In case you’re not completely obsessed with direct to consumer product marketing like I am, quick news:
Casper launched a light. A really cool light! It’s like Night Shift, but a light. It’s well designed, modern, and looks delightful to use. As in the product marketing connotation of delight — a low key, but genuine and unique enjoyment of a product beyond the this will do I guess sentiment we so often associate with commodities.
So presuming it actually works, it’s a good light. Definitely a good SKU to add to Casper’s lineup.
But nonetheless — it’s a light. An accessory. Not a flagship SKU, or a redesign, or something particularly groundbreaking. A fucking light.
Launches are tricky — especially surprise drops — because underwhelming your audience is almost inevitable. It works for Beyoncé and it works for Apple (sometimes) — but does the product launch drenched in mystery and intrigue work for anyone else? That’s a legit question. Leave me a response if you can think of a good example, because I sure can’t.
Spoiler alert: Casper’s audience was underwhelmed by the launch of Glow, if not Glow itself.
Breaking Down Glow’s Launch
In advance of launching the Glow light, Casper archived all of their Instagram posts to fuel the aforementioned intrigue of an upcoming drop.
They didn’t announce what was coming. The prelaunch strategy generated lots of buzz, lots of speculation. I’ll bet Casper’s marketing team felt pretty proud of their approach in the days prior to launch.
Team Tortuga bought in on that hype, by the way. We’re total suckers for a buzzy move in the DTC world.
Okay, except Carlos. Carlos was not excited. Carlos got jokes.
When your brand is a household name like Casper, archiving your Instagram posts is a cost-effective way to generate a lot of buzz. But it’s a card you only get to play once before you see diminishing returns.
It’s a card you play for a big move. A foundational shift. A re-invention. It’s a move favored by celebrities launching something new and different for them — Miley Cyrus did it, Taylor Swift did it, Blake Lively did it.
If you’re well known, mass-deleting Instagram posts is a highly effectively way to make people freak the fuck out.
So it makes sense that Casper would try it at some point. I think it’s a great move. But it was the wrong move for this particular product launch.
The first time you delete Instagram, you get excited headlines. What are they doing?! Let’s all guess!
The second time you try it, you’re the Brand Who Archives Their Instagram Posts Every Time They Make a Thing.
Casper doesn’t get to play this card again. They wasted their “gonna blow your minds in a sec” equity.
I really liked LeanLuxe’s commentary on the womp-womp-ness of the Glow light launch:
We all waited with some intrigue earlier this week when Casper archived its IG account and just posted a cryptic message with a darkened version of its logo. A product launch was coming, but what could it be? Turns out it’s just a night light for grown-ups. Folks rolled their eyes and immediately started hating. Some key thoughts here form Lean Luxers: “I was nervous and thought they were doing something major. And then it was a goddam light,” said one. “I’m not entirely sure what to make of it but I can’t seem but shake my initial reaction of ‘meh’,” explained another. “In thinking about this a bit more, why create a weird little handheld lamp as opposed to standalone smart bulbs that you can put in any lamp / light fixture?” asked someone else. All fair points. In Casper’s defense, it’s a thoughtful product, and we can be it seeing used. But when your target audience scoffs like this, that’s definitely a problem. Curious to see how those sales figures will be.
I agree with LeanLuxe on all fronts — the product isn’t the problem. The product seems great.
But the launch strategy didn’t match the product. They made something good — something with a good product market fit — and acted like they were about to blow our goddamn minds.
I get it. We did that, too. We learned from it. I hope Casper does, too.
Man, I sure do hate on Casper a lot. Sorry, Casper.