A major marketing expert claimed that Stanley unleashed a “perfect storm” of viral marketing with social media monolith TikTok to get consumers crazy for its 40 oz. Quencher mugs. 

Victor Lee, the president of marketing consulting group Advantage Unified Commerce, recently spoke to Fox News Digital about how the company used the social media platform to snag the attention of millions of Americans and get them to buy its tumbler – dubbed the “Stanley Cup” by fans. 

The strategy netted the company ten times its usual annual profits in just a short period of time and made legions of consumers ravenous for the product.

The expert called Stanley’s entrance into the viral marketing space “brilliant,” especially for being able to take something as innocuous as a water bottle and turn it into a must-have product.

The Stanley Cup craze has been in overdrive in recent months, evidenced in viral videos showing consumers buying up store shelves of the product within minutes, and weeping for joy after getting them for Christmas.

The craze has become so prevalent that headlines have been made about parents telling bullies to lay off their kids for not having an official Stanley tumbler.

Lee began by discussing the current social media landscape and how the tumbler company was able to use it to its advantage.

The expert mentioned how the current way to win the social media race is by doing the best at leveraging the attention of the platform users for the company or influencer’s benefit.

“Your phone is now saying, ‘if I have five minutes to your attention, where do you want to go?’ And wherever you tap to, that’s who wins,” he said. “And if they don’t give you enough good stuff to occupy five minutes, you know you’re shutting that app off or that site off, and you’re going to another button, and you’re hitting it. That’s the race.”

He noted, “Who wins the race is what they did with your attention. And I think this is where TikTok fell into” Stanley’s plans. 

The expert further detailed how TikTok, compared to other social media platforms, is best equipped to trigger audiences into a reaction, including buying products.

Providing an example, he said, “TikTok is very well known for, ‘I’m going to throw a random challenge. Go do it. Go run and jump into that swimming pool. Go hop the fence or do this.’ And there’s a lot of other controversial stuff.”

He also referenced the growing “#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt” trend that’s been sweeping the platform. The hashtag currently boasts 86.6 billion views and counting on all videos related to it. The trend involves users showing off the products they’ve bought while scrolling the app, which seems to drive more marketing and sales for the products depicted.

This almost compulsive virality combined with product placement means “now there’s real business implications” for these social media platforms, Lee said, before adding that Stanley taking advantage of this dynamic “was the perfect storm.”

“I would say they absolutely defined a moment of time and succeeded in it,” the expert declared. 

Explaining how the company did this specifically, Lee noted that Stanley relied on a mixture of factors, including TikTok’s platform, and Stanley’s knowledge of its audience.

He said, “It’s not all luck, it’s not all strategy. It’s a fine mix of it. But it’s also a conviction of knowing where an audience is, in this case social media and TikTok specifically, and then allowing multiple adjacencies.” 

Providing examples, he continued, “Like you started innovative with an influencer, if you want to call it innovative, then you went into TikTok. Suddenly it’s like, ‘Well, what’s the other adjacency? Well, is this audience also a Target audience? More Target than probably other retailers? Are they a Starbucks audience? More Starbucks than other coffee? Let’s go there.’”

Stanley marketed its cups with both Target and Starbucks. The Target exclusive Stanley Quencher made news after viral video showed customers at a Target in El Paso allegedly buying up the store’s entire stock within minutes. Lee said the brand partnership itself was a “traditional” strategy rather than “innovative” on its own, but then combined with the design of cups and TikTok marketing, that’s where it become innovative. 

He said, “But they struck it where it is innovative. It is the big Stanley Cup, giant one. It is colored. It is exclusive. It is that. So that’s their innovation, which fits.”

Continuing, Lee discussed how social media, particularly TikTok, has been utilized by Stanley and other companies to generate a connection between the consumer and the product they see on their favorite influencers’ channels for example.

Mentioning his experience as the head of Hasbro’s digital marketing, he said, “During that time the craze in our world was the unboxing of toys. Why would a five-year-old kid watch an hour of YouTube of somebody opening up a toy? And what we found out is there’s a psychological effect of surprise, ‘I have something, and it’s open,’ and there’s a connection to like, Christmas, of opening something up. And that to them just captured their attention.” 

He added that TikTok presents the current form of that. “Now you fast-forward it six, ten years later. What is that? Well, there’s entertainment value – TikTok is a massive entertainment value of that.”

Lee added that TikTok is having a “double effect” on users. “Were we interesting? And did you do something? And I think that’s the magic intersection that people aren’t talking a lot about,” he said. 

Noting how marketing products benefits from this connection established between users and social media, he said, “Social media was always passive. I get to watch something, I get to engage, I get to feel that if there’s a celebrity involved, that I am closer to them than if I see them in their natural environment, on TV or in a movie. And social allows me a glimpse of their real life. Now, if I happened to start buying something from them, it makes me a tighter connection.”

“Because social feels more intimate and I’m closer to you – and if I trust you – it’s a perfect storm, is what’s happening.”

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