January 18, 2024

Solo Stove Ousts CEO After Snoop Dogg’s Viral Ad Campaign Goes Up In Smoke

In a striking turn of events, the renowned rapper Snoop Dogg’s ad campaign for Solo Stove backfired, resulting in the exit of the company’s CEO, John Merris.

The campaign, which cleverly hinted at Snoop Dogg giving up smoking, ultimately failed to boost sales as expected. 

The “Smokeless” Campaign

In a bold marketing move, Solo Brands aired a commercial in which Snoop Dogg announced he was “giving up smoke,” leading many to believe he was quitting his well-known affinity for weed

However, the ad was a clever ruse for Solo Stove, a product known for its smokeless firepits. 

The viral campaign increased Solo Brands’ social media following by 60,000 users and even ranked #18 on Ad Age’s 40 best ads of 2023. Nevertheless, it failed to translate into the anticipated sales boost.

The lackluster sales performance, combined with increased marketing investments, significantly impacted the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). 

Solo Brands reported a downward revision in their full-year sales and EBITDA guidance, with revenue now expected to be between $490 million and $500 million, compared to the previous forecast of $520 million to $540 million.

Leadership Change at Solo Brands

In response to these developments, Solo Brands announced a leadership change.

Christopher T. Metz, with over 25 years of experience in leading consumer and durable goods companies, was appointed as the new President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of the Board, effective January 15, 2024. 

The board expressed confidence in Metz’s ability to drive growth and build shareholder value, highlighting his successful tenure at Vista Outdoor Inc.

Metz’s appointment came as part of the company’s strategy to support its next phase of growth. 

In a press release, Andrea Tarbox, interim CFO, stated: “While our unique marketing campaigns raised brand awareness of Solo Stove to an expanded and new audience of consumers, it did not lead to the sales lift that we had planned, which, combined with the increased marketing investments, negatively impacted our EBITDA.”

She continued,” We believe there is a significant opportunity for us to build awareness and that these new campaigns will expand our reach and benefit our brands over the long term.”

Still a success?

Nevertheless, the company told POCIT it considered the viral Snoop Dogg campaign a success.

“Solo Brands’ recent marketing campaigns drove and continue to generate exposure to new audiences, enabling us to reach previously untapped customer categories,” Solo Brands told POCIT in a statement.

“It inserted our Solo Stove brand into cultural conversations, dramatically increased exposure for Solo Stove, and laid the groundwork for future opportunities,” “

The statement went on to recognize the longer-term benefits of these brand awareness campaigns and affirmed the company’s plans to continue investing in this approach for future success.

Update: This article was updated on January 18, 2024, to include a statement from Solo Brands.

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Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)