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Eating Your Own Dogfood

You’ll find this term used quite a bit on the Internet. When I talk about corporate blogging, I use the term since our company’s leads come directly from… corporate blogging.

That said, this is an inspiring photo that I found through StumbleUpon at Scott Rope’s blog. Talk about eating your own dogfood!

money_glass

What kind of advertising can you achieve by incorporating your own product? Would love to see some more examples of this!

10 Comments

  1. 1

    Great demo.

    B2B marketing needs more striking, memorable demonstrations like this.

    As a copywriting pup, I did one for my spec book: it had a man in jail with the cell door held closed by a Kryptonite bike lock. The headline was simply ‘Bike Thief’.

  2. 2

    Doug, although this makes for a great photo, the truth, in my opinion, makes this bad marketing.

    Actually, it was only $500 of real currency stacked on top of fake money, and people could only use their feet to try to break it. A security guard was present to make sure no one broke the rules and that people couldn’t get to keep the money if they broke it. –GizModo

    I think this promotion is at least a little deceptive, because only putting a few hundred bucks and having security present shows that the claims about the product far exceed actual capabilities. Don’t you feel a little deflated after you found out these facts?

    It’s also not really an example of “eating your own dogfood.” That’s a software industry term for doing testing on the applications you create by using them to run your own business. It is something you do at Compendium, but putting up a pile of almost entirely fake money and a security guard for a few hours in a public demonstration is not running your business on your product. For 3M to be actually “eating their own dogfood,” they would have to use their security glass to significantly protect corporate assets.

    People deserve to be treated with honesty and respect, and proudly using the products you create is a great way to show them that you believe in your own work. Putting together a controlled photo-op to generate false buzz seems less than entirely honest and respectful. This is a stunt, not a sustained demonstration of trust in your own products. I think 3M should react to how people have interpreted this photo and apologize.

    • 3

      Hi Robby!

      Wow – you’re a very literal observer! (complement, not insult).

      Re: Eating your own dogfood – whether the system is software or an advertisement, it doesn’t really matter. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

      Re: Advertisement – my appreciation is for the creativity involved in the advertisement. Whether it’s a stunt or not doesn’t matter; it gets people to think about the product or service.

      You’re assuming the intent was literal – that there’s a couple million dollars out in the open somewhere that 3M is protecting with their own glass. My assumption was different – simply that they wanted to tell a story. As soon as I see the picture, I understand the story.

      In my opinion, I believe it’s a powerful advertisement.

      • 4

        So you are saying that finding out the facts after seeing the photo had no impact on your perception of the advertisement? I predict that almost everyone who sees this photo and then learns that it was an afternoon stunt, there was a security guard, you could only kick the glass, and almost all the money was fake—will feel deflated. This is a hallmark of bad advertising: when you find out that what you thought was true actually isn’t.

        It is a great idea for 3M to demonstrate the strength of their glass in public. But why not set up a protected cube with a pile of bricks resting on sheet glass? Or creating a glass floor? These tell a great story which is entirely true!

        • 5

          I honestly don’t. Every advertisement we see nowadays exaggerates to ‘tell the story’, whether its a car commercial or a Google Adwords advertisement. Once again, I don’t think 3M’s intent was to lie, it was simply to come up with a creative advertisement.

          In this case, I think they did a good job. A pile of rocks on the glass wouldn’t have had the impact (in my opinion). That would talk to the ‘strength’ but not to the ‘security’ of the material.

          Now, had the photo been accompanied by a video or story stating that there was a million dollars in the panel and it was left for 30 days in a public spot, without security… then I would agree with you. However, 3M didn’t accompany the spot with any of those things.

          No one, in their right minds would go and build a new bank with a safe made out of 3M security glass after seeing this, would they? I think not.

  3. 6
  4. 7

    Sorry Doug, but I agree with Robby on this one. When I first saw the picture I couldn’t believe a company would be that confident of their product that they would stash so much money inside of it, just daring people to try to steal it.

    I was going to leave a comment on your site asking if they had any hidden video cameras showing people trying (and presumably failing) to break the glass.

    But once Robby spilled the beans about having a security guard, only using your feet and having mostly fake money, I felt deceived.

    I don’t necessarily think any less of 3M (I’ll still buy post-it notes) but the ad clearly has lost all of its value with me and I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase their security glass.

  5. 8

    Considering this campaign launched in Feb. 2005, I would say this gives new meaning to long tail. I hope the PR/Marcom team still has their google alerts set up- this string of posts will weird them out.

    2005 post: http://www.37signals.com/svn/archives/001064.php

    From a communication perspective, this is an instantly recognizable visual which communicates the brand, reinforces their values and presents a powerful message. that is a hard thing to do at a bus stop.

  6. 9

    Robby Slaughter clearly doesn't understand the world of marketing… you're talking about this right now aren't you, Robby? Well, then, it appears it was a masterful marketing tool. Advertising is about creating a memorable image in the consumer's mind, and this act will clearly not go unnoticed. Regardless of your inane need to discuss its accuracy/inaccuracy, and regardless of whether the product actually performs as you would infer from the image…. you are now strikingly aware of its product. You now have an indelible image of 3M safety glass in your head. So? Masterful marketing, period.

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