April 28, 2011, 10:26 AM

ThinkGeek thinks creatively to craft viral videos

Those videos draw shoppers from YouTube to the online gadget retailer’s site.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

This year online gadget retailer ThinkGeek’s annual April Fools’ joke took the form of the launch of the fake Playmobil Apple Store, which married Playmobil’s sets with the look and feel of an Apple Store complete with the ubiquitous lines that form whenever the retailer has a new release. The retailer launched the product with a video that appeared both on its site, as well as on YouTube.

Since April 1, the video has been viewed more than 488,000 times on YouTube.The more people who view the video, the more people are exposed to ThinkGeek, says Jamie Grove, the company’s marketing chief whose official title is director of evil schemes and nefarious plans.

YouTube brings people who don’t know you to your site,” he says.

That’s why the retailer posts its on-site videos on YouTube, and why that content is an important part of ThinkGeek’s overall marketing strategy, he says.

ThinkGeek uses YouTube as the host for its videos because it wanted to limit its expenses. “Zero fees are pretty hard to beat,” says Grove. Other video-hostingsystemsthe retailer has considered have started at around $150,000 a year.

Moreover, because many of its products are unique to ThinkGeek, a consumer is unlikely to watch a video of someone using a Star Wars light saber popsicle and buy the product from a different retailer.

YouTube has another benefit for the retailer—it appeals to the retailer’s geeky customer base.

“For us, our customers like the low-budget nature of YouTube and the do-it-yourself aesthetic of it,” he says. “

ThinkGeek is No. 232 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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