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Grasshopper is everywhere

Original Article

Gary Busey's Wild Pitch

Gary Busey, the actor offers creative excuses for skipping work (“I had to stay home because I ate my kid’s homework”) and advice on starting your own business (“Being a successful entrepreneur is 80 percent hard work and 50 percent luck—and having accountants that make the math work. Maybe someone who worked for Wesley Snipes”).

The clips are a viral marketing campaign conceived by Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser, the founders of GotVMail, a company that supplies small businesses with virtual professional phone systems.

“We wanted an innovative way to talk about our core values, and we thought about Gary’s because our mascot’s name is Gary,” Taghaddos says. The mascot’s moniker pays homage to GotVMail’s tagline principles: “Go above and beyond,” “Always entrepreneurial,” “Radically passionate,” and “Your team.”

It was a short brainstorming process: they came up with Gary Coleman and Gary Busey and decided to go after the latter.

Busey’s agent agreed to have him reflect on business in a round of Internet videos—on one condition. “Gary’s big thing is not having too much structure,” Taghaddos says. “And we didn’t want any structure, so it was perfect.” They wrote a script of business catchphrases to inspire his riffs and delighted when he strayed from it. “He would stop reading the prompter and go off on his own tangent, and it’s pretty evident in each video when he decides to do that.”

Spoiler alert: it’s usually about 3 seconds into the video.

So how was it hanging out with Busey?

“Watch the videos. You’ll see exactly how he is in real life,” Taghaddos says. “I still don’t think he knows what he did. His agent was the one who was involved, who could focus him a little bit. He’s an interesting character. And he knows nothing about business.”

But he may not be bad for it. “One finance guy told me, ‘this is the greatest marketing campaign I’ve seen since Priceline used William Shatner,’” Taghaddos says.

Hauser adds: “Usually you send a video like this out to your personal contacts and nobody ever responds. Within 10 minutes, I had 30 responses.”

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Taghaddos says. “You can take a break, watch Gary, laugh and go back to work.”

All without the risk of getting in trouble at work.