Frozen food is a gamble if ever there was one. Sometimes you luck out and lunch is a 5-minute microwaveable miracle. And other times? You kick yourself for being so easily seduced by the scrumptious images on the package– since the product inside tastes less like those pictures and far more like the cardboard box it came in.
By now you've likely heard of BlendTec's zany series of online videos in which the founder uses his company's high-end blenders to pose various "Will it Blend?" challenges. From blending iPhones and glowsticks to footballs and even the Federal Bailout Bill, BlendTec has produced a viral hit, many laughs and an incredible surge in profits.
FreezerBurns, on the other hand, isn't a Web show that focuses on a product that the company produces, but on brands that the show's host consumes (literally). Enter Greg Ng; the self-proclaimed "frozen food master" who eats his way through the frozen foods aisle one box–and one brand–at a time.
The show's genius is focusing on an aspect of food reviews that, until now, has been untapped yet is ubiquitous: frozen food.
Since October of last year, Greg has published over 130 reviews featuring products from 105 different brands. A likable, down-to-earth guy, Greg's an everyman, if you will. I think of him as the Web's resident Frozen Foodie. For some context, please just view this 2-minute overview of his show:
Giving viewers "Everything you need to know to make an informed decision in the freezer aisle," Greg assesses the product packaging, clarity of the directions, nutrition information, how the product looks, smells and tastes–and whether the product was worth the price. And then he wraps up each segment by rating each product on a scale of 0-5 stars.
Offering variety not just in the foods he reviews but in his review formats, Greg provides 3 different types of shows. From single in-depth reviews to popular one-word quick reviews where he tastes the food on camera and says the first word that comes to mind, to occasional "Frowdowns" (short for "Frozen Food Throwdowns") where he compares different brands head to head–as he did during National Pancake Week where he compared Aunt Jemima's frozen pancakes against Pillsbury's... and aptly did the breakfast segment in a bathrobe.
But we're not here to talk food (though it's one of my favorite topics). We're here to talk marketing. And what perplexes me is just how little these reviews–as well as the myriad of other reviews and commentary for products and services that circulate the Web daily–are being leveraged by brand marketers. After all, they provide us such tremendous opportunity. It's enough to make a marketer scratch their head, or pull her hair out.
I could understand if the reviews were negative, but so many of them are positive. On average the products that Greg reviews receive 3.5 stars. Even more compelling? For each of Greg's reviews the brand is front and center for the entirety of the show which equates to anywhere between 1-12 minutes. Ergo, the brands are truly the *star* of each segment.
Thus far, only 4 of Greg's segments have been sponsored by brands–and by "sponsored" I mean that companies have sent Greg foods to review (he doesn't accept payment from brands to review their foods as his segments are objective critiques). But even fewer of his reviews have received any acknowledgment whatsoever by companies– yet consumer testimonials are the strongest form of advertising because they come from the mouth of the customer not the company.
Alas, the tides might be starting to slowly turn as a few smart brands have pointed to Greg's review on their blog or Facebook page and, in the boldest move yet, Margaritaville Foods is currently featuring Greg's review on their homepage after finding out how highly he rated one of their products.
My biggest idea for FreezerBurns is that it could also be featured on a television food network. I'd suggest keeping the segments on the Web, but perhaps give viewers a snapshot of the most recent review during programming and then pointing them to Greg's online series for full segments. Or, give Greg an entire show and let frozen foodies unite across broadcast and social media.
But my key takeaways for marketers of all flavors (not just food) entail:
So there you go marketers, a host of lessons straight from the frozen food aisle! Please let me know if I've missed any key takeaways– and if you'd like for FreezerBurns to review a frozen food that you like, or are curious about trying, just drop it in the comments. Bon appetite!