an ebook that he is trying to sell dozens of copies of.

      I can understand that it got passed on, but I'm wondering how originally the word got out. I mean how many people are casually reading Canadian classified ads?

      Any idea beyond the quality of the copywriting, how this one spread?
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      • Profile picture of the author kenboss
        Originally Posted by AnneE View Post


        Any idea beyond the quality of the copywriting, how this one spread?
        That old chestnut, Social Networking! Somebody posted it on Facebook, that's where I got it. But I have to admit that all of Verissimilitude's excellent points have just notched up some cred here, because I just checked it again - its views have nearly doubled to over 325,000, BUT there is an update at the end, saying that the snowblower is "still available". Hmmmmm!
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      • Profile picture of the author Verisimilitude
        Originally Posted by AnneE View Post

        Do I detect a hint of jealousy in some of those "how many of the 30K visitors are serious buyers?" questions. Really? I mean, seriously?

        You sure do. Of course I'm jealous! I'd be surprised if I had the smarts to rack up 3K visitors, let alone 300K+.


        He only needs a tiny fraction of the readers to be potential buyers. If I was buying the only question I still would have other than whether it was still available was a better answer on why he is selling it. But he only needs one buyer -- this isn't an ebook that he is trying to sell dozens of copies of.

        Please refer to the parthian shot in my previous post.

        I can understand that it got passed on, but I'm wondering how originally the word got out. I mean how many people are casually reading Canadian classified ads?

        Any idea beyond the quality of the copywriting, how this one spread?

        If it's funny, it'll probably spread on the internet. Hell, there were plenty of facebook pages with titles such as "like this if you <insert something here>" that managed to rack up similar numbers almost overnight. Of course, FB then caught on that a lot of the creators of these pages were spamming people and doing unsavory things, so they shut most of them down.

        Also, content doesn't even necessarily have to be "good" or "quality" to go viral. Conversion is another matter altogether. Just look at the lolcats phenomenon. I've heard tons about it even on the news, and yet I've yet to hear any news outlet reporting about any sudden increases in cat ownership as a result of the internet sensation.

        It's way easier to share ideas and funny things on the internet. Most of the time, you just have to click a button or two, or copy+paste. Does that mean trying to get high traffic numbers is bad? No! More visitors = more chance of one buying your product. But at the same time, focusing too much on humor and entertainment might also cause one to lose sight of what really drives people to buy if one is not careful.
        I apologize if I came across as a rabid debbie-downer in my previous post. I genuinely am just interested in overanalyzing copy for the sake of overanalyzing copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Faber
    Well, now it's apparently sold, but has over 352,800 views.
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenalowe
    the first paragraph is killer - talk about writing copy to self-select the audience!

    Do you like shoveling snow? Then stop reading this and go back to your pushups and granola because you are not someone that I want to talk to.
    Selects the interested reader, establishes the tone and humor of the piece, and creates an "us" vs "them" mentality in the reader in two sentences.

    Brilliant.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Ha! Great stuff!
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  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMonkey
    Honestly i'm just gutted it's sold. It doesn't snow much here in the UK but somehow I feel like less of a man for not owning this snowdoom machine!
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  • LOL...

    Cute copy.

    There's some interesting conversion things to think about here.

    As the guy only had one product, 350k to 1 is all the conversion rate he needed. From that viewpoint, he chose his sales approach wisely and, from the looks of things, had a ball doing it.

    But if he had a lot of snow blowers, I think a different tone would have been more effective.

    Oops...

    I just checked to make sure and maybe I stand corrected on that last statement.

    Here's an excerpt from a blog post this guy, Blognostifier, did on Sunday (Nov. 27) when his view figures were sill catching fire: The Snowblower That Ate the Internet: SOLD.

    I have received almost 1,400 emails which have included
    • job offers
    • requests for dates
    • requests to teach people to write ads
    • a request from a teacher for permission to use my ad as an example of persuasive writing (my mother is so proud!)
    • marriage proposals
    • people who thought they knew me, but were wrong
    • people who didn't think they knew me, but were also wrong
    • lots of speculation on my career
    • some speculation as to whether I was running some kind of scam
    • more compliments and encouragement than I've received since the day I introduced my future wife to my family
    • and buried deep, deep down, even a few actual offers to buy my snowblower
    Before I checked, I was gonna say, "Shows to go ya', it's not just the quantity of traffic, but the quality."

    Heh. That didn't work out too well, now did it? Don't cha love it when the facts don't fit your presumptions?

    Oh well... I guess being a sudden celebrity snow-blower guy comes with its own reality...



    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Tscott
    Conversions may not have been great, but it sure is a great lesson on a piece going viral!
    It really does show what is possible as far as having far reaching effects.
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  • Profile picture of the author AngieDixon
    I'm working on a Craigslist ad, and this is great inspiration. I don't want to copy this guy, of course, but I do think some humor and humanity goes a long way. I loved all the comments and feedback he got. Stories like this make me laugh; it was a funny ad. But they're also useful for the idea hopper.
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    • Profile picture of the author ASCW
      "And it's only 4 years old. I dare you to find a harder working 4 year old. My niece is five and she gets tired and cranky after just a few minutes of shoveling. This guy just goes and goes and goes."

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  • Profile picture of the author Ben_R
    i didnt realise you could write copy like this to sell - i can be funny - ive made people laugh i think we all can - i thin it takes courage to post it -- and not have a tad of seriousness ---
    ----- easier to do on a web copy then printed - shall try this out
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    • Profile picture of the author Centurian
      That's rich. ROFL

      Great copy! Yep, it's SOLD.
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