If you build it, they will come. This is not just a line from a movie; it rings true for a man who recently sold 60 litres of hot dog water for $38 a bottle!
Douglas Bevans, a tour operator and performance artist by trade, wanted to test just how far marketing can take even the most ridiculous of products. His primary goal was to give people a reason to think critically about what they buy and why they buy it, yet still many people bought into his experiment. Although Bevans aimed to teach consumers a lesson, there is a lot we can take away from this story from a marketing perspective.
Why did so many people spend an absurd amount of money on hot dog water? From what I can see, here is what Bevans did right:
Buzzwords are used everywhere in marketing to catch the attention of consumers. Gluten-free, organic, and keto are just a few health-conscious buzzwords Bevans could truthfully associate with his hot dog water. But why were these buzzwords so effective? Consumers are increasingly conscious of what they put into their body, and 76% of consumers will spend more on products that are marketed to have health benefits. Choosing relevant buzzwords likely played a large part in the success of Hot Dog Water.
Offered a “Limited Time” Deal
Although the product was only available as an experiment at one local street festival, the festivalgoers didn’t know that. As far as they were concerned, the product had always been $38 and would go back to only being available at $38 after the festival. So when offered a time-sensitive, festival-only price of two bottles for $75, consumers couldn’t help themselves. Consumers are driven by exclusivity, so this deal was great for those who latched onto the bargain before realizing that the deal only saved them $1.
In today’s digital society, consumers appreciate transparency and are interested in getting to know company leaders on a more personal level. How often do you see CEOs actively selling their products to consumers? Bevans’ presence at the festival booth gave consumers the impression that he, as Hot Dog Waters’ CEO, truly believed in his product.
What added to this authentic experience is that Bevans wasn’t pretending to sell anything other than hot dog water. He could have given his company a more unique name to hide the fact that it sold hot dog water, but instead he was blatantly honest regarding the contents of the bottles. Consumers trusted the in-your-face honesty enough to hear out why hot dog water was worth purchasing.
Invested in Professional Branding
Bottles shaped like a hot dog in a bun could have made his experiment more recognizable as a ruse. Hot Dog Water’s professional branding, including the logo, packaging, and booth, gave some consumers pause regarding its feasibility. If it were a joke, it would look like a joke, right? And at $38 a bottle, it wouldn’t appeal to most consumers as a gag gift. By investing in serious branding, Bevans increased the likelihood that his product would be taken seriously.
So if you ever find yourself thinking that your product or service is difficult to market, remember that someone successfully sold thousands of dollars worth of hot dog water. What we can take from Bevans’ experiment is that if a fake business can be that successful, you better believe that your legitimate product or service has the potential for marketing greatness.
If you need help developing a unique marketing strategy, contact CreativeWorks Marketing today!