Gumby Google Doodle Sparks A New Business
One of my oldest friends and associates is Joe Clokey, whose father was Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby and Pokey.
Joe is one of the most generous, nicest guys you’ll ever meet and has been working for years to keep his father’s legacy alive with a likely new Gumby movie, restored videos from the TV series, and revitalized toy sales.
Well, as it happens in a lot of businesses, people who create and own a product often make less money than the merchants who sell the products, and that was Joe’s situation. So Joe and his wife Joan decided that they should sell Gumby products themselves. When they asked us what we thought, we were totally on board. They’ve seen how we’ve done this with my dad’s book, A Land Remembered, and I have been encouraging them to do it. Seemed like a slam dunk to me but I know it can be a daunting task to branch into a new market.
A little back story: Joe came to me as a college student and wanted to do a senior project in video format for my department. We agreed and he did several more videos for us before forming his own educational video production and marketing company, which he still operates. I’ve enjoyed working with and mentoring Joe for some 25 years since then, and have been coaching him in internet marketing. Like me, he cut his teeth in direct mail marketing, but it is getting prohibitively expensive to promote to a small market through direct mail. The internet is far more affordable.
In September, out of the blue, Joe got a call from Google! They wanted to do a claymation logo in honor of Art Clokey’s birthday and showcase it on the main Google site. This was a fantastic public relations opportunity. Renowned animator Anthony Scott created the doodle animation. Scott is known for his animation direction and supervision on Coraline, Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Scott got his start in animation working on the 1980’s Gumby series, under Art Clokey himself. He was also the lead animator under the direction of Art’s son Joe Clokey on the Davey and Goliath Snowboard Christmas movie, which was released in 2004. (I was production manager and editor on that show).
Google told Joe to expect over a million hits to his site, so he and Joan went into high gear to build a great new Gumby website and store, ordered inventory,
set up online purchasing, etc. The new GumbyWorld.com website looks fantastic.
You can see the Google doodle here.
They didn’t get the numbers they were expecting…he complained he only had 150,000 hits. (I put it in perspective for him…what I wouldn’t give to get that in a month!)
Products didn’t fly off the shelves but this opportunity was the impetus to start their own store and now they have steady sales and are getting more exposure to their fans. They had to spend some money and a lot of time to buid their great new website but they did it and will now continue to see growing sales from this business.
My point is, you never know when opportunity will strike but when it does you have to be ready to take action. Sometimes opportunity isn’t going to walk up and slap you in the face like it did Joe, so keep your eyes and ears open and some pretty wonderful things can happen. Like having some Google love.
Here’s that doodle if you missed it.
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