A new Seattle-based startup called Replyboard has taken customer outreach to a whole new level.
Replyboard, a service that aims to help people vet buyers and sellers on classified Web sites like Craigslist, launched on Monday with four short videos depicting the company's co-founder and a friend pulling pranks on the same Craigslist sellers they hope to acquire as customers.
In one of the videos (above), two men posing as prospective buyers responding to a Craigslist ad enter a person's home with a hidden camera and ask about the item up for sale while rummaging through the homeowner's fridge and gobbling up his groceries. In another (below), one of the men asks to use a woman's bathroom after checking out a lamp she's selling and then proceeds to help himself to a shower. Each of the four clips ends with, "Should've used Replyboard," suggesting to viewers that the service can help prevent run-ins with bogus characters on Craigslist.
Each person featured in the videos was given $50 to sign a waiver, according to Mashable.
Replyboard is the latest in a string of startups to release comedic clips to generate buzz on launch day. Earlier this month, Dollar Shave Club, whose founder is a former comedian, released a widely viewed promotional video of its own, generating additional attention for the startup during its launch. "If you can make people laugh, they'll remember what you're saying," Michael Dubin, Dollar Shave Club's founder, told HuffPost Small Business in an interview.
Although Replyboard's videos may incite some laughter at first, viewers may also come to realize that the humor is coming at the expense of people just trying to make a buck selling items out of their home. As a result, the filmmakers may soon come to be known as the latest entrepreneurs to use dubious marketing techniques, rather than the latest entrepreneurs to create a great service.