MARKETING

3 Tiny Startups Get Their 30 Seconds of Fame on National TV

When their commercials aired last week, the finalists in Intuit's small-business contest got exposure most companies can only dream about.
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Earlier this year, four startups won the chance to show off their businesses in national television commercials through Intuit's Small Business, Big Game campaign. Last week, three of them got their 30 seconds of fame when the ads aired.

The three finalists in the contest were dog food company Barley Labs, sustainable egg producer Locally Laid Egg Company, and fertilizer maker POOP. The companies--which beat out 15,000 other small businesses--also will have their commercials promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and Intuit's YouTube channel. Intuit partnered with the Los Angeles-based ad agency RPA to produce the commercials. 

The fourth finalist was tiny Oakland, California-based toy startup GoldieBlox, which won the grand prize--a coveted 30-second spot during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

"We recognize that small businesses are really the unsung heroes of our economy and our country," said Heather McLellan, Intuit's director of communications. "We wanted to give them a voice and put them on a world stage in a way that had never been done before." 

Meet the three new advertising stars below.

Barley Labs

Founded in 2012, the North Carolina-based dog biscuit company has ramped up its business considerably as a result of promotion from the Small Business, Big Game competition. Even before its TV commerical aired, the company had been able to get on more retail shelves and move into new regional markets.

"We never would have been able to pull off the kind of exposure that we have gotten from the contest," said Barley labs co-founder Theresa Chu. "We have a very small budget. We always had a plan for what  our company would look like in three years, five years, 10 years and where could we potentially take this idea. Now it's been accelerated so much."  

POOP

Like Barley Labs, POOP recently has extended its business across state lines and upped its number of retailers. The founders of the Idaho-based natural dairy compost company noted that people across the country rally around the company's unique name. 

"We have a lot of material for jokes and satire and not just because we named our company POOP," said Ben Bieri, one of the company's founders. "It has been fun that everybody can participate in those conversations too because everybody does have a poop joke somewhere along the lines."

Locally Laid Egg Company 

Publicity from the contest has helped the Minnesota-based egg producer earn new partnerships and expand its reach. "I think the biggest thing is that it's really brought an incredible amount of exposure to our little company, and we have received a lot of earned media attention, which has in turn resulted in opportunities for business," founder Jason Amundsen said. "It has helped us facilitate the kind of economic disruption that is vital to growth in the commercial egg industry." 

Last updated: May 20, 2014

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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