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Solo Brands CEO John Merris' position has gone up in smoke following the viral Snoop Dogg campaign that backfired.
In the news revealing Christopher Metz as the new CEO, the smokeless fire pit company mentioned that while marketing campaigns, including the viral ad, increased brand awareness for Solo Stove, it fell short of the anticipated sales boost.
Solo Brands Replaces Its CEO After The Outfit's Ad Featuring Snoop Dogg Unexpectedly Flopped
Snoop's "giving up smoke" marketing stunt with Solo Brands did not boost sales as intended, ultimately leading to the CEO losing his job. To that end, the company has appointed Metz, former Vista Outdoor CEO, as its new president, chief executive officer, and board director, effective January 15.
With Metz taking over, Merris will "mutually separate" from the company as president, CEO, and director. In the statement announcing the move, interim CFO Andrea Tarbox wrote:
"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. 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."
In light of these developments, Solo has adjusted its 2023 numbers. The revenue projection for the year now stands between $490 million and $500 million, down from the initial guidance of $520 million to $540 million.
The adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be in the range of 14% to 15%, a revision from the earlier guidance of 17% to 18%. Tarbox added, "Our fourth quarter results came in below expectations as we experienced softer-than-anticipated sales in our direct channel."
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As for the company's expectations of Metz, Matt Hamilton — chairman of Solo Brands' board of directors — disclosed in a press release:
"Chris is known for building high performing teams, driving growth and transforming companies. His experience across leading outdoor products companies, including Vista Outdoor, makes him the perfect leader for Solo Brands' future. Our board is confident that Chris is the right person to grow shareholder value."
In a statement to The Daily, Merris expressed gratitude for his team and board of directors for giving him an incredible five years. He conveyed optimism about Solo's future, mentioning that he believes "the best is yet to come" under Metz's leadership and looks forward to witnessing the "next chapter unfold."
Initially considered a success, Solo's collaborative marketing campaign with Snoop ranked #18 on Ad Age's list of the 40 best ads of 2023.
In the days following the ad release, the company gained approximately 60,000 new social media followers. Additionally, the company made a significant investment by featuring a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.
Solo Brands later reached out about their position regarding the collaboration with the "Drop It Like It's Hot" rapper. The company's spokesperson released a statement that read:
"Solo Brands’ recent marketing campaigns drove and continue to generate exposure to new audiences, enabling us to reach previously untapped customer categories. In particular, Solo Brands considers the viral Snoop Dogg campaign extremely successful. It inserted our Solo Stove brand into cultural conversations, dramatically increased exposure for Solo Stove and laid the groundwork for future opportunities."
The lengthy message emphasized their commitment towards "brand awareness campaigns" before adding, "we recognize that brand awareness campaigns have a longer-term conversion cycle. That said, we believe there is a nurturing process that has to occur for those potential new customers who are being made aware of our brand for the first time – and the continued investment in this strategy and our overall brand awareness will set us up for long-term success."
Snoop's Explanation Of 'Giving Up Smoke' Had Fans Applauding Him
In case you missed it, Snoop's surprising announcement to quit smoking on Thursday, November 16, was subsequently addressed in a video posted on Instagram days later. Per The Blast, the reel opened with a close-up of the 52-year-old as he shared, "I have an announcement, I'm giving up smoke."
As the camera revealed the Death Row Records varsity jacket he wore, Snoop continued, "I know what you're thinking — 'Snoop is kinda your whole thing.' But I'm done with it. Done with the coughing and my clothes smelling stinky-icky. I'm going smokeless."
The camera then showed the burning flames in front of Snoop, and he explained that the silver container holding the fire is a Solo Stove, which "takes out the smoke."
Responses flooded in from multiple fans, with one viewer humorously writing, "And y'all thought he was giving up the herbal essence. 😭 This man gon be roasting his blunts over an electric fire in the backyard."
While a second labeled the ad as "Top 10 biggest plot twists in history," a third shared, "I've been waiting on it 😂…I knew it had to be marketing of some sort," and a fourth expressed, "Not me in therapy thinking I needed to stop. Had me all on edge. Trying to see how I would feel. 😂😂😂 glad it's just an #ad."
Amidst the reactions, one fan astutely pointed out, "He high as hell while filming this," while another playfully commented on the ending, saying, "You know he had something in his lungs to make that smile."