Caterpillar Inc. is undertaking a new ad campaign that represents a shift for the Peoria, Ill.-based equipment manufacturing giant. A new video on YouTube, titled "Built for It Trials: Stack," has been viewed over 1.5 million times in only two weeks.

The company used its Demonstration & Learning Center in Edwards, Ill., to stage perhaps the largest version of the game Jenga ever attempted. Five Cat machines pushed, pulled and stacked 600-lb wooden blocks in the video, a game that took two weeks to play according to Caterpillar. (The trademarked name Jenga was added to the video title after the licenser of the trademark complained, according to AdAge.)

"We opted to create the 'Built for It Trials' video in an effort to make the Cat brand more approachable for our customers," says Renee Richardson, Caterpillar global marketing services department manager. "More people are turning to the internet and social channels such as YouTube for information on our products and services."

Caterpillar has generally avoided endorsing promotional stunts of this kind, preferring to highlight the productivity and features of its machines. But with this video, the company has entered into a world of increasingly ambitious equipment demonstrations, which have been a tool of European equipment makers for some time.

In 2012, German-based Liebherr performed a public demonstration of a crane lifting a crane lifting a crane lifting a crane lifting a model of a crane.

And for anyone who has attended CONEXPO/CON-AGG or other major equipment trade shows in recent decades, the JCB Dancing Diggers are a familiar sight.


Moving beyond officially sanctioned heavy-equipment stunts, many skilled operators will upload their own trick videos to video sites such as YouTube simply to show off their finesse with the machines. The YouTube channel BobcatNinja2124 has numerous demonstrations of operational dexterity on a range of small equipment.

As Caterpillar branches out into the somewhat fickle world of viral-video creation, the company is going to have some steep competition for attention. But according to Richardson, the 'Stack' video may reach a new audience for Cat. "[The video] offered an opportunity to market our products and connect with our customers and potential customers in a unique and different way," Richardson adds.