Embracing Marketing Mistakes

Stanley's Strategic Pivot into the Millennial Market - Campaign Crunch

April 23, 2024 Prohibition PR Season 1 Episode 30
Stanley's Strategic Pivot into the Millennial Market - Campaign Crunch
Embracing Marketing Mistakes
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Embracing Marketing Mistakes
Stanley's Strategic Pivot into the Millennial Market - Campaign Crunch
Apr 23, 2024 Season 1 Episode 30
Prohibition PR

Discover the secret behind Stanley's shift from your grandpa's thermos to the must-have accessory gracing the hands of Gen Z, as Victoria from Prohibition joins us for a revealing chat. We unpack the strategic pivot that saw this classic American brand turn its durable beverage containers into viral sensations, tapping into the unquenchable thirst for the latest and greatest in hydration fashion. As we sip on success stories and cringeworthy marketing mishaps, you'll get a taste of the real, raw, and sometimes ridiculous world of branding and influencer marketing.

Laugh along with Victoria and ourselves as we reminisce about our own professional blunders, from a first-day fiasco to Instagram mishaps that could have spelled disaster. This episode isn't just about pointing fingers; it's a toast to the power of authenticity, owning your mistakes, and the resilience needed to bounce back stronger. Join us as we celebrate Stanley's mastery of the social media game and the creation of a culture that's as robust as the products they sell, all while keeping our own PR goofs in check.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the secret behind Stanley's shift from your grandpa's thermos to the must-have accessory gracing the hands of Gen Z, as Victoria from Prohibition joins us for a revealing chat. We unpack the strategic pivot that saw this classic American brand turn its durable beverage containers into viral sensations, tapping into the unquenchable thirst for the latest and greatest in hydration fashion. As we sip on success stories and cringeworthy marketing mishaps, you'll get a taste of the real, raw, and sometimes ridiculous world of branding and influencer marketing.

Laugh along with Victoria and ourselves as we reminisce about our own professional blunders, from a first-day fiasco to Instagram mishaps that could have spelled disaster. This episode isn't just about pointing fingers; it's a toast to the power of authenticity, owning your mistakes, and the resilience needed to bounce back stronger. Join us as we celebrate Stanley's mastery of the social media game and the creation of a culture that's as robust as the products they sell, all while keeping our own PR goofs in check.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

Follow Chris Norton:
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TikTok
LinkedIn

Follow Will Ockenden:
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LinkedIn

Follow The Show:
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YouTube

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Campaign Crunch, our concise companion to Socially Inacceptable. This is a much shorter version of the show and we delve into the best marketing campaigns, dissecting successes, missteps and everything in between, all in under 20 minutes. Each episode tackles a specific campaign or crisis, meticulously examining its strategy, execution and, most importantly, the key takeaways for you and your brand.

Speaker 2:

So hi everyone. Today we're joined by Victoria, who's going to talk about a very interesting campaign and also explain a few things to me, because in the pre-briefing I had no idea what this product was and there's been a few kind of glares and frown because in the pre-briefing I had no idea what this product was and there's been a few kind of glares and frowns in the office because apparently I was supposed to understand what it was.

Speaker 2:

Will thought it was something to do with golf. It sounds like it's a tournament, doesn't it? I must admit, I did think that. So, victoria, do you want to introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at Prohibition before you go into your um, your campaign sure thanks for having me willing, chris.

Speaker 3:

Um, I'm a senior account manager at prohibition. I've been with the team for just over five years now, um, and I mean we work super integratively across a lot of clients at prohibition. But I personally love working across um the influence side of things, um, and creative social side of things, which is why I kind of was drawn to what Stanley Cup has been doing um as of late, um the past few years really, um which has kind of culminated in this huge, um sort of viral sensation that is now Stanley Cup, which is why I can't quite believe Will has never seen or heard of one before yeah, so I did.

Speaker 2:

I must admit, I did think it was a golf tournament, um, and I'm told it's not. So can you start by explaining to some of our listeners who may not know what stanley cup?

Speaker 1:

a lot of people know stanley. It's the stanley, the brand is to do.

Speaker 2:

It is stanley the diy brand, is it?

Speaker 3:

yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's um the og american brand, basically great heritage to the brand. They started out as um essentially aimed at um the american like hiking audience and outdoorsy audience. They um basically anything that needed a vacuum seal on it. They made it, um think, really traditional, like thermos, flasks, um that kind of thing and, as you can imagine, there's only so far you can go with tapping into this kind of really focused male audience. The company was kind of not necessarily declining or anything but plateauing in terms of sales, so they needed something to really sort of pick up the brand and tap into new audiences, which is where the kind of new format of the cup has come from. But they went about it in quite a non-traditional way for a brand. So essentially, what's happened to Stanley as a brand? They've gone from what they describe as a green, male and hot product and turned it into a colourful female and cold product bear with me on this one.

Speaker 3:

So, yeah, when you'd be putting your sort of I don't know flasks of coffee, tea, whatever, whilst you're going hiking, and these old products, now we are tapping into the kind of female audience that's a huge trend for getting your water and making sure you're drinking um, all day, every day. Um, so that's what it's all about now. Um, and yeah, they went about it in a really non-traditional way. Um, and essentially the success of what's happened with stanley over the past few years is they knew when to seize the right opportunity when it came to influencers. Um, we know, as social people, all day, every day, will get approached by influencers for any and all of the brands that we work with, and it can be quite a job to sort of weed out who is actually going to be a really spot-on brand partner, and clearly the in-house Stanley team did a really good job at this.

Speaker 2:

I think I've had this conversation with a thousand clients, when they say, right, we want to break into new markets, we want to do things a bit bit differently, we want some innovation, and it hardly ever works, does it? So what? What has stanley done that has made this such a phenomenon? What do you put it down to?

Speaker 3:

I think it's about seizing the right opportunity and not only that, but paying attention to what consumers, what is happening sort of with consumers and within consumer trends. I think brands can quite often just get single track minded and want to just do something because that's what they want to do and for the sake of it, instead of taking a step back and actually, you know, doing the groundwork to see what is actually being asked of them from consumers.

Speaker 2:

And what was that in this case? And what's the trend here? Is it the fact that everyone has huge bottles of water on their desks in offices?

Speaker 3:

They absolutely have jumped on the back of this desire to be drinking five litres of water every single day or whatever it is we should be drinking right now. But they also listened to some of the issues consumers had with the products that were already out there, already out there um. So you know, traditionally it's these kind of plastic bottles. Your water can sit two liters of it, however much you want, in there all day long. It's getting slowly sort of room temperature. It's getting a bit tepid and not that nice to to actually drink um, whereas they saw um influencers coming to them telling them how good their cups were at specifically keeping sort of water or whatever drink cold all day long.

Speaker 2:

So they interesting. So are you saying they, they.

Speaker 3:

The innovation is partly driven by a kind of organic movement of influencers saying this product's great, and then they realized there was an opportunity a hundred percent, um and this is sort of tying back to that whole, you know, figuring out who the right influencer to work with is. They've absolutely nailed it here, because they saw that these influencers saw something in their product which opened their eyes to the potential of these untapped markets.

Speaker 1:

So who did they work with then?

Speaker 3:

So they worked with a group of three influencers who all ran a platform called the Buy Guide. It's an American platform. It started years and years and years ago when blogging first became a thing and slowly sort of gained traction and grew their own following massively. So it's three influencers that run the buyer guide Ashley, Taylor and Linley and they basically did some sort of guerrilla campaign, tagging Stanley constantly on socials, writing to them directly, sort of campaigning to them and pitching to Stanley as to why that's cool.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it was a completely different way of going around, kind of influence marketing, instead of thinking of thinking, oh, who are these three annoying influencers constantly?

Speaker 1:

in our inboxes.

Speaker 3:

They actually took a step back, had a look at the market themselves, did the research and decided you know what, these are absolutely brand ambassadors that we need and essentially went into this new kind of what? What was it? Colourful, cold female audience and has become this huge viral sensation. You know, they're all over Instagram. They're all over TikTok. There's constantly memes about it. You see news stories about sort of targeting America specifically, but more so now in the UK. It's a massively growing market here too.

Speaker 2:

Very authentic, isn't it? A hundred percent, in fact. That reminds me, you know the? Was it the Heinz Absolute collab that came from? Was it? Gigi Hadid created a what was it? Pasta a la vodka, and then Heinz listened to it and decided to innovate a product off the back of it, and I love that idea of well. For me, it kind of highlights the importance of being part of those brand conversations and listening to how your customers will use your product, and often it will be in very different ways to how it's intended. But listening to those and learning from those in the way that Stanley have done is really powerful, isn't it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and listening to the right conversations, not just listening to everybody listening to things that you think could be a decent uh product innovation, not just a pr stunt, exactly. It's not just doing things for the sake of it, it's actually backing it up with with real life stuff. And I mean, yeah, it started as an american trend and now we've got them all in our office as well. Um. So yeah, they've absolutely nailed it with, with jumping on these influencers, um sort of adapting to this new customer which now forms quite a big share of their actual sales.

Speaker 3:

It's completely moved away from that traditional old kind of thermos flask style product that it was back in the day that I remember my grandpa having how much are they? That's a great question.

Speaker 2:

I feel like they're going to be expensive. Question um expensive yeah they're.

Speaker 3:

They are at a higher price point. Um, I think they're probably around the 20 quid market or 20 dollar mark.

Speaker 1:

I don't know what the version is.

Speaker 3:

Yeah um, yeah, find that out. But yeah and, and since then they've kind of um then gone on to build sort of wider affiliate influencer marketing programs.

Speaker 2:

It's just gone from strength to strength I was going to ask how have they scaled this so? You know, probably good fortune and sort of savvy um, savvy marketing in the first instance, but you know that can only take you so far. What have they subsequently done that's given this the scale?

Speaker 3:

yeah. So they've um started starting off with their um original three influencers. Obviously saw the potential, saw things sort of growing organically, and then now they are regularly doing um gifting drops with influencers. They've got paid brand ambassadors. Now they've got affiliate marketing programs sort of running, all kind of tapping into that authenticity. They've got numerous sort of retailer partnerships as well. Um, I think I mentioned it just before, but Target in the US is one of their biggest ones and they just really sort of hype up this whole limited editionness of some of these as well, which creates this kind of supply and demand. I mean they sell on, like eBay now, some of the like limited edition ones for crazy money.

Speaker 2:

Sounds like Prime in its heyday, when people were bidding 30, 40 quid for like limited edition ones for crazy money sounds like um prime in its in its heyday, yeah people were bidding 30, 40 quid for a limited edition.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the cup version and they're about 40, 40 to 45 pounds each. These wow, they're not cheap, but they do look pretty cool. So if stanley are listening, if you want to send us a few to the office, we'd appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Nicely branded as well, that'd be good yeah, exactly, I love this yeah, I love this kind of theme of listening to the right conversations. I remember years ago when social media first started emerging and you got lots of fan groups Coca-Cola in the US, I think their marketing director or somebody in the lawyer probably it's always a lawyer found there's all these fan groups talking about the products and he went to the marketing director and said, look, we need to get this shut down. And the marketing director was like, absolutely not. What we need to do is engage with them and learn from them and give them products and actually turned into a really effective strategy for coca-cola yeah I think now you know platforms like tiktok and instagram, you can identify how your products are talked about, can't you?

Speaker 2:

and you can watch and observe and learn, and probably that's what Stanley did in this case, wasn't it?

Speaker 3:

A hundred percent and I think it's that reactiveness as well. There was a viral story of a woman. I mean it's quite dramatic. She got into a car crash and the whole car was basically this ball of flames. She was absolutely fine, but also her Stanley Cup was absolutely fine it did not melt down.

Speaker 1:

So obviously they, but also her Stanley Cup was absolutely fine. Oh yeah, it did not melt down, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So obviously they made sure that we're right on this story.

Speaker 1:

That's absolute gold isn't it yeah?

Speaker 3:

like what more? That's a PR dream, isn't it? On top of.

Speaker 2:

It's probably made from what they make the black box and airplanes out of.

Speaker 1:

It's probably better than that, so it's just that, reactiveness as well and they bought her a new car and yeah, they did, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it did. Yeah, that was it. It still had the ice.

Speaker 2:

It's crazy, it's actually crazy. So they're having fun with it, aren't they? You know, from this very kind of conservative, um, older brand, they've they've really kind of segued into being a very relevant young brand, haven't?

Speaker 1:

they gone from like the fisherman's friend to like the gen z's best mate.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, basically, um, now is this is this, to avoid going over the same point. I I understand They've gone from like the fisherman's friend to like the Gen Z's best mate. Yeah, basically.

Speaker 2:

Now is this to avoid going over the same point. I understand Stanley's an American company. Is it the same Stanley as in Stanley Knives?

Speaker 1:

Yes, exactly then.

Speaker 2:

Okay, interesting.

Speaker 3:

And they didn't just kind of also stop at kind of just reaching out to influencers and making sure that influencers are sharing and part of all their affiliate programs and all that. They started getting into the PR game. They've got it in every best product roundup. They're kind of um, you know, indie best style stuff. They seeded out loads of um sort of review style content so, you know, trying to assess whether they're actually worth the money and worth the hype, turns out every journalist loved them, which is great.

Speaker 1:

They absolutely are um, they're very pastel, aren't they the colors wise?

Speaker 3:

yeah, very pastel. I mean there's all different. There's honestly hundreds of colors now.

Speaker 1:

I would imagine, so you can get limited edition ones, right, yeah, yeah, yeah, so like I keep going on about Target, but Target Red was a thing for a while Liverpool one, chris, that's a good one, isn't? It yeah, Liverpool one Socially unacceptable one would be good Now is there a danger?

Speaker 2:

I always wonder this extend the product range too far and lose credibility, because you see that a lot, don't you?

Speaker 3:

over extension, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think that kind of um taps into that whole idea of a product maybe becoming a bit too commercialized, a little bit basic and people kind of um rebelling against that eventually. But um, we have, you know, you have seen a little bit of that kind of basic stanley girl type, I say, in inverted commas type vibe. But they've not shied away from that, they've actually sort of started taking the piss out of themselves a little bit and that's worked massively in their favour. You know people love that sort of content where it's just like I'm Stanley girl and proud rather than cringe.

Speaker 2:

So it's kind of defining. It's like being a Prosecco, you know, the Prosecco hun culture kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

Is it so popular, though and Gen Z are known to not drink as much as our generation, the millennials and the Gen X and everything? Is it also because a lot of people because I've got friends who've got camper vans and stuff like- that and they buy these types of mugs to put their beers in and their wine in.

Speaker 1:

And is Gen Z doing that? Or are they all just drinking water with liquid death in it and stuff like that? They do look quite feminine to me. They look more for the female market. I know you said that at the beginning. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Because the old thermos flasks was very much about man going fishing, man doing.

Speaker 3:

And they still do those products. So if you want to go buy one, chris, you can have one of those I'm not that old, you don't want the pink pastel I'm cool I want to be gen z I think he still has it from the 70s.

Speaker 3:

It's you know, that bright orange seven 1970s orange, yeah, yeah, it's like it's probably a bit of a collector's item now yeah, um yeah, like I like I don't know, my grandpa's literally still got some in the loft like the OG ones, but yeah, but they're now like a collector's thing as well. Like there are so many colors, people literally buy I don't know five different colors, 10 different colors of these cups so they can rotate through the colors. It's almost like an accessory now to your outfit. Obviously, they've got the huge handle.

Speaker 2:

People just carry them around and, quite honestly, they're making as much money as they can quite rightly, while they can. But because the product demand is not going to last forever, is it?

Speaker 1:

so what are the results then? Victoria. What have you seen?

Speaker 3:

in terms of you know what we've seen across, kind of the social side of things. Um over I think it's in 2023 they had 150 million views of sort of hashtag stan stanley tumblr across um tiktok and instagram why stanley tumblr, not stanley course?

Speaker 1:

sorry stanley, what is it stanley?

Speaker 3:

uh, it's a.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's technically a stanley thirst quencher but it's just a very kind of yeah, because you, we said we started with stanley cup and now we're talking about hashtag Stanley. I can't say the fucking word. So hashtag Stanley, tumblr, what is it? Is it a Stanley Stanley Cup? I can't say Quirstventure. No, that's Quenture.

Speaker 2:

That's what I can't say there's a spoonerism in that, and it says Quenture at the bottom. So is it a?

Speaker 1:

quencher, a stump, fucking forget it. Stumbler, it's a stumbler, that's what it is the official product is called what does happen then?

Speaker 2:

I don't know, I don't know how to break down.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my point is yeah, what is the actual name of it? Is it stanley cup?

Speaker 3:

the actual name of it is a stanley thirst quencher 2.0 there we go if we want to get technical that's actually, isn't it yeah? Or is it H2.0 actually?

Speaker 2:

flow state tumbler. What's that then?

Speaker 3:

that's what this product is so the full product name is the Stanley Quencher H2.0 flow state tumbler.

Speaker 1:

I don't know why they've shortened it to Stanley Cup god.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, they've had whatever hashtag 150 million views of that.

Speaker 1:

Amazing.

Speaker 3:

Like I said, they went into the media gifting side of things, review side of things. They got over 200 pieces of coverage in a six-month period six to 12-month period last year and they saw sales increase by 275%.

Speaker 1:

I mean 275% increase in sales is impressive.

Speaker 3:

And especially when they're 30, 40 quid a pop 45 quid a pop yeah on Google right now.

Speaker 2:

Premium price point, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, great Well done, great campaign from Stan Lee.

Speaker 2:

I feel like I need to go and drink four litres of water now.

Speaker 1:

No, I think we should need to put some beers in it.

Speaker 2:

Can we get some Pro prohibition branded ones maybe? Maybe they're on order now. Final question, victorian, I'm gonna I'm gonna land this on you, perhaps unfairly. Uh, the podcast is called socially unacceptable easy for me to say, and it's um, it's about marketing fuck-ups, professional fuck-ups now in previous sessions. Obviously, nobody makes any fuck-ups here at prohibition, so it's always at a previous point in your career. But I wondered if there's any amusing or interesting fuck-ups you've made over the years that you care to talk about. Just to put you on the spot.

Speaker 3:

Just to put me on the spot a bit, I think mine.

Speaker 2:

Just to give you a sense of it my first ever job. On my first ever day I trod dog dirt into the office.

Speaker 1:

Oh God, that's pretty horrible, isn't it? Terrible, he was spreading shit on his first day.

Speaker 2:

My boss has still never let me forget that it's a good one, Thanks thanks.

Speaker 3:

I mean we've all done the classic thing of obviously not at probation back in the executive days at previous agencies, of accidentally being logged into the old client social media and going out putting something up and then thinking, oh shit, and like that sort of heart palpitation moment where you're like sweating. Thinking like this cannot possibly delete quick enough.

Speaker 2:

Documenting your night out on a client's Instagram brand account.

Speaker 3:

I've done that and I'd not realized. For a good sort of 15, 20 minutes I did delete it. No one, I think, found out Until today.

Speaker 1:

Until today.

Speaker 3:

Until today.

Speaker 1:

Luckily, nobody's probably reading the social media at 3 am.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, fingers crossed anyway.

Speaker 2:

There we go. That's very relatable. Actually, I'm sure we've all done that. I think I've even done that back in the day. I'm not going to talk about what I did, because it was awful, you know what I've done. I'm intrigued now, yeah, brilliant. Well, thank you very much for that, victoria. That was a fascinating campaign, really interesting to dive into influencers and a really kind of authentic campaign and very good fuck up as well. So thank you very much for that.

Speaker 3:

No worries, thanks for having me.

Stanley Cup
Stanley Thirst Quencher Marketing Success
VC's F*ck Up