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Will It Blend is a viral marketing campaign / infomercial series for a line of mixer/blenders starring Tom Dickson, the founder of Blendtec. In each episode of the series, Dickson attempts to blend all sorts of items that can fit inside the container, from Chuck Norris action figures and Barbie dolls to iPods and camcorders.
Blendtec, a company which produces blenders, uploaded their first “Will it Blend” video to their official YouTube channel on October 30th, 2006. In the video Dickson tries to blend 50 marbles on the blender’s lowest setting. It successfully crushes the marbles into glass dust, enabling the video to declare, “Yes, it blends!” As of March 2014, the video has over 6.4 million views.
The Internet media coverage of Blendtec’s infomercial series and its positive impact on the company’s revenues began in mid-2007, shortly after Dickson’s guest appearances on NBC’s The Tonight Show in March, with Esquire publishing an interview article with the host on May 3rd and tech site Mashable reporting on the company’s five-fold increase in sales on September 27th. As the channel continued to release more episodes, several parodies of “Will It Blend” and offshoots began to appear on YouTube, as detailed in the derivatives section below. As of March 2014, Blendtec’s YouTube channel has over 130 videos, 294 million views and over 690,000 subscribers. Their Facebook page has gained over 52,000 likes and its Twitter account has over 23,000 followers.
One of the most famous episodes is the “cochicken” in which a half of rotisserie chicken is blended with 12 fluid ounces of Coca-Cola (shown below, left). The episode was uploaded on October 31st, 2006. With more than 3.5 million views as of March 2014, the “Cochicken” experiment remains one of the most famous episodes in the series. In the April 3rd, 2007 episode, Dickson placed a camcorder in the blender, giving viewers a first-person look inside the container in action (right). Shortly afterwards, the production team, Kels Goodman and Ray Hansen, attempted to return what was left of the camcorder to Best Buy, though without success.
In another episode uploaded on July 10th, 2007, Dickson put the then-newly released iPhone to the “Will It Blend” test (shown below, left). The remaining fragments of the iPhone, along with a brand new Blendtec blender and a DVD compilation of the commercials, were subsequently placed for a charity auction on eBay and sold at $901 USD. On July 25th, 2007, Dickson placed six Bic lighters in the blender (right). In a matter of seconds, the mixture of butane, metal and plastic ignited into a ball of fire inside the container, making the episode one of the most extreme editions of “Will It Blend?”
The online popularity of “Will it Blend” soon led to the creation of parody videos. On October 26th, 2011, Richard Ryan uploaded a Will it Blend parody titled “Is it Bullet Proof?” (shown below, top left) on his gun themed YouTube channel RatedRR. The video features Ryan shooting a Blendtec blender with a semi-automatic rifle, then adding a tannerite exploding target, which demolishes the jug portion of the blender but only damages, but does not destroy the base.
In addition to parodies of the original series, a handful of copycat web series modeled after a similar format and title were eventually launched on YouTube.
- Will it Skate? is a web series on Metro Skateboarding YouTube channel that premiered on June 14th, 2013 (middle, right). It features different items such as a brick and a keyboard tied to four skateboard wheels to see if they make a usable skateboard.
- “Will it Kill” is a series on the creepy pasta YouTube channel Lupus Creepus which began on August 10th, 2013 (middle left). In each video Creepus performs a ritual or curse that is said to be deadly to see if he will actually die.
- “Will It Drift?” is a series on the gaming YouTube channel AR12Gaming that checks if certain vehicles will drift in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. It uploaded its first video (bottom left) on October 4th, 2013.
- “Will It Bore” is a video game review series in which the host King Gothalion examines the firepower of various weapons found in FPS (first-person shooter) games by test-shooting at heavily armored targets. It uploaded its first video (bottom right) on November 26th, 2013.
On March 12th, 2014, action film star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger uploaded a video to his official YouTube channeltitled “Will It Crush?” (top left). It features Schwarzenegger crushing items like a piano and taxi cab with his army tank. In the video, he explains that by donating $10 to his page on the charity site Omaze viewers are entered to win a chance to crush things in Schwarzenegger’s tank, with the money benefitting After-School All-Stars, an organization that funds after school programs for underprivileged kids.