Airbnb Gets Investors Attention with Cereal Boxes

Airbnb Inc. has one of the most unusual startup marketing strategies that separated it from the 600,000 small businesses established in its founding year: cereal boxes.

To get the public’s attention the two co-founders started making cereal boxes for the bed-and-breakfast startup. Entertaining branding with names like “Obama O’s” and Cap’n McCain’s” ended up getting the right kind of attention. A terrific quote from the article:

It was the cereal boxes, not the business model, that won the heart of one of its most important backers, Paul Graham, during the financial crisis. Then known as AirBed and Breakfast, the company had sold boxes of “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCain’s,” brands they’d made up to gin up interest in its home-sharing company during the 2008 presidential campaign.

“We need founders who’ve got survivor instinct and won’t die,” Mr. Chesky remembers Mr. Graham said. “We want cockroaches, and you are cockroaches, you will not die. You’re selling cereal boxes for God’s sake.”

Click below for an interesting article highlighting the steps the company is taking to survive the coronavirus crisis.

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Source: John D. Stoll | "Airbnb Defied the Odds of Startup Success. How Will It Survive a Pandemic?" | 04/17/2020 | Visit