Twenty-three-year-old partners Jeremy Kraus and Sam Cohen were celebrated in our "Hot List" of 17 millionaires under age 30 last April. But we weren't the only ones who spotted the potential of their $5 million business, Jeremy's MicroBatch Ice Creams.
Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) named Kraus the winner of its "See Your Small Business on the Super Bowl Search II" for 1999. His prize: A 30-second commercial (which aired January 31, 1999) worth more than $1 million, the unofficial title of "Smallest Business on the Super Bowl" and $5,000.
According to Kraus, who entered the contest at the Philadelphia MBE where he purchased a mailbox upon incorporation, creative control wasn't part of the deal. Fortunately, the talking Jeremy head on a pint of his product--plus plugs about how MBE helped him start and run the business--did its job. And not just by growing the ice cream company's number of authorized distribution outlets from about 800 (pre-commercial) to its present 5,000 mark. Kraus frequently gets "Oh, it's that guy" recognition when people realize the origin of his familiarity.
Would he spoon over a cool million to advertise in this year's Super Bowl? Probably not--Kraus prefers to use guerrilla tactics instead, like the Jeremy's MicroBatch Secret Service teams.
"The key to consumer product success for a start-up is authenticity," says Kraus. You can't get more authentic than a "full-fat" product in this day and age.