The World’s Slowest Viral Idea?

Two years ago several Pod people were involved in creating the TUL pens website. TUL (pronounced “TOOL”) pens were (and are) a cool new line of pens developed by client OfficeMax. They are sleekly designed and have great pen feel, if such a term exists. They feel good. You’ll like em!

Our idea was to do a humorous handwriting analysis. We would use the principles of graphology and give it a humorous twist. We promoted the site by inserting postage free inserts – pictured above -into cool magazines and soliciting actual handwriting samples from the public (they had to write the phrase: I TRULY NEED A NEW PEN) which we would analyze and then email them a customized handwriting analysis. well it looked and felt customized. the whole undertaking was insane! looking back on it. we hired interns to scan the thousands of handwriting sample postcards that readers mailed in to us.

we got really lucky in the guy we cast as our graphologist. Andy Bobrow. He was a writer on Malcolm in The Middle. He created this little gem o’ brilliance. Which is how we found him. He carried the whole thing and helped with the writing of it. We’ve worked with a lot of actors and Andy easily had the most stamina of anyone. He literally went all day.

So, all the stars seemed aligned for a huge viral success. But it didn’t work out that way. Last time I checked we were closing in on a million handwriting analyses. After two years.

Now you can look at that two ways. Failure or Success. And if you were to judge tul.com against OfficeMax’s elfyourself.com it would clearly lose in terms of the conventional definition of viral success. Last year 123 million people elfed themselves.

But tul.com is a bit of an acquired taste. It’s sophisticated humor. It’s dry as a bone. And it takes a few minutes of active interactivity. Elfyourself does too but in that case it’s obvious from the outset what the outcome will be and that it will be funny and you’ll like it. Not so with tul.com.

Also, tul.com is also an immersive brand experience. and a hell of a lot of those that try the site rave about it. we’ve followed its progress, and lack of it, online over the past two years, trying to draw lessons from it. it’s clearly a cult hit.

And we recently noticed an uptick in traffic and blog mentions and stumbleupon positive reviews. Young women seem to like it a lot. And we can see why. Taking tests about yourself was always a classic Cosmo staple.

Try it. Now!!!!

http://tul.com/

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