A Cup, A Car, and Compassion: Stanley's Viral Response to a Car Fire

See this and 4 other examples of brands surprising and delighting customers

Hey, welcome to Mind Your Marketing. The weekly newsletter that gives you actionable social media advice for your brand.

Today’s article is all about Surprise & Delight marketing efforts by brands. The Stanley brand went viral last week for its response to seeing a customer lose their care in a fire. I break down this situation and four other times brands stepped up to help their customers.

Enjoy below!

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Last week, a video went viral with a lady named Danielle showing everyone the aftermath of her vehicle catching fire. To her surprise, one item stayed intact completely throughout the fire: her Stanley Brand cup.

The cup still had its ice in it, which is by itself remarkable.

But what happened next is a demonstration of Surprise & Delight marketing on behalf of Stanley. When they heard the news and Danielle’s video caught virality, the company responded by stitching her original video and offering to replace her car (along with a few Stanley products).


#stitch with @Danielle Stanley has your back ❤️

Danielle’s original video had 37.5M views and the brands response video has 11.5M at the time of this writing. This doesn’t account for the millions of views from accounts resharing the video on social media and the news. Not only was this a nice thing to do, its garnered massive positive exposure for the brand.

Key Learnings:

  • Timely reactions go a long way: Things move a mile a minute on the internet. Stanley being able to react within a few days of the video going viral was a major key in helping create more buzz around the story

  • Compassion wins: Consumers know genuine compassion when they see it. Seeing this response from the company, endeared more people to the brand

  • Incorporate company leaders: By putting a face behind the gesture it humanized the brand. It didn’t feel gimmicky but like it was between two humans. That goes a long way.

Four Other Examples of Brands Embracing Surprise & Delight Marketing

Chewy's Compassion

Chewy, an online pet product retailer, that understands the connection between its customers and their pets. When Anna Brose contacted Chewy about returning dog food because her dog had recently passed, this is what happened. 👇

Key Learnings:

  • Understand Your Customer: Chewy understands that Anna is going through an extremely tough time and offered a helping hand in any way they could.

  • Let People Share Their Stories: Chewy doesn’t promote these acts of kindness themselves. They let their customers tell the stories for them. This (i) shows that they are genuine and (ii) there to help their customers get through a truly rough time.

WestJet's Compassionate Christmas Miracle

When the community of Fort McMurray was devastated by wildfires, WestJet, an airline company, extended a helping hand by providing residents with much-needed items and festive experiences during Christmas. This act of kindness showed WestJet's commitment to community support and empathy, far exceeding the expectations of a typical airline.

Key Learnings:

  • Empathy in Action: Demonstrating compassion during times of crisis can build a strong emotional connection with both the recipients and the wider community.

  • More Than Profit: Showing that a brand's values extend beyond making money can leave a lasting positive impression.

  • Community Focus: Engaging with and supporting local communities can foster trust and loyalty towards the brand.

Taco Bell's Operation Alaska: Airlifting a Food Truck

When residents of Bethel, Alaska were pranked with the false news of a Taco Bell opening, the brand turned disappointment into delight by airlifting a food truck to the town. This unexpected and humorous response not only cheered up the locals but also garnered widespread media attention.

Key Learnings:

  • Responsive Creativity: Quick, creative responses to unique situations can capture the public's imagination and earn customer goodwill.

  • Humor Connects: A sense of humor can make a brand more relatable and memorable.

  • Unique Experiences Matter: Providing extraordinary experiences can delight existing customers and attract new ones.

Ocean Spray Rides the Viral Wave with Dogface

Ocean Spray adeptly harnessed the power of viral content when they embraced a TikTok video by Dogface, a man skateboarding and enjoying their cranberry juice. By gifting him a truck filled with their products, Ocean Spray not only supported a viral sensation but also associated their brand with a spontaneous, joyous moment.

Key Learnings:

  • Viral Content Leverage: Associating with viral content swiftly can significantly enhance a brand's visibility and appeal.

  • Authenticity Wins: Supporting real, unscripted moments can resonate more deeply than conventional advertising.

  • Staying Culturally Relevant: Engaging with current social media trends keeps a brand current and relatable, especially to younger audiences.

That’s it!

See you all next week,

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