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Brand in Crisis: The Next Bud Light?

January 30, 2024

A cult-brand meltdown is underway.

And this story is more than 100 years in the making.

Let us set the stage.

William Stanley Jr. invented a significant advancement in portable beverage containers in 1913. His breakthrough involved combining vacuum insulation with the sturdiness of steel, resulting in the first all-steel vacuum bottle. This invention revolutionized the way people consumed hot drinks on the go, laying the foundation for a brand that would become synonymous with rugged, reliable outdoor gear.

The brand? Stanley (like its namesake).

Despite its longstanding presence in the market, the Stanley brand truly took off in 2019, more than 100 years after its inception. The pivotal moment came with the introduction of the 40-ounce Quencher bottle in 2016 and its subsequent promotion through a collaboration with the Buy Guide, a women-run blog, in 2019.

This partnership, coupled with a shift in marketing strategy towards influencer marketing and targeting a female audience, propelled the company's growth.

Stanley's annual sales soared from $70 million in 2019 to an impressive $750 million in 2023, marking a significant turnaround and establishing the Stanley bottle as a must-have item in the world of insulated beverage containers.

But it seems the mighty is falling.

The drivers of its meteoric growth (moms on social media) are now ditching their beloved Stanley’s amid rising fear.

Fear of what, you ask?

Lead.

Concerns about lead in Stanley cups were first brought to light in March 2023 by a lead advisory blog named "Lead Safe Mama."

The issue gained more traction in August 2023 when a TikTok user, Mils (@m1l522), posted a video showing a lead test kit indicating the presence of lead on the bottom center of a Stanley cup purchased for her three-year-old.

This led to increased scrutiny and concern among customers – and amateur, at-home swab tests look damning for the brand:

Stanley maintains that their products are FDA tested and approved, with all contact surfaces being safe and BPS/BPA-free – but recent searches show consumers are not convinced.

Wowzas. Talk about a branding problem on your hands.

Consumer mentions show rising confusion and fear.

To be clear: unless a Stanley cup is damaged, you’re probably fine.

But for the brand, the damage is undeniable – especially with dozens of other options available .

Members -- watch out for a Bullish opportunity alert featuring one of these Stanley alternatives to hit your inbox in the next 30 minutes. 

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