In early July, the NY Times reported on an investor who was being sued by the SEC for allegedly taking money he had promised would be used to invest in real-estate, and instead investing in oddball business ideas such as a sandwich in a can.Â Turns out, no one gave a shit about the people who might have been scammed out of their money by this guy. What they did give a shit about though? The fact that a sandwich in a can EXISTS.
This news story proved to be just what “Candwiches” needed to propel them to viral fame, as blog after blog after blog after blog reported on the surprising existing of this creation.Â The Colbert Report even featured it in an emergency “Thought for Food” segment.Â Â Time Magazine reported on the Candwich as well, noting Best Week Ever got its hands on one and were able to share a photo of what’s actually INSIDE the can:
Yeah that’s right, you have to assemble it yourself. Also, it comes with a piece of Laffy Taffy? Word up!
The flood of media coverage seemed to breath new life into the hopes that the Candwich might actually reach vending machines or store shelves in the near future.Â The head of MarkOne foods, Mark Kirkland, it appeared, wanted to take advantage of the media storm. The horribly designed website for Mark One Foods, the developers of the Candwich, had a banner proclaiming it would be available “Fall 2010!!!”Â They also set up a Twitter account and Facebook page.Â Kirkland took to the airwaves for several interviews explaining the product, including this one with an Australian TV station:
So here we are. Exactly two months after news of the existence of the Candwich broke. So where is it? Where can I buy one? Is it in any stores? In any vending machines? Are there any plans being made for which cities it will be sold in first? I don’t know, because no one is giving me any information on it. Look, I know ramping up production of something takes time, but you have a product that went from a joke no one knew about, to a joke that potentially millions of people wanted to try.
But then two months went by, and people probably forgot about it. Yeah, you set up a Twitter account and Facebook page, but why didn’t you have those to begin with? And why did it take you a week after the story of your product broke to set one up? And why did you max out at 146 followers on Twitter and 1,400 fans on Facebook? And why did you post just a few times to each one then seemingly forget about it? And why are you allowing your Facebook page to fill up with spam? Not only is your product exactly the type of thing that can generate tons of free press on those platforms, it was being reported on by dozens of blogs that cumulatively have TENS OF MILLIONS of readers. Imagine how many fans you’d have at your fingertips if there was a Candwich Facebook page for them to link to when they wrote those stories?
In short, Mark One Foods, you guys probably blew it. I’m not saying there isn’t time for you to actually produce these things and get them back in the media eye and get people buzzing about them again, but your buzz peaked in July, and you basically failed to capitalize on it beyond some ineffective, token efforts.
My advice? Share some news, any news, in order to get back in the news. Pick 5 cities that these things will be sold in to begin with. Know what stores and what locations they will be sold in. Then, hire someone like myself or an online PR company with great connections in the blogosphere, particularly the food blogosphere, to reach out to influential bloggers and get some free samples into their hands.Â They’ll provide coverage, get people buzzing again, and share with their readers exactly when & where people can start purchasing these.
You missed A boat, but you didn’t miss THE boat. There is still time for you to (once again) turn this bizarre/genius/interesting/misguided/what-were-you-thinking creation into a pop culture sensation that everyone wants to talk about and/or try.Â Get on it Mark One Foods, Get on it.