From Israel With Dov: The U.S. Launch of USB Flash Drives
It’s not often you get to launch a new product in an entirely new category. Here’s a rare window into one such case.
The client was a company based in Israel—with a kangaroo for a product logo. The product was a new type of portable storage, so that explained the marsupial. The inventor called the product “DiskOnKey,” as in, a disk drive on a keychain.
Our mission was to ensure the device would become better known under other names.
The evidence we succeeded is everywhere. You probably own more than one of them.
Today, the USB flash drive goes by a variety of handles. According to Wikipedia, it’s also known as a “thumb drive, pen drive, gig stick, flash stick, jump drive, disk key, disk on key, flash-drive, memory stick, USB key, USB stick or USB memory.”
M-Systems was the company that originally invented and patented the technology. When the DiskOnKey Pro debuted, its storage capacity ranged from 8MB to 512MB.
I was fortunate enough to be part of the creative team at O’Leary when our Interactive Director, the late, great Michael Todd, came to us with the assignment to introduce the invention to U.S.-based OEMs (original equipment manufacturers, like IBM) to get them interested in licensing it under their own brand names.
Intrusive Direct Mail
Our strategy was to target OEM CEOs with a three-stage “intrusive mailer” campaign that included a free DiskOnKey device loaded with a self-launching application that played a brief video showcasing its capabilities.
We just needed to get recipients to open it and plug in the drive.
Of course, the technology was brilliant. But the fact that the devices quickly caught on as quickly as they did was also a testament to the effectiveness of our campaign.
Another testament was the nice thank-you letter we received from M-Systems CEO, Dov Moran (see below).
M-Systems was ultimately acquired by SanDisk, which continues to produce USB drives with increasingly larger capacities (as Moore’s Law continues to hold up).
Take a look at how our successful direct mail campaign for the first USB Flash Drive, DiskOnKey, unfolded.