How Heartfelt Marketing Delivers

Dave Delaney and the Griffin Tech CESBound Project

Dave Delaney and his company, Griffin, put on quite a great little project with CESBound. They took an old VW bus, after hours, and restored it, and then drove it from Nashville all the way to Las Vegas for CES. Along the way, they made media, met friends, told stories, shot photos, froze a bit, played music, and had a blast.

When they arrived at CES, the thing they kept hearing (and I heard it when I visited the booth, too) was, “Man, it’s so cool that you restored this bus and took it on a huge road trip. That’s so much more genuine than renting a nice car and putting it in the booth.

The side of the van was covered in little Polaroid photos from the road trip. The back of the van was playing some of the CESBound TV episodes. Everyone around the bus, whether they were from Griffin or not, seemed really happy.

Dave and the whole rest of the team (we know Dave because he’s one of us, but there’s also Melanie Pherson and tons of other names that Dave or someone will add when they see this post) really did a lot to make the >Griffin Technology CES story into more than just a company selling iPhone and iPod accessories.

Luchador of Griffin

They made a special site, They befriended the VW community via some forums, where they were told that, when the bus breaks down, someone will come and help them out, no matter where they are in the country. They did all kinds of gatherings and other on-the-road relationship building on the way to the event.

Here’s what I saw from the CES Bound experience:
threadless logo

  • Tell a story and tell it well.
  • Capture the story in multiple types of media.
  • Involve people by communicating and relationship-building.
  • Tie it to your core theme and beliefs (Griffin is a lot about art, design, expression).
  • Build a meaningful online presence around the experience. Don’t call CESBound a microsite.
  • Do it inhouse. Near as I can tell, they had no external agency help with the project.
  • Share the spotlight. Griffin also partnered with Threadless to create a special CES iPhone case, with BrightKite for location services, and more.
  • Bring it all home. The team did a great job of telling a story that also strengthened the brand.

There’s more to how Griffin told the story, but you can see it all at

As for us, let’s just think about how heartfelt marketing delivers, and what you can do with this kind of information.

Here’s an episode of CESBound’s TV show:

Dave Delaney and the Griffin Tech CESBound Project

Additional photos by griffintech. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • mmaranghi

    You guys are a fun, innovative bunch that worked on a fun project! Your peripherals are works of art and it's definitely reflected in your VW wagon. I hope the trip met all your expectations, from when you first came up with your idea, to when you arrive at CES. You guys did great!

    -Maurizio Maranghi

  • IheartPGH

    I hope that I get the chance to work for a company that lets me do something like this too! Really nice site – with great photos and stories – looks like it was a fun trip.

  • IheartPGH

    I hope that I get the chance to work for a company that lets me do something like this too! Really nice site – with great photos and stories – looks like it was a fun trip.

  • Dave Delaney
  • Dave Delaney

    Thanks a million Maurizio.

  • Dave Delaney

    I forgot to add the other names behind the project. They are:
    Jackie Ballinger
    Bradley Spitzer
    J. Curtis
    Mark McGlon
    Tim Coble
    James Finney
    Chris Helman
    Victor Marks
    Rick Kenedy
    Jennifer Fisher
    Dave Reynolds
    Stephen Woolverton
    and many more folks who helped with the bus. Seriously, the list goes on and on.

    Victor Marks

  • Joe Garecht

    I can only wonder what “regular working guys” think when they read stories like this… it probably goes something like this:

    “Hey, get a dressing down when I'm 10 minutes late from lunch and they have to hold up the production line… and these guys get paid to drive across country in a silly care and shoot video with their Handicam. Unbelievable!”

  • John Haydon

    I imagine they created a tremendous amount of unity during this process!

  • rockandrollmama

    Nicey- I've been loving Mindbloom, FYI. Definitely reframes my usual lists.:)

  • rockandrollmama

    Thank you so much, you guys. It's just neat to see a company highlighting the human side of its people. And y'all are some neat humans.:) See you in Austin!

  • DaraghBell

    Unique and interesting, If Seth Godin says be remarkable some people will listen others will go ahead and do it. Looking for my road trip moment today will put in 2010 goals .

    Hitler never knew how popular the VW would be or it would endup at CES.

    I agree with Julie and others he forum idea is good Nic that marketing has to be fun.

  • biz78

    Its a great idea for marketing.

  • Matt Johnson

    That's the best kind of marketing — honest and fun. Thanks for sharing.

  • Chris Catania

    It's great to see that the power of road trips still moves people. Yes, It's hard to tell a great story well but I always wonder why more brands don't put more effort into it because, if successful, the return can be soooo worth it! Thanks for sharing this one! I think it's time to plan a road trip, too. ;)

  • Dave Delaney

    For sure. It was awesome getting to know each other better.

  • jordankettner

    Could you imagine trying to pitch this idea to a traditional corporation? “I want to restore an old van and drive it to the next trade show instead of flying” It would never happen.

    These types of stories can only come from truly remarkable companies with a great corporate culture.

    Another reason to be 'less traditional'

  • all2010videos

    Wow! I think that “Mysteryo”!

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  • yuregininsesi

    It's fun, it's heartfelt and most of all it is different and grabs your attention. A very ingenious approach to marketing. You guy did a fantastic job.

  • Elizabeth Malisa

    this is my dream. how long my same ? :D

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