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All Praise the Hutzler 571 (replay)

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hutzlergirlI have a pet rock, in the original box. I have a pair of Kelso Earth Shoes in the back of my closet. Roberta and I even have a very nice Kitchen Aide mixer which we use regularly, but until recently, my life is was yet complete - I did not have a Hutzler 571B.

The 20-person Hutzler Manufacturing Company has many products, primarily plastic kitchen utensils and food handling products.  The model 571B is said to "Slice an entire banana in one quick motion. Safe and fun for children. Dishwasher safe."

As of January 15 (2013), it was the #2 selling product in Amazon's "Mandolin and Slicers" category per a recent Businessweek article (update - it has since fallen to #97 in the category - fame is fleeting).  It is a hit on Pinterest and a darling the literati. Hundreds of people offer suggestions for the next product release, to be called either the Hutzler 571C or the 572.

How did this $1.29 plastic slicer become a top banana? It is truly a social media success story, even if it came as a complete surprise to Hutzler Manufacturing.

The start of the social campaign is unknown, but along the way over 5,500 people have jumped in and written detailed product reviews on Amazon.  Twenty four people have added custom product photos to the Amazon page for the 571B.

A poor 2-star review reads "I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slices are curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way."

A top-of-the-scale 5-star review (more than half of all reviews) reads "What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn't already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone.... this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day's banana slices. It's one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old "I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?" and of course, "You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!" These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship.

It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That's when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we've even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!"

If you think the human race has finally gone nuts, don't worry.  The 5,500 Amazon product reviews belong to the social media category of "gag reviews", but for Hutzler - it is all good. 

Other companies have intentionally attempted to create the same viral fire, but for Hutzler, it's just been bananas.

Read the reviews on Amazon to see for yourself - http://www.amazon.com/Hutzler-5717-571-Banana-Slicer/product-reviews/B0047E0EII.   Go to Youtube to see video product reviews and exceedingly clever spoofs on the legendary 571B.

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Scott is co-owner of Wave's End Services, LLC, a Colorado-based provider of Web, IT Consulting, photography, video, and training services.