Correction: The nature of Solo Brands’ leadership changes was misstated in a previous version of this brief. This story has also been updated to clarify the timeline of the ambassador partnerships with Zachary Fowler and Ann Kim.
- Solo Stove, the marketer of smokeless fire pits, has appointed two new brand ambassadors, according to a press release. The move is fresh off a Snoop Dogg campaign that proved contentious.
- Award-winning chef Ann Kim and outdoorsman Zachary Fowler will promote Solo Stove’s product lineup, emphasizing the brand’s “passion for fire, cooking, and unforgettable moments” to consumers, the release said. The pair are part of Solo Stove’s inaugural ambassador team.
- Solo Stove’s tie-up with Snoop Dogg late last year generated heaps of earned media attention and social buzz but failed to drive the expected sales lift, ultimately denting parent Solo Brands’ performance.
Solo Stove is looking to turn a new leaf in 2024 after a much-hyped campaign with Snoop Dogg seemed to backfire. The celebrity ambassadorship drew a massive amount of attention to the niche brand in November, creating a viral moment ahead of the holiday shopping rush. Snoop Dogg first teased the work with a mysterious post pledging to “give up smoke,” a wink to his fondness for cannabis that piqued online curiosity. A follow-up ad revealed that the shocking decision was actually part of a marketing stunt and that the rapper was talking about his preference for Solo Stove’s smokeless fire pits.
On paper, the effort seemed like a surefire marketing win and was heralded in the trade press for its creativity. But the pricey campaign failed to deliver on sales expectations and ended up denting parent Solo Brands’ revenue for 2023. At the same time, the company kicked off the year by mutually parting ways with CEO John Merris, with Christopher Metz stepping in to fill the top role.
Solo Stove is enlisting a fresh pair of ambassadors that are more closely aligned with its outdoor lifestyle positioning. These partnerships have been in the works since earlier in 2023 and are unrelated to the Snoop Dogg campaign, a spokesperson said.
Fowler will be familiar to consumers for his winning run on History Channel’s ultra-intense survival competition “Alone,” which strands participants in the wilderness in isolation to fend for themselves. The outdoorsman has since gone on to run a YouTube channel focused on survival challenges that currently has 1.5 million subscribers.
Kim, who has won a James Beard Award, has also raised her profile through reality TV after a feature on Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.” The Minneapolis-based culinary maven is known for her restaurant Young Joni, which carries a menu of pizza and wood-fired dishes inspired by her Korean background.
Each ambassador will showcase Solo Stove products that are suited to their expertise. Fowler will promote Solo Stove’s smokeless fire pits and grill accessories while Kim will tout the brand’s Pi Pizza Oven.
“Brand ambassadors are people you can point to and say, ‘That’s what our brand stands for,’” said Justin Lake, creative director of Solo Stove, in a statement. “We appreciate and embrace diverse takes of our brand. Ann and Zachary contribute totally unique backgrounds, but what they have in common is a love of the outdoors, fire, food, togetherness, and turning good moments into lasting memories.”