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The Stanley Tumbler: Lessons in Marketing Success

Popular! Stanley knows about popular!

When it comes to having a breakout moment, the Stanley tumbler is currently standing in the spotlight. The cup was a most sought-after Christmas gift in 2023, is currently trending on Amazon, has gone viral on TikTok (#StanleyTok), and demand for it has caused it to spiral into its own sub-market of accessories/charms for customization. The cup was even parodied on SNL. It’s provoked a craze among consumers garnering news headlines from big names in the media.

However, this enormous (no pun intended) marketing success story didn’t just fall into Stanley’s lap. So, how did they do it?

Image credit: Stanley

The Stanley playbook

Taking a page from the Stanley tumbler marketing strategy, brands can apply these marketing lessons to give products a boost:

Find your niche – Tough and sturdy, Stanley products, specifically Stanley tumblers, have traditionally been marketed to those with jobs that demand a well-built thermos or who were headed out into the wilderness for adventure. This most often included blue-collar workers and frequent outdoors people. However, the company recognized its surge in popularity with women, specifically teen and tween girls, and leaned into the niche instead of dismissing these fans as being out of the target audience.

Embrace TikTok – A shrewd move indeed, the Stanley tumbler marketing team embraced TikTok. The platform not only appeals to this new target audience, it also taps into short-form video which is a top format to connect with consumers.

Limited editions – Creating something that won’t always be available drives a sense of urgency and exclusiveness. It can pull on the FOMO heartstrings of the target creating excitement, buzz and anticipation. People are reselling the cups for hundreds of dollars online, proving that the audience wants (and is willing) to collect all the various limited edition Stanley tumbler colors. Some consumers are even going as far as spending thousands of dollars to buy every Stanley cup on the market.

Strategic partnerships – Another great move in the Stanley tumbler marketing strategy is partnering with a brand that sells beverages. Since the travel mug is insulated, it is meant to keep the temperature of whatever is poured in, meaning that whether hot or cold, your drink maintains its temperature. One example of this limited edition effort, this time in partnership with Starbucks, is the pink Valentine’s Stanley tumbler, and it’s already sold out.

Data and trends – Stanley has been around a long time (since 1913), yet its strategy for captivating teens feels fresh and appeals to a new audience. So, how did the Stanely tumbler find this new target? By paying attention to data and trends, and then adjusting products to offer appealing colors for its new target audience.

Fill your brand’s cup

The Stanley tumbler is having its moment in the sun. The marketing team has used the above key strategies to not only discover a new audience niche, but to engage and grow that audience into a full-blown craze. Time will tell whether Stanley’s popularity will endure or fizzle, but one thing is for sure, the current marketing is paying off in a big way. Brands of all types can use the same strategies to give marketing and PR efforts a boost.

The experts at Beyond Fifteen can help your brand utilize the strategies from the Stanley tumbler playbook. Connect with us to learn more!

Connect with a Beyond Fifteen Marketing Specialist today!

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