Uses YouTube Private Videos to Turn Straw into Gold, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, started in 1991 as an importer of trade show giveaways that were manufactured in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. The company created the original Magic Cubes, three-dimensional (3D) promotional products, which have helped many Fortune 500 companies to hand out SWAG (stuff we all get) and trade show tchotchke (knickknacks, trinkets, or kitsch) that make a lasting impression and enables them to stand out from other exhibitors.

The company created MagiCubesDotCom’s channel on YouTube in July 2008. The 35 public videos on the channel have about 85,000 total upload views.

Now, that’s not a very big number. So, what makes this a YouTube case study worth reading? is using Private Videos on YouTube to enable clients to preview 3D video proofs of customized Magic Cubes and approve them before they are manufactured and shipped. This enables to create unique promotional products and packaging solutions for a variety of organizations and then deliver these imported goods reliably and economically.

In other words, is using YouTube Private Videos to turn straw into gold. Now, that makes this a YouTube case study worth reading.

Last week, I interviewed Ron Friedman, the Founder of, via email. Here are the questions that I emailed Friedman and the answers that he emailed me back:

Greg Jarboe: When and why did you decide to create a YouTube channel?

Ron Friedman: started in 1991, and is now celebrating our 20th anniversary. Over the years, we certainly did our fair share of traditional advertising and marketing. Trade shows, print catalogs, print advertising, fliers, e-mail and web. However, we found that with the nature of our product being so interactive and visual, actual physical samples worked the best. Of course, you can’t always immediately get product samples into the hands of your prospects and clients. As the cost of video production has dropped, we started to explore and test videos.

At first, we used 3D animated videos produced with 3Ds Max to demonstrate the cubes. These demonstration videos alone had a huge impact on our sales. Initially, we distributed the videos as downloadable files. But, this was awkward and cumbersome. Aside from taking time for upload and downloads, there was not a uniform video player that all clients were happy with.

Moving the distribution to YouTube made a huge impact. Not only did 99 percent of the clients have access to YouTube, it was simple and valuable for one-click sharing. Now whole marketing teams could review the product demo videos without the need to clog email accounts with heavy video files.

The viral nature of the demo videos are essentially our “Trade Show Marketing Team”. The Demos get into the hands of our customers and prospects, they in turn distribute to their associates, marketing and sales counterparts around the globe.

GJ: MagiCubes uses its YouTube channel to illustrate how a promotional product works to a client. Do you see video as a part of your marketing mix or as a part of your product and service offering?

RF: Both. MagiCubes started uploading video proofs in 2008. We created videos to help with our proofing process, but about a year ago, we started targeting our various verticals — associations, pharmaceutical, travel — with Promoted Video ads.

At first, we didn’t even use voice overs. The videos were very simple – just the cube and drum music as demonstrated in our first demo video, Best Selling 3D Magic Cube – The original MC107. Other early examples from 2008 include the completely silent demo for the MC113 7cm Calendar Cube and the more evolved demo featuring car engine sound effects for the Porsche Magic Cube® Advertising Promotional Gifts 3D Cubes video.

By 2009, we created our first “scripted” demo that highlighted “the fidget factor” — 3D Photo Cubes for Business Trade Show Gifts. Then in 2010, we started expanding our productions with voiceovers and Motion Graphics. Our Stress Ball video, Compare Stress Ball Promotional Products for Trade Show Gifts, was our first venture into using voiceovers.

Current Production Quality involves scripted videos with voice over, live action shots as well as animation insets. A good example is our Marketing for Medical and Pharma 3D communication video, which targets our medical and pharmaceutical vertical.

One of my favorite proof examples is the Proof 2421 Wilson Mc107 video.

YouTube video ads are such a great marketing tool for our brand because it emphasizes our tagline, “Touch, Teach, Connect,” through use of video sharing.

GJ: In a post on your blog last October on Oct. 12, 2011, you said, “When it comes to Business to Business marketing one of the key necessities is to stand out and get past the gate keepers. Reaching qualified prospects with impact is crucial.” Can you share some examples of how YouTube helps MagiCubes do this?

RF: It can be hard to get tangible packages in front of decision makers. Before using YouTube and easy-to-share video links, many of our samples just sat in a box. Video links are so easy to share with colleagues. The comparison between direct mail and video sharing is exponential.

A video link is so maneuverable; it gets in front of more people. For example, we can send a link to a junior-level person, but they may eventually pass it on to an Executive Director of major Association, who is more apt to look at a one minute video rather than open a box. Video links help us get past the gate keepers.

GJ: At the GKIC Super Conference in Chicago back in April 27-May 1, 2011, Bill Glazer, the co-founder of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, discussed the importance of “lumpy mail.” He demonstrated how MagiCubes can help info marketer’s get their prospects and customers attention with this desktop “Involvement” device. Can you share any other tips?

RF: The first step is video marketing. Videos help you get past the gate keepers and tease the buyer.

Then, the buyer will then usually request some samples. So we send them a few cubes, which sit on their desks for a few days. After three days, we call the potential buyer and say, “Hey, I’m going to come pick up the samples,” and most of the time a) another colleague has already taken one of the cubes and b) the buyer requests more!

Like YouTube, our MagiCubes entertain, engage and tell a story… but on top of the desk, not on the desktop.

GJ: What do you think about YouTube and what do you think of video marketing? Could you do what you do today without them?

RF: Video marketing is not a sign of the times; it is how we all communicate now. We communicate through video. Fortunately YouTube allows us to do marketing and communicate our products with ease and employ different videos from different playlists in order to target our different sales channels.

We could not operate and perform the way we do now without YouTube. It has saved our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to produce samples and ship items around the world. Also, it has cut the production time in half – making it more efficient for everyone.

As more clients are going mobile, YouTube is the quickest way to reach them with videos. Not through text, but through YouTube. Our resellers use our YouTube videos on their smart phones as the ultimate “elevator pitch” in 30 seconds. They can demonstrate our fun and engaging products in a fun and engaging way.

No matter what your product or service, you can use video to tell your story. It is the easiest way to reach people who could use your product service. You have to have a tailored message, but it doesn’t have to be a Hollywood produced video. iMovie and Final Cut Pro have helped reduce fear factor of producing a video.

The MagiCubes business has definitely experienced double-digit growth because of our YouTube videos. We have long-lasting ROI because of our ability to produce and easily share product videos.

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