I received a number of emails after my blog on Iron Mountain’s Friendly Advice Machine, including some from non-John Cleese fans who still thought it was a fun experience. I even know of some colleagues who have visited the site multiple times 😉
Still, I thought it would be interesting to get the real statistics on visits and impact from the company themselves. Iron Mountain’s Karen McPhillips, VP Marketing, answered my call for an interview. Here are some interesting excerpts:


  • Aimed at IT managers, a marketing research team developed the campaign by creating a literal “buyer persona” resulting from over 100 interviews with existing and target prospects. This was not a “closed door brainstorming” session. The team identified and aggregated a long list of common process and technology IT-based pain points to drive targeted messaging with a healthy dose of humor.

  • By end-October, the first month of release, the site received 19,000 hits and exceeded viewing expectations by 20%. Audience segmentation revealed 60% U.S.-based views and 16% Eastern Europe-based views.

  • The previous Cleese-based campaign featured the comedian as Dr. Harold Twain Weck, Director of the Institute for Backup Trauma. By the end of its run, the site had received more than one million hits from IT professionals alone.

  • The company markets the campaign globally, but it is available only in English. Given the difficulties of true context-driven translations, especially for “Cleese humor,” this seems prudent. McPhillips reports no complaints on the decision from the company’s major global markets, including France and Germany.


The company expects an 18-24 month shelf-life for the campaign.

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