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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 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.
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.
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.