The company Solo Stove finds itself navigating the aftermath of a failed marketing campaign featuring none other than the iconic Snoop Dogg. The ad, centered on the rapper “giving up smoke,” failed to translate its viral success into substantial profits, ultimately leading to the resignation of Solo Stove’s CEO, John Merris, on Jan. 16. The mutual decision to part ways comes as the company grapples with the repercussions of a campaign that fell short of delivering the desired financial impact despite garnering millions of views.
Snoop Dogg got paid for an advertisement for Solo Stoves, specifically to promote its smokeless stoves, a portable fire pit that guarantees to roast to perfection, Rolling Stone reported.
The Ad that Went Viral
Snoop Dogg led the internet to believe he was quitting smoking with a misleading post on social media that stated, “After much consideration & conversation with my family, I’ve decided to give up smoke.”
The “give up smoke” line surprised users, given Snoop Dogg’s strong association with smoking marijuana. This unexplained decision also influenced fellow artists Meek Mill and Coi Leroy to vow to give up smoking, including products like marijuana and tobacco, in solidarity with the Long Beach native.
Viral but No Sales
But while the concept was praised by industry mags like Ad Week and had the Internet abuzz, the attention didn’t translate into sales. The Solo Stoves, which come in different models retailing between $200 and $400 on various platforms like Amazon or the official website, did not sell well after the campaign.
According to Forbes, the ad’s success in selling stoves was affected by its timing. Solo Brands usually makes 35-40 percent of its sales in the fourth quarter. However, since the campaign started with just one month left in the quarter, it was challenging because people who were likely looking for a gift had already spent their money on other holiday purchases.
Adweek described the Snoop marketing strategy as a “huge leap” while examining Solo Brands more closely.
The company experienced steady growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, likely due to a product well-suited for those at home.
The brand has maintained stable revenue, reporting net sales of $329.5 million for the last 9 months of 2023, reflecting a 2.8 percent increase from the same period in 2022.
Solo Stove primarily focused on direct-response marketing, investing in measurable channels like social media.
The exact number of units sold remains undisclosed. Before departing from the company, Merris had previously indicated an increase in social media followers following the collaboration with Snoop, reaching approximately 60,000 users who became aware of the brand, according to Rolling Stone. Despite this heightened awareness, the smokeless fire pits did not witness purchases from these 60,000 users. Meanwhile, the rapper’s social posts about giving up smoke racked up millions of views.
The effective advertisement but unsuccessful revenue outcome led to a reorganization in the company’s leadership. Christopher Metz, the newly announced CEO, is stepping in to replace Merris.
“While our unique marketing campaigns raised brand awareness of Solo Stove to an expanded and new audience of consumers, it did not lead to the sales lift that we had planned, which, combined with the increased marketing investments, negatively impacted our EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization],” Andrea Tarbox, interim CFO, said in a statement. “We believe there is a significant opportunity for us to build awareness and that these new campaigns will expand our reach and benefit our brands over the long term.”
Snoop From Gangsta Rapper to America’s Pitchman
Companies have long relied on Snoop Dogg’s laid-back persona and widespread appeal to attract impressionable consumers. Even though the Solo Stoves ad campaign failed its primary objective, it still managed to secure the 18th spot on Ad Age’s list of the 40 best ads in 2023.
Ad Week added that because millions of people had no idea what the brand was, Snoop’s adtechnically was still a win for the company.
Looking beyond this incident, Snoop Dogg is anticipated to offer commentary for the 2024 Summer Olympics.