The Success of the Stanley: A Case Study

January 18th, 2024
This is a photo of the write of this blog, Corben Surio
Title card for Corben Surio

No, not the NHL Stanley Cup…

If you don’t know what a Stanley cup is by now, you must live under a rock. Their tumbler cups have soared to popularity amongst girls, teens, moms, and everything in between, they’re all the rage right now. The question is though, how did they achieve such widespread success for a company that has been around for 100+ years? Video marketing may have had something to do with it.

An Unlikely Partnership


A company that was founded in 1913, built on the back of their army green colored bottles that were widely used by blue collar male workers and outdoorsmen, had enjoyed steady sales revenue throughout the last one hundred years. It wasn’t until 2020 when the new president, Terence Reilly, came onto the scene and went straight to one of the best sources for success at his new company, its own employees. An employee mentioned The Buy Guide, a commerce blog that was rooting for the success of the Quencher cup from its inception in 2016. Given a unique opportunity, the cofounder of Buy Guide was presented with the option of purchasing an order of 5,000 cups to sell from her blog, and sell they did. Reilly quickly made the move to partner with Buy Guide and aimed to delve into a target market previously unknown for Stanley; women.

Releasing newer and more vibrant and exciting colors of the cup with the guidance and input of Buy Guide, the Stanley cup more than doubled their revenue from 2020 at $94 million to 2021 at $194 million. To aid in this push towards virality, Stanley began partnering with influencers and celebrities to promote their product on social media. They also saw incredible success from user-generated content on platforms like TikTok, which has been a major factor in their increased sales of the cup.

The Power of TikTok

Perhaps the most memorable moment of their marketing efforts thus far has been the capitalization of a viral video and their response. A few months ago, a woman named Danielle posted a video on her TikTok account, @danimarielettering, of her car that had caught fire, virtually everything was destroyed, except her Stanley Quencher cup. She even picked up the cup and shook it to show the ice inside had not yet melted. Her video captured almost 95 million views and caught the attention of the Stanley social media team who was quick to respond.

Their response? To buy Danielle a brand new car.

Stanley saw the TikTok Danielle had posted and knew how much free advertising she had garnered for Stanley, they figured the least they could do was replace her car for her. This exchange is one of the best examples I have seen of a company doing their best to take care of their customers and in turn generating an incredible return on investment.

Anything is Possible

Stanley was projected to close out 2023 with $750 million in sales. While I’m unsure if the Stanley craze is going to last, they undoubtedly made waves in the hydration market and in the video marketing space.