CEO removed after Snoop Dogg ‘quitting smoke’ marketing stunt backfires

CEO removed after Snoop Dogg ‘quitting smoke’ marketing stunt backfires
  • PublishedJanuary 17, 2024

The smoke’s on you, pal.

John Merris, the CEO behind a viral marketing stunt that saw rapper Snoop Dogg declare he was “quitting smoke”, has stepped down.

On November 17, Snoop Dogg shocked fans by seemingly announcing he was giving up smoking marijuana.

But a few days later it was revealed the “personal announcement” was an ad. Snoop’s brief, carefully-worded statement – “After much consideration and conversation with my family, I’ve decided to give up smoke. Please respect my privacy at this time” – was all an attention-grabbing teaser to sell smokeless outdoor fire pits.

Snoop Dogg in the ill-fated campaign.

Only problem is the company paying him, Solo Stove, didn’t sell any.

And now Merris is gone.

Interim CFO Andrea Tarbox stated: “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.”

At the time Merris declared on his LinkedIn page the marketing stunt “will go down as one of the best”.

“Snoop Dogg is incredible to work with and we found the perfect collaboration between two brands,” he wrote.

But Snoop only received the briefest of mentions in his farewell note.

“Let me begin by saying how deeply grateful I am for five amazing years at Solo Stove and now Solo Brands,” Merris wrote.

“I couldn’t have laid out a better experience during this period of my life. When I joined Solo in 2018 we were a small team with big dreams. Fast forward to present, in just five years our company is nearly 50 times the size in revenue, 25 times the size in people, we’ve partnered with two different private equity firms, executed a successful IPO and brought together six incredible brands: Solo Stove, Oru Kayak, ISLE, Chubbies Shorts, TerraFlame and IcyBreeze.

Solo Stove CEO John Merris (left) has been removed.

Solo Stove CEO John Merris (left) has been removed.

“We’ve also built a world class warehousing and fulfilment operation totalling over 1M sqft, expanded from one single source factory to over 20 suppliers and opened an award-winning global HQ. Our brands are now etched alongside the likes of George Kittle, Macy’s Day Parade, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Disney, and Snoop Dogg and line the shelves of Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, Academy, Ace Hardware, Costco, Scheel’s, Target and many others for a combined door count of over 7500 retail locations across the United States and Europe.

“All of that to say, it’s been an incredible ride. In every business that’s ever existed, there comes a time when one chapter closes and another one opens. And while it’s bittersweet, the time has come for me to pass the baton to the next leader.”

As for Snoop, he is still very much a marijuana man, posting several videos in just the past 24 hours of himself smoking.


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