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  • Writer's pictureAli Menard

Stanley Quencher Cup: From Blue Collar Necessity To Fashion Accessory

Retailer shelf filled with Stanley Quencher Tumblers

Why consider altering the business model if a company consistently generates $70 million in annual sales through dependable products and a loyal customer base? For more than a century, Stanley remained satisfied with marketing their renowned green bottles to blue-collar workers. These customers appreciated having a thermos that maintained the temperature of their beverages throughout the day, suitable for use at construction sites or similar settings. With annual profits of $70 million, the question arises: why deviate from this successful formula?

In 2020, Stanley appointed Terence Reilly as its new president. Shortly thereafter, Ashlee LeSueur, co-founder of Buy Guide, took a bold step by purchasing 5,000 Quenchers, a product Stanley had ceased restocking and marketing in 2019 due to poor sales. Remarkably, these Quenchers sold out within days. Recognizing the untapped potential, Reilly seized the opportunity he had been awaiting and forged a partnership with Buy Guide to reintroduce the Quencher to a fresh demographic: women. The Quencher, a tumbler featuring a handle and a reusable straw, is available in a variety of colors and sizes ranging from 14oz to 64oz. It guarantees to keep beverages cold for up to 12 hours depending on the size selected.

In 2022, Stanley revamped the Quencher model, introducing a diverse range of colors and finishes. With each new color variant released, sales splurged. Stanley then began unveiling limited-edition colors, igniting even greater demand. Suddenly, these tumblers transformed from mere functional cups for hydration into coveted fashion accessories. Women everywhere eagerly collected every available color. Recognizing the burgeoning trend, Reilly capitalized on the success by advocating for collaborations with celebrities and other brands. By the conclusion of 2022, revenue had soared to an impressive $402 million.

Then Stanley encountered an advertising opportunity of unprecedented magnitude. In November 2023, a woman’s car fell victim to a fire. Miraculously, the sole item to emerge practically unscathed from the blaze was her Stanley cup. Despite sustaining evident damage, the cup not only endured the inferno but also preserved ice within when she removed the lid. Upon sharing the video of her astonishing discovery on TikTok, it swiftly garnered viral attention, gathering over 60 million views. While the fire was undeniably tragic, what better testament to a product’s reliability than surviving such adversity while maintaining its promise of beverage insulation? In response to the viral sensation, Reilly reached out and not only offered to replace her Stanley cup but also promised to replace her car.

For Valentine's Day, in partnership with Target, Stanley partnered with Target to unveil a limited-edition pink 40oz Quencher. The anticipation leading up to the launch resembled that of Black Friday, with crowds camping out, engaging in literal skirmishes for prime positions in line. Social media platforms were flooded with videos capturing the chaos unfolding. The situation became so intense that Target employees began distributing numbered tickets to those waiting in line, ensuring fairness, and preventing disputes over placement or accusations of line cutting. Additionally, Target implemented restrictions on the quantity of Stanleys that a single customer could purchase at once.

The strategic shift from targeting blue-collar workers with their iconic green thermoses to appealing to women with the Quencher proved to be a stroke of brilliance. Introducing limited-edition colors to drive up demand further bolstered their revenue. The marketing narrative shifted from merely promoting hydration throughout the day to positioning the Quencher as a must-have fashion accessory. Now, individuals are customizing their Stanley cups with various accessories, as seen across social media platforms. One particularly popular trend involves attaching a miniature backpack, readily available on Amazon, to the Stanley cup. These backpacks are then filled with essentials like ChapStick, wireless headphones, credit cards, and driver’s licenses, effectively transforming the Stanley cup into a stylish and functional wallet for everyday errands.

By the close of 2023, Stanley reached an unprecedented milestone, achieving $750 million in sales. This prompts the question: how sustainable is this intensity for Stanley products? Similar trends have emerged in the past with brands like Yeti and HydroFlask both experiencing surges in popularity. Is Stanley merely riding the wave of the latest trend, or will their marketing team continue to innovate, ensuring Stanley remains the top choice in the tumbler market?

In either event, shifting one’s perspective can often create new opportunities.


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