Mentos: Everybody’s Intern or Nobody’s Fool?

Mentos recently launched a microsite that caught my attention. is a live video feed of Trevor, a 19-year-old intern working out of the Mentos HQ for the summer. In typical intern fashion, Trevor is bombarded with a multitude of tasks throughout the day. The catch is that all of his tasks are submitted by visitors to the site.

At the moment, Trevor is getting hit with random assignments from strangers via phone, IM, and email. The site says "he’ll order you lunch, customize your music playlists, sing on command, and even prank call your colleagues."

Clever stunt for sure and it’s a good example of how brands are continuing to push the envelope in terms of participatory marketing. Mentos certainly knows the benefits of consumer engagement with last year’s surge of diet coke geyser experiments. Will it help sell more Mentos though? Who knows. Interesting and well-executed concept at least. It will be fun to watch as the summer progresses. I’m expecting a Trevor meltdown any day now.

3 thoughts on “Mentos: Everybody’s Intern or Nobody’s Fool?

  1. You both make valid comments re: the image and reputation of interns. Personally, I think the “intern image” has been negative ever since the double whammy of Monica Lewinsky and the Congressional Page scandal dominated the headlines. Maybe one of you should start an intern blog or web site where your peers can share information and best practices. InternBook? MyIntern?

  2. It seems that “newbies” and “grunts” in most organizations undergo an adverse trial period. The downtrodden intern is one example, but fraternity pledges and freshmen athletes face similarly trying situations. Even the online gaming community ridicules its newcomers, calling them “uber-newbs.” These roles naturally lend themselves to “carrying water” (quite literally), which is to be expected, but the connotations of inferiority extend beyond mere rank. Labels like “Freshman!” and “Pledge!” come off as insults rather than reminders of status, and although calling the errand boy “intern” packs a less demeaning punch, it certainly isn’t the first step in building prize-fighting confidence. And as Doug points out, feeding Trevor meaningless tasks only seems to fatten the intern stereotype.
    Although Trevor is a creative ploy, his shtick is predictable; and what’s more, it doesn’t ask consumers – or interns – to be better than what is expected. An organization that creates space for more meaningful contributions from its “uber-newbs” might be surprised by their fresh perspective, which in turn, might gain the admiration of its competitors, or in this case, soon-to-be followers.

  3. I think the greater issue here is the growing negative perceptions surrounding the role of an intern. If there is ever an organization or group that needed a positive PR boost, it is interns. What ever happened to the idea of a hard working kid looking to gain some experience in his or her career of choice? Instead, we have Trevor, a 19-year-old who orders lunch while the rest of the world mocks him. I like to think I’m not unique in actually playing a contributory role, even if it is small, at my summer internship. Whether or not this is the case, why are interns such a ridiculed group? I can only imagine that a Blacksmith apprentice was never treated that way, so why now? Maybe it is because people like Trevor are actually willing to do such things, but it must go beyond that, there must be an answer.