Stanley’s marketing: 110 years old “overnight success”

Stanley's marketing: 110 years old "overnight success"

How Stanley’s Sales Skyrocketed from $74 Million to $750 Million

“Stanley” is a brand of reusable water bottles that come in a variety of colors, designs and sizes.

With hundreds of thousands of searches online and a rapidly expanding profit margin, the century-old Stanley company has seen a massive popularity amongst new demographics.



Stanley’s story starts in 1913, when electrical engineer William Stanley Jr. patented the first vacuum-sealed water bottle made of steel.

At the time, manufacturers made vacuum-sealed water bottles with glass and they were fragile. If they got dropped, they’d easily break and become useless. Therefore, with this invention the brand gained popularity at the time, serving people who love camping and hiking or who work manual jobs such as construction workers.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Stanley made a new product, a flask. Then in 2014, it released a barware line.
And in 2016, the iconic Quencher was added to the brand lineup. The Quencher was the 1913 Classic Legendary Bottle flipped on its head. It had a large handle and a design that fits perfectly in car cup holders.

The founders of a blog website called “The Buy Guide” loved Stanley’s Quencher so much that they wrote a blog post about it.

In May 2022, Stanley hired Terence Reilly as its Global President. He immediately saw the factors holding the Quencher back from its own potential.

Collaborating with “The Buy Guide” influencers in Utah, they struck an affiliated marketing deal, leading to the successful launch of new Quencher colors, despite initial resistance. This move broadened Stanley’s appeal and created a rapid sell-out of the new cups.

Stanley's marketing: 110 years old "overnight success"

They had a keen eye for what colors might work for their audience, and they were right. The first half of 2020, the Quencher rolled out in 12 new colors and three new sizes. The Quencher teamed up with companies like Olay and Starbucks for limited edition collaborations.

People were buying tumblers so rapidly that they flew off the shelves and sold out online. This resulted Stanley to put a limit of two per order for each purchase.

At the end of 2020, Stanley had released two new Quencher Colors, Cream and Desert Sage. Sales increased and the company ended 2020 with a revenue of $94 million.

Stanley made history when their 2021 revenue reached up to $194 million. A $100 million difference than the year before. And the Classic Legendary Bottles reign as the number one seller came to an end.

As the bottles were getting into more hands than ever, consumers were asking the company for changes to the internet’s favorite water bottle to better fit their needs. “Stanley” decided to take into account these considerations and created “The H2.0”. Therefore it ended 2022 as the company’s best selling product and their sales exploded to $402 million for the year.

It is extremely rare for such an old brand to be able to have this sort of reinvention, especially with such a niche consumer segment that is so diametrically opposed from what it has historically been known for.

Today’s generation of fans may perceive the brand as new and trendy, but behind their success lies a lot of experience and hard work.

According to Stanley’s CEO, Terence Reily, despite being around for 110 years, Stanley has suddenly become an overnight success.

This is largely thanks to the Quencher trend, which has boosted the whole brand, especially their classic products, making them popular again and meeting people’s needs. Social media platforms like TikTok have played a huge part in making Stanley successful.

Stanley's marketing: 110 years old "overnight success"


TikTok Marketing Strategies

Stanley created a new way to expand and appeal to new users. Their strategy was to capture a higher margin by redefining the brand for a new generation and audience.

Reusable water bottles became one of the most popular ways to carry beverages and TikTok has played a big role.

From $74 million in revenue in 2019, the brand’s earnings increased to a whopping $750 million in 2023. There’s more to their success than just big numbers—it’s a masterclass in effective marketing and tapping into cultural trends.

Additionally, the appeal isn’t just about the product itself; it’s about being part of a community. Despite being a century-old company, their product hasn’t changed much in design.

However, their marketing game stayed strong. They not only use traditional marketing methods, but also explore new ways to reach people in fresh ways.

Partnering with content creators on TikTok, Stanley managed to present their product resonating with a wide range of consumers.
These creators infuse their own cultural perspectives into their content, attracting audiences who identify with their lifestyle.

Additionally, a viral incident happened and was posted on TikTok, reaching 100 MIllion views. A woman’s Stanley cup survived a car fire and still had ice in it, which is showcasing the durability of their products. This incident not only demonstrated their reliability but also garnered trust from consumers.

After the incident got viral the president of Stanley responded in a stitch to the TikTok. He said that not only would they send her some more Stanley tumblers, but they were also going to replace her car and get her a new one.

Stanley's marketing: 110 years old "overnight success"

In marketing, trust is key, and the brand understands that people trust other people more than any form of advertisement.

Experts say social media could be a huge reason why. Data shows that brands that go viral online perform much better among social media users on key metrics like favorability, brand awareness and purchase consideration.

In essence, Stanley’s success story is not just about selling water bottles; it’s about building a brand that connects people on a deeper level.

By leveraging cultural trends, partnering with influencers, and showcasing the durability of their products, Stanley has secured its place as a leader in the beverage containment market.

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