Last Blockbuster’s gross sales skyrocket after Super Bowl advert

The telephone on the final Blockbuster retailer on the planet has been ringing off the hook since Super Bowl Sunday.

When The Times reached out Thursday morning to the small enterprise in Bend, Ore., an out-of-breath worker picked up the telephone after the decision went to the answering machine and apologized for the wait. To say the one surviving Blockbuster has been busier than typical is an understatement.

According to the overall supervisor of the shop, Sandi Harding, the Bend Blockbuster has seen an enormous enhance in foot site visitors and gross sales since debuting a Super Bowl advert on Instagram and YouTube throughout Rihanna’s halftime present. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the intelligent promo options three key gamers: a cockroach named Steve who’s an everyday buyer on the final Blockbuster, an worker who welcomes Steve to the shop and a narrator who guarantees that “when the world ends, and the internet streams no more, [the Bend Blockbuster will] still be here.”

The retailer’s “first commercial in a really, really long time” (per the Bend Blockbuster Instagram web page) was successful, producing heaps of reward on social media and galvanizing nostalgic Blockbuster followers to go to the relic in actual life.

“This is [usually] the slowest time of year for us in the store, so we’ve definitely seen an uptick in the store every day,” Harding instructed The Times on Thursday.

“Our sales are … probably up about 30% in the store. But the biggest improvement we’ve seen is online. … We’re used to getting five to 10 orders a day during this time of year, and we’re looking at more like 40 to 50 orders a day. … We survive on the additional revenue we were getting from our online sales to help support the store, so this is huge for us. And it’s amazing support.”

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Asked how the Bend Blockbuster advertising and marketing staff got here up with the idea for the Super Bowl advert, Harding laughed and mentioned, “You mean myself?”

“We don’t have a marketing team,” she added.

“This was a very low-budget [project] … This is a quiet time of the year, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to try to do something, and we actually pulled it off in about three weeks. So it was not something that we had planned for a long time.”

Despite its modest origins, the Blockbuster Super Bowl spot was so profitable that Harding’s mother and father have briefly come out of retirement to assist her course of all the additional orders. In addition to the monetary increase, the shop has additionally acquired a wave of verbal help — particularly from these with fond reminiscences of household journeys to Blockbuster earlier than the streaming revolution practically rendered video and DVD leases out of date.

“We’re seeing a ton of phone calls … congratulating us, wishing us well, asking what they can do to help, telling us to hang on as long as we can,” Harding mentioned.

This isn’t the primary time the Bend Blockbuster’s recognition has skyrocketed within the wake of a water-cooler popular culture second. According to Harding, the post-Super Bowl rush hasn’t been fairly as excessive as the eye the shop acquired after Netflix (of all studios) launched a documentary concerning the final Blockbuster in 2020 — “but it’s definitely very similar.”

“I actually spoke to someone this morning on the phone … and she told me how … her and her children would come in and pick out movies and how important it was to her and her family to spend time together and how much Blockbuster meant to them as her kids were growing up,” Harding mentioned. “She wanted us to stick around as long as we could.”

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