Inside Solo Stove’s Viral Snoop Dogg Partnership—And How It Almost Didn’t Happen

Solo Stove’s CEO gives a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s first national marketing campaign.

This story was republished with permission from Ad Age and written by Gillian Follett.

Snoop Dogg sent the internet into a flurry of speculation last month when he made a very out-of-character announcement on social media: “I’ve decided to give up smoke.”

A few days later, the marijuana aficionado followed up his viral announcement with a video confirming many commenters’ suspicions that his pledge to go smoke-free was merely a marketing stunt. Less predictable, though, was the brand behind the buzzy partnership—Solo Stove, a company that produces smokeless fire pits, pizza ovens, and other outdoor appliances.

For many consumers, Snoop’s posts teasing or revealing the partnership was the first time they were exposed to the 13-year-old brand. That boost in brand awareness was precisely Solo Stove’s goal, having primarily focused its marketing efforts up until that point on “making sure every dollar we spend comes back to us with some form of return,” said John Merris, CEO and director of Solo Stove’s parent company, Solo Brands.

The brand’s stunt amassed more than 31 million likes, comments, and shares across its campaign content across Instagram, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. It drove 1.2 million brand mentions on those social posts and in news articles, and generated a total value of $43.5 million in exposure, a Solo Stove spokesperson said in an email. Global news coverage of the campaign also produced over 19.5 billion overall impressions, worth an estimated $37.5 million in media value, she added.

But despite its success, the campaign nearly fell apart before Solo Stove and The Martin Agency—which worked with the brand to develop the campaign and partnership with Snoop Dogg—could get it to the finish line, Merris told Ad Age. He was adamant that the marketing push run ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which together comprise Solo Stove’s “biggest sales period and most-concentrated web traffic period,” but efforts by the agency to reach Snoop’s team ground to a halt in late September, he said.

“Ultimately, I was able to backchannel my way to Snoop in a really fortuitous series of connections,” Merris said, explaining that his general counsel is friends with a chief marketing officer at another company and that CMO is friends with another marketer who had worked with Snoop on a past campaign. That web of relationships led to the formation of a group chat and a month of text message and voice memo exchanges before Merris finally spoke with the rapper in early November. (Of course, Snoop’s marketing network is vast, considering he endorses multiple products, including Corona, Jack in the Box, and Skechers, to name a few.)

“The guy who I roundabout got connected with had pitched Snoop the campaign high-level [and] verbally, and I got a text message from the guy saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to call you in three minutes. Make sure you pick up the phone,’” Merris said. “When I pick up the phone, it’s Snoop on the other end. We pitched the idea to him—the genesis of it was ‘You’re the “Doggfather of smoke,” and we manufacture smokeless fire pits. We think there could be something super special here—almost a double entendre.’ And he was like, ‘This is so dope. You need to talk to my attorneys, and if you can get them there, we can move fast on this.’”

Snoop didn’t officially sign the contract with Solo Stove to become the brand’s “smokesman” until roughly seven days before the campaign video was filmed, Merris said—and the shoot itself took place Nov. 10, just six days before Snoop made his viral social media announcement. “Everybody that I talked to, including [Snoop’s] whole team, was like, ‘It’s miraculous that we pulled this off,’” he said.

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