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How Stanley used influencers to become the ultimate UK water cup status symbol


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

December 20, 2023 | 12 min read

Stanley is a 110-year-old brand that makes products to keep food and drink at the appropriate temperatures. So how has a brand so functional that has historically marketed itself to outdoors people become the cultural commodity lusted over by social media users across the UK?

Lilac purple Stanley Quencher water cup

Lilac Stanley Quencher mug / Stanley

The Stanley Quencher water drinking cup was introduced in 2016, but the product started gaining notoriety online in the US through the female lifestyle space in the past few years.

This year, Stanley launched the product in the UK market, and within months, it had become the ‘it girl’ status symbol, with each new color drop being a sell-out success. In November, the UK department store John Lewis named the Quencher one of its ‘products of the decade’.

The brand’s ‘about us’ page says the products are “an essential part of workdays, road trips and outdoor adventures.” But to cater to its new viral fame, Stanley introduced new collections with trending colors and product lines squarely aimed at its new female audience.

The Stanley Quencher is one of the number one TikTok trending drinking cups in the US and Stanley was looking to replicate its success in the UK.

Stanley’s consumer marketing specialist EMEA Eline Wojnar-Gijselings, tasked the agency UK Fusion Media to build out a localized influencer program. The brief from Wojnar-Gijselings, was to “cultivate an influencer community that could effectively communicate the USPs of the Quencher as a vital hydration aid.”

Fusion Media set about collaborating with influencers to create engaging and educational content to support the UK product launch and drive sales through affiliate partnerships.

The agency’s first step was to find and recruit influencers who were already aware of the product due to the hype in the US and who had already shared or engaged with Stanley products.

“We aimed to leverage this authenticity in our UK strategy, ensuring content creators discovered the Quencher in real-time and authentically documented their experiences,” Wojnar-Gijselings says.

The Quencher in the US initially grew organically through parenting and lifestyle bloggers so Fusion Media started to build out a localized roster in the same sector.

To build the ambassador network the agency strategically selected a mix of macro and mega content creators from diverse backgrounds, including lifestyle, fitness, and first-time mums.

“The success of the campaign also came not from heavy investment, but finding out who the consumer followed and bringing the Quencher to them. Tapping into this was an essential part of our strategy," adds Wojnar-Gijselings.

The emphasis was on ensuring the Quencher seamlessly integrated into and enhanced their daily lives, fostering authentic content creation. This approach aimed to capture genuine experiences and resonate with the influencers’ audiences.

The content strategy was varied with a mix of Instagram Reels that were USP-focused and then stories on launch day which were tailored to drive sales and website clicks. Other campaign elements included unboxing videos that showcased the packaging and the influencer initial reactions to receiving the product and ‘a day in the life’ style clips as well as short, snappy reels to highlight the product features and benefits.

This deliberate content split aimed to provide a holistic view of the Quencher, from its unique features to its tangible benefits in everyday life.

On launch day, the influencer-driven campaign successfully translated into sales and website traffic. “The Quencher, once an American phenomenon, became a sought-after hydration companion for the UK audience, cementing its place as an icon on both sides of the Atlantic,” a spokesperson from Fusion Media said.

The Stanley Quencher launch in the UK didn’t just translate into sales, but it turned something as functional as a water cup into a must-have cultural commodity.

Lucy Harding, influencer specialist at Fusion, is behind the campaign for Fusion Media and offered her top four tips for running an influencer campaign.

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1. Prioritize authenticity and relevance

“Select influencers whose values align with your brand and whose audience is likely to be genuinely interested in your product or service. The success of the Stanley Quencher strategy hinged on the authenticity of influencer experiences. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, crucial for effective influencer marketing.”

2. Diversify influencer mix strategically

“Build a diverse portfolio of influencers, including macro and mega influencers from various backgrounds and niches. Diverse influencers bring different perspectives and appeal to a broader audience. This diversity ensures that your product is presented in a relatable way to a wide range of potential consumers.”

3. Create purposeful content splits

“Develop a content strategy that serves specific purposes, such as educational content highlighting product features and benefits, and promotional content focused on driving sales. A well-thought-out content split allows you to convey a comprehensive brand story. Educational content builds awareness and understanding, while promotional content drives conversions and sales.”

4. Establish real-time discovery experiences

“Encourage influencers to discover your product and share their experiences in real-time, fostering a sense of spontaneity and genuine discovery. The success of the Quencher in the US originated from legitimate discovery by influencers. Capturing these moments authentically contributes to the curiosity narrative that resonates with audiences.”

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