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YouTube Celebrity + Pinterest Sharing = Big Success for GungHo

Penned by Janet Thaeler

This post was co-written with PinAlerts co-founders Janet Thaeler and Paul Wilson about how GungHo energy drink company. GungHo is an energy shot product that is an alternative to other products like 5 Hour Energy drink – but with no jitters or crashes.

The product came out of a research study conducted at the University of Utah. The researchers wanted to help stroke victims regain their memory and people with anxiety develop better focus (as the company touts, ninja-like focus). I’m a fan of GungHo – it saves me when I’m tired and need to write a long blog posts (like this one).

GungHo wanted to launch with a social media campaign that got them new customers and tapped into social media to spread the word. What they learned is that their product appeals to women and that women are powerful brand ambassadors via sharing on Pinterest.

Here’s their launch formula.

1. Find a YouTube celebrity with a large following to introduce GungHo. 
They looked for somone who would like their product. They also wanted someone whose audience included both men and women equally. They found the Trippy’s, a married couple with a large following. Here’s the video review of GungHo the Trippy’s did. They have 760,000 plus viewers.

2. Create a special, limited time offer for the community.
The Trippy’s invited their viewers to go a special landing page where the first 5,000 people to respond would get a free sample of the product.

3. Give People an Incentive to Share by Creating an Offer for their Friends. After getting their free product, GungHo offered another special offer for introducing GungHo to their friends via social media. On the landing page, people could choose several funny ninja images to share on social sites. They could choose from Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Friends could either get a free sample or a steep discount for joining their auto-ship program. This is where they made money, most of the friends of the original people signed up for autoship.

Within 7 hours GungHo had given out all of their 5,000 free samples, beating Orabrush’s YouTube marketing record that moved 10,000 free samples in 10 days.

GungHo initially thought they were marketing to a younger male demographic, which fit best with YouTube. Their focus was on college students who want extra energy to get through their finals and college courses. But they learned the product appealed to women as much or more so than men.

Women Engage More

Women were more gung ho about sharing on social media sites than men were. Almost 60% of the social engagement came from women. Women were also more likey to add their personal endorsement with their shares. These findings made the team re-evaluate their strategy, which included redesigning their packaging to make it more appealing to women.

“We learned our most vocal advocates are women. Men would just share to get the product. Women would add their comments about it, even though they didn’t have to. Men also tried to game the system” more than women did, stated Danny Mason, co-founder of GungHo.

Women Chose to Share on Pinterest

Even though more people used Facebook and Twitter to share, Pinterest users were more active in endorsing the energy shot. Due to this level of engagement, Pinterest outpaced the other social networks when it came to referral traffic.

By tapping into the YouTube community Gungho was able to grow all of their social numbers, and get increased engagement from women — on Pinterest in particular.

The funny images combined with an easy way to share resulted in growing their fan base on every network.

Key Campaign Stats:

  • The GungHo webs site got 69,000 hits within hours. The 5,000 free were gone in 23 minutes. The next 5,000 (with discount) was gone in under 4 hours live up time (the site crashed due to all of the traffic and was down for >1.5 hrs). After 40 minutes, when site went down, they turned off the discount. With no barriers to sharing it spread too fast. Only Trippy’s fans got the discount after that.
  • Of the 69,000, over 5,700 bought or got the free sample, but the company had to turn off the viral share piece because they lost money on the $10 discount if they chose the monthly auto-delivery option. They are convinced they would have been wiped out of product if Trippy’s fans’ friends got the offer. Trippy’s fans friends just saw the funny image but did NOT get the offer.
  • The buyers from the Trippy’s site was about 59% female.
  • Men tended to share via Facebook and Twitter. The women, via Pinterest.
  • Women shared their endorsement (comments from them vs our pre-populated text in the FB, twitter or Pinterest window). Less than 5% of the time men shared personal endorsement. Over 80% of the women did.
  • Go GungHo got over 1300 new Twitter followers and over 1100 new FB fans in a matter of hours from the Trippy offer. They had almost zero following before campaign.
  • The community loved the offer from the Trippys. They had over 80 tweets, posts or other comments from his fans thanking for the hook-up. We had over 60 comments / reviews on our fan-page (they offered a free 12-pack for the best review).
  • 5,778 customers total pinned their image before they turned off the offer. 3,409 were women. 2,292 of those women chose to pin vs. share on Facebook or Twitter (67% chose pinterest vs FB or twitter). They determined the sex of people sharing by looking at the name of the person.

This is an example of some ninja marketing. Not only was the launch profitable but it built GungHo a large following. It also taught them about their biggest fan base – women who are on Pinterest. So the next time someone doubts the marketing power of Pinterest, refer them to this post.

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