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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

The Car That Set Stanley on Fire

Winner in Real Time Response


How does a century-old brand stay relevant when social moves fast? Let’s talk about “how it started”' vs “how it’s going.” Spoiler alert: TikTok and Real-time Response are at the heart of Stanley’s classic brand, helping it evolve from a 110-year-old outdoor brand to being named Amazon’s top-selling kitchen product and the #1 drink-ware brand in North America. 

The secret behind the success is simple: Stanley creates lifestyle essentials that make life better and more colorful, and lifestyle essentials become such by showing up in culture. That’s why the people who love Stanley don’t just love the products, they love being a part of the Stanley community. 

It’s also why Stanley responded quickly on November 15, 2023, when a TikTok started racking up tens of millions of views because a user had shared that her car had been destroyed by a terrible fire yet her Stanley had survived with ice still clinking inside. 


Strategy and Execution

We immediately tabled our scheduled content plan and turned our attention to responding to the TikTok user within 24 hours. It was amazing that her Stanley Quencher survived the fire with ice still inside of it (yep, that’s our Built for Life™ warranty hard at work) and very little external damage. 

Gifting her a fresh new Stanley was a no-brainer, but we also knew she deserved more. Her Stanley survived the fire, but her car had not. So why not show her the love and gift her a new car too? 

We wanted our response to feel authentic and true to the Stanley brand. That’s why Terence Reilly, the President of Stanley, shared the good news through a TikTok duet.

"Hey, Danielle, I’m Terence Reilly, the president of Stanley. We’ve all seen your video, and wow! What an ordeal. We’re really glad you’re safe. Thanks for sharing the video because it shows that Stanleys are Built for Life. What it went through with you, I couldn’t think of a better example of our product’s quality. But anyway, we’re glad you’re safe. I’ve seen a lot of comments that we should get you some Stanleys. Oh, we’re gonna send you some Stanleys! But there’s one more thing…. We’ve never done this before, and we’ll probably never do it again…. But we’d love to replace your vehicle. So check your DMs for details. Thanks, be safe, and cheers!” 

And the internet took it from there. People who’d never heard of Stanley were all of a sudden our biggest fans. As one commenter said, “*adds Stanley cup to cart.*” 



The result? A viral moment that couldn’t be missed. Want proof? You’ve got it! 

Overall, this launch campaign garnered 3.3 billion earned media impressions. As a result, the brand saw a 220% increase in TikTok followers (more than the prior two years combined), 200% increase in TikTok engagement, 56M video views, 532K hashtag uses and 4.7M engagements. All this led to $43M estimated media value, a 249% increase from the whole year before.

And more importantly, it let the brand live in every consumers’ mind rent-free right as Black Friday and the holiday shopping season kicked off. Stanley proceeded to have its best quarter in company history, a 275% YoY increase in Quencher sales and elevated sales above forecast through the holiday shopping season. 

Setting Stanley on fire, indeed! 


Video for The Car That Set Stanley on Fire

Entrant Company / Organization Name

GSD&M and Stanley 1913, Stanley 1913


Entry Credits