Today on Tumblr, photo site Photojojo conducted a little experiment. They asked Tumblr users to reblog a post about their Fuji Instax Mini Instant Camera. Every time someone reblogged their offer before 4P, the camera’s price went down $.10. They were hoping to sell 50 cameras at a steadily reducing price by 4P.

Photojojo blew through all 50 (actually around 60) cameras by 2:40P today. But more importantly, they convinced a typically advertising adverse audience to market their products all afternoon. 

Tumblr users who either reblogged or clicked through the Tumblr image of the Instax camera got a succinct taste of Photojojo’s aesthetic and approach to retail. The site is well designed and playful. For consumers interested in photography or cool little gagdets, it’s hard not to poke around to see what else is there.

For a fledging brand like Photojojo, this is a great way to get on
people’s radar. Furthermore, the Instax camera is a rather niche product that many Tumblr users probably saw for the first time today. While the final cameras sold in the offer went for $59.20, the actual retail price is normally $100. That’s not a huge difference, and if they were enticed by the Tumblr offer today, they are likely to consider purchasing the camera for the full price, either today or at a later date. But now they’ll also be aware of Photojojo’s existence. And the next time

The whole thing cost a lot less than the cost of a paid ad campaign. So far 983 people have reblogged Photojojo’s post. That number will likely increase by the time I finish this post. But it also has been seen by far more people who didn’t actually reblog it.

Recently, Vimeo and College Humor co-founder Jakob Lodwick ran a similar experiment to see how many people would reblog a post from his Tumblr for a chance to win $100. The answer was 1,219.

As Andrew Parker writes:

“The most interesting part of Jakob’s experiment to me is the
economics of it.  It cost Jakob $0.08/reblog to run this experiment.
 Yet, if you asked the average Tumblr how much you would have to pay
them in order to insert a marketing post into their Tumblelog, my guess
is it would be closer to $8.00, not the $0.08 it actually cost Jakob.

Turning the advertising into a game (in this case, the game metaphor
is The Lottery) reduced the cost of advertising, increased good will,
and got the benefit of residual posts analyzing what he did after it was
completed (just like this one!).”

But I like the incentive structure of Photojojo’s effort more. For one, reaping the reward is more in the hands of the consumer. If you are interested in the $100 product, you can purchase it at any point before they run out. Reblogging the image is also a more convincing endorsement than the more common by now “Retweet for a chance to win!” marketing that is all over social media.

Reblogging this image means that you might purchase this product, or think your friends. That’s marketing that taps directly into the social graph. And gets consumers to do the work for you. Of course, you have to make sure you have the kind of product people will want to show their friends before embarking on something similar. But overall, this was a pretty smart little experiment in my book.

Images: Photojojo