Launching a new product

to a competitive category

The Challenge

Backed by tens of millions of dollars in venture capital,  JUUL, a Silicon Valley based eCigarette startup, was determined to reinvent the cigarette category with a game-changing product. In a marketplace saturated by inferior competitors, and broken promises of “performance” and “satisfaction”, Cult was tasked with cutting through the clutter and hyperbole, to engage customers who had “heard it all before”.  Of course, being a relatively young company, in a highly regulated marketplace that was dominated by big tobacco advertising budgets, there was not a lot to be gained through traditional media spending.

Our Solution

Cult quickly realized that JUUL was right, their product was different and better than the competitive alternatives in every conceivable way. We knew we had to position JUUL not as another eCig, but rather as the wholesale evolution of smoking. In an industry with essentially little to no change over the past 200 years, we found a way to show how JUUL represented a new, better way of life for tens of millions of Americans who chose to smoke. Only it was able to provide a faster, easier, cleaner, more cost-effective and responsible way to get nicotine—making it orders of magnitude better for smokers, their families, fellow citizens and the environment as a whole. Not surprisingly, this platform was what we focused on. In less than three months, we went from ideation to implementation in a multi-channel campaign designed to not just educate, but to really engage—relying heavily on packaging, videos, social media, digital, PR and in-store presence. We created ridiculous enthusiasm for the hashtag “Vaporized”, and deployed rich experiential activations and a brand sponsorship strategy that aligned perfectly with those we knew would be our best customers.

The Results

JUUL’s initial launch has been so successful, it’s hard to meet the burgeoning demand for the product. Retail stores across the US were quickly sold out and online ordering still struggles to keep up with demand. The all important auto-ship subscribed purchases are way beyond expectations, and JUUL is now rightly being acknowledged as an infinitely better alternative to putting leaves in your mouth and setting fire to them.