Peerflix, the DVD trading service, has taken its act on the road.
A cross country tour - they're calling it "The Peerflix Road Trip" - has enlisted two of their employees, Jordan MacAvoy and Rob Ellis, as full time bloggers who report from the road. In an impromptu five minute meeting last week, company CEO Billy McNair apparently convinced the duo to trade the comfort of their Palo Alto, California offices for the dubious delights of a rental car.
So the two set out this week from San Francisco and are headed to Miami, site of this weekend's Super Bowl XLI. Along the way, they're taking the online company offline with visits to members as well as reaching out to potential members.
(Unfortunately, that premise promises more than it delivers. Unless I missed it somehow, we never actually see them get to Mel's house. I doubt they'll get much play on YouTube with a video saying that they want to meet Mel Gibson. They would, however, probably get a lot of play for a video showing them being rebuffed by Mel or Mel's "people.")
"Mobile technology has given us a great opportunity to take our company on the road," says Rob Ellis, whose real job is Director of Operations for Peerflix. "It's great to reach out to our community and take the product to people who may not have otherwise heard of Peerflix. We're bound to have some interesting moments and meet some fun people as we travel across the country, so it should make for a great video blog."
Many of the interesting moments so far seem to be about food. One of yesterday's posts was called "Deep frying makes everything taste better," a short video tribute to the joys of a fried shrimp sandwich purchased at a gas station in Louisiana.
Also yesterday, we learned that:
Eating fried food when you’re not going to be stopping for four hours is like getting a tattoo on spring break – your friends tell you not to do it, you feel like a rebel when you ignore their advice and do it anyways, and then within an hour you realize what you’ve done and feel queasy.
Despite a few missteps here and there, the Peerflix Road Trip is another example of the innovative ways in which the company uses viral, non-traditional marketing. Last year, the "Peerflix Paparazzi" game was awarded the number one ranking in Marketing Sherpa's Viral Marketing Hall of Fame: Top 12 Campaigns You Should Swipe Ideas From. The company is clearly hoping that the road trip will bring it the same success, while reinforcing their brand image (and raising the cholesterol count of two key employees).
At the same time, they get to meet members of the Peerflix community face-to-face, which is something not many online companies do. And they get written about in blogs like this, which helps fuel the Jordan-Rob-Mania that is no doubt sweeping the nation.
But we do have two suggestions for Peerflix.
First off, if you're going to do something like this, get the word out a little sooner. Admittedly, we've been pretty busy interviewing the President of these United States and making the homeland safe for the DVDs of tomorrow, but we do read all our e-mail. Sadly, we just received a press release about this today. Jordan and Rob have been on the road for five days!
Secondly, Jordan, pull over to the side of the road before using your camcorder, ferchrissakes. Trying to film Rob while also operating a motor vehicle may not be such a good idea. (And depending on the state you're in, it may in fact be against the law.) You've already received one speeding ticket and, frankly, we'd like the two of you to arrive in Miami safely.