2,000 Cans ‘Smashd,’ Mixoloshe Rebrands On Heels Of Wild Marketing Campaign

Smashd gets a running start on Instagram after a clever Mixoloshe intern led a viral ad campaign that inspired a complete rebranding.

Non-alcoholic beverage maker Mixoloshe has officially rebranded as Smashd — a fitting name considering what one of the startup’s recent employees has been up to as of late. 

What Happened: When Mixoloshe launched in 2022, it racked up a number of awards for its various mocktail options, including Blueberry G&Ts and Tropical Smoky Margaritas.

Despite the tasty product, and the rising “sober curious” trend, interest in Mixoloshe waned. A part of that struggle was simply breaking through the noise. After all, there are approximately 3,810 non–alcoholic beverage companies in the U.S., alone.

And cracking the algorithm code on social media to sell a brand is tricky, depending on the platform. On X, formerly Twitter, Mixoloshe has just over 630 followers as of June 10.

But on Instagram, the brand touts 91,000 followers, largely attributed to a clever marketing strategy.

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Mixoloshe brass crafted an entire career-on-the-line narrative around one of its employees, Nicole Wingard (aka “Nicole The Intern”). Unless Wingard amassed 500,000 followers by June 10, she’d be fired.

The ruse worked. Audiences dug the stick-it-to-the-boss storyline, which was amplified by Wingard’s offbeat videos. Whether she dressed as the Hulk, a Ghost Buster or a House Targaryen member, thousands of viewers have been tuning in for months to see Wingard crush an estimated 2,000 used or expired cans.

Mixoloshe’s viral hashtag, “#smasharmy,” proved to be so popular that the company changed its name to Smashd. And today, Wingard (using the Instagram tag @thebestmarketingstrategyever) boasts more than 527,000 followers. She, of course, gets to keep her job.

“I’m excited to work with the team to reimagine content marketing for consumers brands,” Wingard said.

Why It Matters: Smashd found its groove at a time when interest in non-alcoholic drinks, especially mocktails, is at an all-time high.

Zion Market Research values global demand for the non-alcoholic beverage market at $902.14 billion. The sector expects to generate revenue of almost $1.8 billion by the end of 2032.

The Smashd fan base is a testament to the power that wacky ad campaigns and catchy hashtags can have nowadays.

Recall the success Oatly (NASDAQ:OTLY) had with its “wow no cow” ads ahead of its $1.4-billion initial public offering. There’s also the “murder your thirst” slogan from beverage company Liquid Death. The water-in-a-can brand managed to raise $67 million from venture capitalists in March and now has a $1.4 billion valuation.

Since April 13, Smashd — as Mixoloshe — saw its social media traffic exceed 3,000% (over 4 million interactions and more than 120 million views on Instagram reels). Product sales spiked 800%, Benzinga learned.

The initiative also shook up the ranks. Mike Chambers, the company’s CMO and one of the masterminds behind the video campaign, is now CEO. Founder Kristina Roth will assume the role of chairman.

“Beverage is one of the most competitive industries in the world,” Chambers tells Benzinga. “To win, not only do you need a great product (Smashd is the most awarded non-alcoholic cocktail brand globally), but you need to truly understand how to capture consumer attention and loyalty. You need to stand out and entertain. We know how to do this, and we’re confident in our ability to navigate and thrive in this challenging market.”

Chambers is no stranger to whipping up new strategies for non-alcoholic brands. He previously oversaw the marketing for Athletic Brewing. Last year, the zero-alcohol beer reportedly reached a $500 million valuation.

Chambers also produced the TV show “Beat Monday” and founded Dadpak — a social media channel for fathers — which also prides itself on funny video content.

“I’ve been fortunate to work in the media/technology space as a creator, producer, and executive for most of my career,” Chambers says. “This [Smashd] campaign has been one of the most impactful and enjoyable projects I’ve ever been a part of, and we are just getting started.”

What’s Next: Smashd hopes to raise $10 million in venture capital, according to Chambers.

The startup previously raised a pre-seed round from private investors, but remains tight-lipped about how much it has raised in total.

This month, Smashd launched in over 1,500 Walmart stores across the U.S. and Chambers expects that expansion to continue “in the coming months.”

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Image courtesy of Smashd

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