Recently, a Stanley tumbler and a car fire became the catalyst for a viral marketing phenomenon.
On November 15, a TikTok user shared a video depicting her car engulfed in flames. Despite the car being a total loss, her Stanley tumbler not only remained unscathed but still held ice! The video swiftly went viral, accumulating over 84 million views.
Stanley president Terence Reilly leveraged the unexpected situation by stitching the video and surprising the user with more Stanley tumblers, as well as offering to replace her car. This response garnered over 32 million views in just a few days, transforming it into a heartwarming narrative of the season.
The comment section overflowed with admiration for the brand, as TikTok users expressed sentiments like:
“This is amazing, definitely getting a Stanley now!”
“They stepped up, that’s incredible. I’m definitely getting a Stanley now.”
“Do I really need a Stanley? Probably not. Will I buy one on principle? Absolutely.”
While the circumstances of this marketing incident were unique, Stanley’s knack for virality is not unprecedented. With a legacy spanning over a century, the brand was initially known for its rugged outdoor products. However, a shift occurred in 2017 with the introduction of the Quencher Tumbler.
Recognizing an opportunity, The Buy Guide founders collaborated with Stanley on a wholesale arrangement, marketing the tumblers specifically to women. The initial success led to a sold-out inventory, prompting Stanley to reintroduce the Quenchers on its official site in 2020. This relaunch featured more color options and a deliberate influencer marketing strategy aimed at attracting a female customer base. Influencers played a pivotal role by sharing links to the new tumblers, introducing the brand to a fresh audience unfamiliar with its outdoorsy origins.
Safe to say… it worked.
The New York Times reported on the quick sellouts, affirming the effectiveness of Stanley’s social media strategy. Since then, the brand has consistently leveraged its social media prowess in generating momentum and virality, to frequently experiencing sold-out product releases.
This viral incident underscores the immense power of social media marketing in shaping a brand’s narrative and cultivating consumer loyalty. This exemplifies how social media platforms can amplify brand stories and create a direct connection with the audience. In an age where information travels at the speed of a click, brands can harness the potential of social media to not only navigate unforeseen challenges, but also to showcase their values and commitment to customer satisfaction. The ability to engage with consumers in real-time, showcase authenticity, and capitalize on user-generated content has become a cornerstone of successful digital marketing strategies, transforming online platforms into dynamic spaces for brand storytelling and community building. Stanley’s journey from an outdoor gear legacy to a viral sensation is a testament to the transformative impact that strategic social media marketing can have on brand perception and market reach.