Monday, June 02, 2008

My flyswatter can kick your flyswatter's ass!

A byproduct of living in the South in the Spring and Summer months (which cover about 9 months out of the year), is dealing with swarms of flies. The little pests drove me to Wal-Mart recently looking for a flyswatter.

Now a flyswatter is hardly a purchase that requires much consideration. You plop down a dollar and get a thin piece of rectangular plastic glued to a thin piece of metal. But I discovered that the only flyswatter my local Wal-Mart sells, is the 'Sergeant Swat'.

If Chuck Norris had a flyswatter, the Sergeant Swat would be his weapon of choice. This thing weighs literally a half a pound, and I think you could probably break someone's arm if you had a mis-swat. And the best part is, you don't even have to use it, simply picking up this beast makes flies disappear, with a barely audible 'sheeeeeiiiiiiittteeee' screeching across the room.

But I love the flyswatter's marketing. Below is a shot of the reverse of the item, explaining how 'precision manufactured flapper and super strong steel handle creates the most lethal flying pest killing apparatus the world has ever seen.' Below that, it tells us the Sergeant Swat has 888 'civilian' uses, including 'redneck badminton', and 'beer can crusher'.

All this, for 92 cents.

Remember that in my post on How to Market Like a Rockstar, I pointed out that simply having fun with your marketing is often overlooked. This is a freakin' 92 cent flyswatter people, and yet Willert Home Products has found a way to brand this item and create some hilarious packaging for it. They have found a way to make a flyswatter, of all things, interesting.

If Willert can create interesting branding and marketing for a product as boring as a flyswatter, then your company has no excuse.


Hire Mack!


Anonymous said...

Good timing with this post. I've been swatting flies in my office all morning, and just added "buy more fly swatters" to my grocery list b/c we only have one in the house.

Tim Jackson said...

I love it. Fun packaging like that does really make a difference. I always get a kick out of clever packaging like that.

Yes- there is no reason why a little thought can not be used on packaging like this. Even if the potential customer doesn't purchase your product the first time they see it, they just might be back later. Or- they might consider one of your other products (possibly an even more expensive one).

Mack Collier said...

I mean it's clever packaging, branding and marketing for a freakin' 92-cent item!

Fear, and/or a lack of creativity and imagination is the only reason why the other 92-cent flyswatters haven't done the same thing.

BTW can you think of the fun these guys could have with this? Start a blog and shoot some videos of guys (attempting to) play 'redneck badminton' with it. Slap em up on YouTube and post them on the blog and you're good to go!

Come to think of it, wonder if I can find their email address...

Scott Schablow said...

Good example to remind us that we should be creative in everything we do. Even (or especially) for the more mundane products. This also reminds me of the time my son broke a window. I asked him what he was doing. "Trying to kill a fly," he said sheepishly. With what I asked? He replied, "With a shovel." DOH!

Mack Collier said...

LOL! Too funny, Scott. I found Willert's website and a generic email. Gave them a link to this post and asked them to put me in contact with the appropriate marketing/brand manager so I could share some ideas on ways they could use social media to promote Sergeant Swat.

Balls in their court, I'll let you guys know if they respond.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mack, cool stuff.

I actually bought a trash can last night and had a similar experience and was planning on posting about it.

Gotta' love the purple cows!

Anonymous said...


I wonder if this thing is marketed only in the south for some reason??? Cause I would LOVE one. Oh wait. I'm a hippy that can't kill anything. damn. ;)

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorites. This company makes Large industrial fans for use in industrial and agricultural applications. YAWN! But, they have done a brilliant job branding. From the name, to the contests, to the Web sites, to the press kit to the brand experience to the customer interaction. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

The joy of B2C marketing! The real trick here is to find this level of dedication to marketing a product and making it appealing to B2B customers. More raving fans in every product team's marketing department and more creativity could change the flyswatter, or applicant tracking system, at a time.

Anonymous said...

Here is another video idea. Film a Texas style full arm swipe from a fragile framed little old lady killing a fly on the back part of the upper fleshy arm of her tank-top clad no good son. Zoom in on the results - a big red cattle brand, tattoo sort of mark of the Willert brand stinging on this guys' arm - zoom back out to the old lady who says in a rickety southern drawl, "Got dat bugger" Then have her blow off the end of the swatter as if it were a pistol. Leave the scene with the son in the foreground soothing his arm and the grandma in the background returning the swatter to the nail on the wall.

Great stuff and indeed funny. This sort of branding reminds me of woot style writing. Nutty and very contagious.

Great post!

Kyle James said...

Nice. I like the eight listed uses. Redneck Badminton... hum... maybe combining that with Beer can crusher gives me some ideas for an interesting Saturday evening...

Anonymous said...

I just got one of these from the Willert warehouse for doing some volunteer work.
I wanted another one - thank goodness for Google. Found your post and happy to know they are at Walmart.
They are really heavy duty and such fun packaging!

Anonymous said...

actually works best on hornets and wasps! And when the cats get on the furniture.

Anonymous said...


Great post. I think you're right, we forget that work should be fun and instead we try to get too sophisticated and creative.

I want one of these flyswatters!!

Duke said...

This fly swatter in heavier than all other brands and cost about the same! It works great flies do not stand a chance with 'Sergeant Swat'I can not wait to try some of its other uses lo