How A Rhode Island Company Got A Super Bowl Commercial’s Worth Of Exposure…For FREE

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There’s going viral…and then there’s what happened to Hideaway Solutions, located in Little Compton, RI.

A few years back, our brother Lancelot Pinnock dropped all he was doing to create a company built on a design he had created for a cabinet step stool. He named it the Step 180 after its ability to flip 180°, effectively doubling the user’s reach. After two years of development, his invention was ready to ship in September of 2017. In fact, in November 2017, we introduced Hideaway Solutions to our readers.

Lancelot’s wife, Dana Pinnock, was to reach out to local kitchen showrooms and gin up interest from these installers/retailers.

For months, it was slow going, facing a traditional chicken and egg conundrum, where kitchen showrooms didn’t want to take on a revolutionary invention completely untested in the market…but without people in the market for a new kitchen knowing the Step 180 was a product available to them.

So Hideaway Solutions was facing a Catch 22, where they needed advertising to create awareness and hopefully demand…but they had no budget.

What they needed was a Super Bowl commercial

The audience for the Super Bowl is roughly 103,000,000 people. This is why huge corporations spend millions just making the ads for the event…and then spend millions more for the spots. If you want to bring a new product to market, there are few opportunities to get that much exposure, which is why it’s so expensive.

What happened with the Step 180 wasn’t a Super Bowl commercial. It was bigger.

Late on July 31, 2018, a gentleman who we’ll allow to remain nameless was scouring the web, looking for GIFs of cool gadgets to post in his Imgur communities. (For those of you who don’t know, Imgur is a massive image-hosting website. Think a down-and-dirtier version of Pinterest.) He came across this GIF…

It took off like fire…and within a few hours, was re-posted to Reddit, where it was popular enough to be featured on the site’s front page. The Hideaway Solutions website, which had averaged around 100 visitors a day, saw five times that.

Then things got quiet…

The next day, things trailed off and things online started to calm down. It all looked like it might be a flash in the pan.

Then messages started arriving through e-mail and Facebook. Employees at massive media companies that run aggregation publications online started requesting permission to use Hideaway Solutions’ content to create their own videos about the Step 180. Approval was quickly sent to all who requested it and a couple days later, things got a little crazy.

This is a video that was released by In The Know Innovation. It’s a division of AOL, which meant that just this one video was posted on huge FB pages with tens of millions of followers each. This one video has over 90 million views. While it is the video that has seen the most exposure, there have been dozens of pages who have released similarly edited videos, many of which have been seen millions or tens of millions of times.

Free Publicity

There exists an interesting environment for inventors at this point. Social media sites are eager to get video to their users, as it is proving to be the most engaging. This isn’t really that surprising, given how books spent the 20th century losing ground to radio and then television as a means of transmitting ideas.

Media companies who had been happy to post photo and text blogs find themselves in the hunt for interesting video with which to entertain their followers. So they have dozens of employees hunting for videos they can use for free. Videos made to promote new, interesting products fit the role perfectly. After all, a startup company like Hideaway Solutions isn’t going to hesitate to give their video content away if it’s going to lead to more sales of the actual product.

So while a Super Bowl commercial spot will cost a multinational company a few million dollars and will reach an audience a little over 100 million people, videos featuring the Step 180 have been seen over 160 million times in the 6 months since it started going viral.

Meeting Demand

Lancelot said there were two scenarios that he was really hoping to avoid with the Step 180. The first, obviously, is that nothing happened and it never went anywhere. The second path he was hoping to avoid was everything happening all at once. An engineer by trade, the man likes to have a chance to think things through.

He got to experience both. Nothing happened for almost a year after the website went live and the Step 180 was officially listed on sale. Then, with tens-of-millions of video views happening each week, dozens of orders started rolling in. Marketing and finding customers was no longer a problem. Making enough cabinet step stools was suddenly the challenge of the day. As much as it’s a “good problem to have”…it’s still a problem that needed to be dealt with.

Going International

One of the big challenges facing Hideaway Solutions has been international demand. At first, with American orders flooding in, international inquiries were given the same apology that wholesale inquiries were, “Thanks for the interest but we can’t get to you right now!”

As the backlog was whittled away, international orders did become a possibility. The first big challenge was figuring out international shipping, which is best described as having to the potential to be incredibly expensive and complicated until you talk to the right operator at UPS. In October, Hideaway Solutions announced that they were now shipping orders to Canada and there’s been a steady stream of purchases from our neighbors to the North ever since.

There has been one snag when it’s come to the rest of the world, however. American kitchen cabinets generally use modular dimensions that are universal throughout North America. Once we leave the continent, however, everyone is on their own page. The Australians have one size, the Europeans another. The Middle East and Asia often import theirs from all the rest. This has meant that at least one (and likely several) different redesigns will be required to make the Step compatible with kitchen cabinets the world over.

Moving Forward…

2019 has started out strong for Hideaway Solutions with January being their second strongest month to date. There are plenty of challenges ahead, but 150,000,000+ video views later, they’re not going to be purchasing a Super Bowl commercial anytime soon.

If you are building a new home or planning a kitchen renovation and think the Step 180 would be a great addition to your kitchen plan, you can order it here.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Kitchen Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?