The Potatoes Catching NBA Stars by Surprise!

by admin | May 4, 2017 10:46 am

Innovation is the key for success in every business and Riad Bekhit, CEO of Potato Parcel[1] recently took his innovation to the NBA! Riad and his team sent out 150 potatoes to mega stars like Dirk Nowitzki[2] who was the first NBA player to post to social media that he had received a potato after scoring 30,000 points[3] in his career. The hilarious photo sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy trying to figure out who sent it. Shortly after players such as Kevin Durant[4] and Hassan Whiteside[5] also began to post their own potatoes they had received. I had a chance to speak with Riad who crafted this brilliant campaign and see how it went. Here’s what he said:

Jay: Just a little while ago NBA players like Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and others began posting pictures of potatoes with various inspirational messages on them which stirred up quite a buzz. So, you’re the potato fairy after all! Where’d you get the idea?!

Riad: Like every entrepreneur I was looking for an innovative way to let people know about Potato Parcel harnessing the power of social media. Looking back, it was the best marketing campaign I’ve ever done, and the key was how organic it was. In today’s social media driven world, so many people think that marketing is about reaching millions of people and they end up just blasting their message through as many social channels as they can. However, the reality is that consumers are extremely smart, especially millennials, and they want something that is authentic. We didn’t ask any of the players to share the potatoes online, they did it because they liked it!
Jay: What made you chose such high-profile players like Dirk and KD?

Riad: Truthfully, we weren’t looking to target high profile players specifically at all. Our focus was to send a message that would relate to whatever was going on in their lives at the time. We knew Dirk had just achieved an incredible milestone of becoming only the 6th player to reach 30,000 points and Kevin Durant was working through injury, looking to get back on the court and help his team win. So many people wonder what they can possibly do that will make a huge “splash”. After seeing the staggering results of our “potato mail”, I think the best way to create a successful marketing campaign is to simply find something simple that relates to something the audience will recognize and relate to. We paid attention to what was going on in their lives and tapped into it on a personal level with a very positive message.

Jay: What were the immediate results once players started posting pictures of their potatoes?

Riad: They were absolutely mind blowing and to be honest it blew up even bigger than I had anticipated. At first nobody knew who was sending these mystery potatoes which created that initial craze on social media, simply to find out who was this crazy guy sending these potatoes! Once they realized it was from Potato Parcel our Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels began to blow up. We were featured on Sports Center, USA Today and I had done interviews on multiple radio channels including Serious XM radio and even landed on the front cover of the Wall Street Journal! This turned into such an incredible amount of publicity which was so valuable. There is no financial budget or marketing strategy available to craft such an opportunity, and the key to it all was that it was 100% organic.

Jay: When you pitched on Shark Tank, multiple Sharks including Mark Cuban thought you were crazy. Looking back, it seems so ironic that Dirk Nowitzki who plays for the Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban was one of the biggest names who promoted your potato. Was that a shot at Cuban?

Riad: I’ve had many people make that comment and there wasn’t a trace of ill intent when we sent that potato to Dirk. We didn’t take Mark’s criticism personally and it didn’t cross our minds even once that this was somehow a way of taking a shot at him. The truth is Mark is absolutely right, we’re a crazy company but that’s what makes us to intriguing. During the half time show of a particular NBA game ESPN anchors were showing potatoes on camera, talking about the potatoes that the players have been receiving. Think about that, millions of sports fans were looking at pictures of potatoes during half time! No one is holding up a cool apparel company’s jacket at half time because no one cares. The fact that it’s so crazy is what drives the attention.

Jay: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from all of this? And if you had the opportunity to give someone who was looking to start their own company today, what would you tell them?

Riad: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this experience is the power of influencer marketing. If you can ride on the shoulders of other great people it will propel you in an amazing way. Find people who connect with your brand and your message and find creative ways to bring them into your campaign. As far as advice goes, I think it’s incredibly important to trust yourself despite what others may tell you. There’s a fine line between ignoring constructive criticism and trusting your gut. Always listen to others who critique your work, because that will inspire you to constantly work on becoming even better, but never let them persuade  you into thinking you can’t do it. So many people in the Tank as well as friends and others told us we were crazy and there was no way this was going to work. At the same time, we had seen the reaction our previous customers had and felt extremely confident that millions of other people would connect with our product. Was is risky? Sure, it was, but if you truly believe in what you’re doing you need to take that risk to become successful. We’re extremely glad we did it and look forward to using our creativity to find new ways to continue to grow!

Riad BekhitRiad Bekhit is the CEO of Potato Parcel[1], a service that allows you to send a custom message to anyone…on a potato. Thinking of sending a Birthday, Congrats, or Get Well Soon card? This is a quirky and hilarious alternative to the traditional card. Your friends, family, and others will get a kick out of it!

As seen on Shark Tank!

  1. Potato Parcel:
  2. Dirk Nowitzki:
  3. scoring 30,000 points:
  4. Kevin Durant:
  5. Hassan Whiteside:

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