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Gorilla marketing campaign

Corning Inc., the Southern Tier glassmaker known to generations for its Pyrex and Corelle cookware, has gone viral.

Even its own executives acknowledge Corning is a conservative company. So it was a significant shift when the firm launched a comprehensive marketing campaign last December to promote its high-tech Gorilla Glass, a durable product found in everything from smartphones to HDTVs.

How successful was the campaign? A video produced as part of the marketing effort, "A Day of Glass," has been viewed more than 9 million times on YouTube and is the most-watched corporate video ever posted on the site, said Dan Collins, vice president of corporate communications for Corning.

Representatives from Corning; Doremus, an advertising firm based in San Francisco; and Brodeur Partners, a public-relations firm based in Boston; will discuss this multi-faceted marketing campaign today at a symposium at St. Bonaventure University's Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Collins, who is also a St. Bonaventure alumnus and member of its board of trustees, said this was Corning's first consumer campaign in about 20 years.

The company wanted to try something different to promote its Gorilla Glass line, which is found in the newest Sony Bravia HDTVs, Samsung's Galaxy tablet and more than 200 other consumer electronic devices.

An Associated Press article last August was picked up by about 600 newspapers and generated a lot of buzz for the line, Collins said.

The marketing elements of the campaign began in December, with a major push in January at the closely watched Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The campaign included print ads in business, trade and local publications; a Gorilla Glass website; online advertising; targeted TV ads; and social media.

"We have a Facebook page. We have a Twitter account," Collins said.

There was even a Gorilla Glass video game, where a gorilla is the goalie. "You've got to get a banana past the gorilla," Collins said.

But the highlight was the YouTube video, which shows a glass-filled version of a high-tech future where we can type emails on our bathroom mirror, video chat on our kitchen counters and print architectural drawings on glass that can be rolled up and unrolled.

Collins said all of this technology is currently available, but a lot of it isn't practical or affordable for consumers just yet.

The video has been viewed millions of times since its Feb. 7 posting.

Most commenters are impressed with the video, and the possibilities presented in it. But a good number wondered who's going to pay to power all of this technology -- and who's going to clean all that glass.

In the end, there was just one thing missing from the campaign, Collins said: "No live gorillas."

-- Stephen T. Watson

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