📦 - The Great Debate
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Monday, April 3, 2023

Always. Be. Testing.

Okay, but seriously, how do you cut your cucumber, left or right? Click here to vote—may the best chopping method win. 🔪

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Utilizing awe, anger, and anxiety for your brand

📦 How to maximize growth during an economic downturn

📦 The importance of telling your brand story

📦 A farewell to leftover inventory

📦 Flaunt your product’s versatility

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


Happy Monday! We’re picking back right where we left off from Saturday’s newsletter (DTC 315). If you haven’t caught up yet, go back, have a read, and return here.

If you’re up to date, let’s jump right back into hearing how Drew Arciuolo, Director of Marketing at VKTRY Gear, implemented the three emotions that cause people to share the most, according to a study by Berger and his team. 👇

1️⃣ Awe

“What makes people's jaws drop about your product? People want to feel proud of other people. It’s inspiring. It injects hope into humanity. We thrive in awe.

Show your audience why they should be proud of your innovation. Show them your:

  • Design
  • Creativity
  • Mission

Back in December ‘22, we had a video go viral, garnering nearly 30M views in three months. Check it out here!

The first emotion you see in the video? Awe. The information and context I’m giving about the product before the flip makes the video engaging. But, what pushed this to be a MASSIVE success? The amazement across all of those kids’ faces. It was truly the perfect display of awe.

2️⃣ Anger

When people are angry, they’re often inclined to share with others. When a friend or family member shares that anger, it strengthens the fact that their views are aligned. Depict a problem in your content, or sometimes, be the problem.

Let’s go back to the shoe flip I mentioned. Not only does it evoke awe and surprise, but it’s also a very frustrating marketing tactic for many. Half of the comment section in a video where I flip a shoe says, “What does this even prove??” and “This is so stupid!!” and yet, those videos are the most shared.

At this point, I’m convinced that anger is an okay emotion to evoke as long as it’s not:

  1. offensive
  2. condoning illegal or hateful activity,
  3. and coming from someone who has tried your product.

3️⃣ Anxiety

When something gives us anxiety, we tend to fixate and act on it. Public health officials state that eating vegetables and not smoking are better for your health, but that’s not good enough to make people act. This is where emotion comes in. They create messaging that evokes negative emotions about the repercussions of bad health habits to move the needle.

We used this information to fill another hole in our marketing: Identify the problem we were solving. We always talked about how our insoles were great and the research that backed the science. It was fine, but pretty ineffective.

As soon as I realized we weren’t letting athletes know that their current foam insoles were wasting the energy they put into the ground, we saw an almost immediate spike in engagement and the number of shares. People realized there was a problem RIGHT NOW that our insoles can solve. Maybe not a drastic anxiety driver, but a good example of leveraging emotion in marketing to move the needle.


How are some DTC brands still thriving in this economy?

🤔 The big question, right??

Prepare to find out at next week’s virtual event, Commerce Roundtable Season 12: Recession & Commerce 2023 (and get your ticket for FREE!)

AdRoll joins brand leaders and industry experts from Sendlane, Rentention.com, ATTN, and more!

Join them at a two-day event (tomorrow and Wednesday) as they share stories of how to maximize growth during an economic downturn and plan to come out of the other side stronger than ever. 💪

Be sure to catch Wonder Curl founder, Scarlett Rocourt, and AdRoll’s VP of Partnerships, Lizzie Chapman for their fireside chat as Scarlett shares how she started her specialty hair care line and is creating success even through these challenging times.

👉 Regularly $250 to register, use the code VIPA to get your ticket for FREE!

P.S. As a bonus, this event has some awesome prizes including an Apple Watch, DJI Drone, Pi Pizza Oven, Nespresso, plus multiple $500 cash giveaways!


📖 Stories

Information is carried through narratives and stories, not ads. What's your story, the problem that was solved, and do people want to share it? I think we’re seeing this tactic more than ever right now. Everywhere I look, I see ‘founder’s story’ content on Instagram and TikTok. It’s relatable, and it humanizes your brand.

Your company wasn’t started by a boardroom of private equity execs, it was started by a person. Someone who took a chance and bet on themselves. Your story, whether you believe it or not, is heroic, inspirational, and admirable to consumers. It’s something people feel much more inclined to share.

The video was a 3–part story in itself. We believe the caption in particular also moved the needle for this piece of content. It read: “My dad actually invented the insoles, not me! The insoles return the energy you put into the ground, hence why they flip in the air so high when bent. They’re scientifically proven to help athletes jump higher, run faster, and generate force quicker! Check the ‘How It Works’ tab to see the science and research behind the product!”

That first line feels very impactful to me. You see me in the video, but I’m letting them know my father is the one who invented these. The video explains the impact the product can make for athletes, but the caption makes the brand more accessible. This is a family business. People want to share your story, so never undersell it. You're amazing, your product is amazing, and your story should be too, as a result.

Those were the four biggest takeaways for me that we were able to put into action. However, Berger discusses two additional "ingredients" that can contribute to virality:

1️⃣ Public

How can you make your product's benefits more visual? People want to SEE, not read or believe. I think this is why UGC and unboxing content are so powerful right now.

Showing people using the product and reaping the rewards that come with it is the #1 thing people want to see from a brand. Whenever we physically show people jumping higher after putting our insoles in, the viewership and engagement shoot through the roof. If it’s an ad, the cost-per-thousand impression gets cut in half, and the click-through rates double. Make your results visible!

2️⃣ Practical value

Give your audience practical information through your product—acknowledge their everyday problems and provide a practical solution.

We see this a lot today with trends on TikTok. "5 Reasons Why.." or "Life Hack" templates are some good examples. Not only that, but people need to know a purchase is a responsible decision (i.e. will help you with x, will save you $ in the long term, you can always return or exchange, etc.). As simple as this sounds, it’s easy to forget that people want to innately feel responsible. Let them know their money is being put to good use.

✨ Conclusion

That’s it! Seriously, @j1berger changed the trajectory of our business for the better with all of the information in “Contagious.” It's never been more important to have your audience and customers talking about your brand.

I’ve put up a slide to my team last quarter that read “Paid media will get us to our revenue goal, word-of-mouth will get us everything beyond that.” Sure enough, we ended up beating our projections by close to 100%.

There is no ceiling when it comes to WOM. Align your brand with your audience, give them content they’ll feel inclined to share, make the purchase a practical decision, and you’ll be on your way. From there, just like most things in life, it’s trial and error until you find results.

As I’ve mentioned, these ideas led to scale, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I hope you found this helpful, and please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions! My Twitter is @DrewArciuolo, and my LinkedIn is found here. You can also learn more about VKTRY by visiting VKTRYGear.com."


On-demand production = cash in your pocket.

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Are you sitting on a mountain of video content but unsure of how to convert it into killer marketing material? If yes, congrats - You’re sitting on a goldmine! 🥇

We’re sure by this point you’ve played around with Chat GPT, but have you done this?

🧠 Transcibe your video content and plug it into Chat GPT. Ask it to spit out the most impactful quotes/script [for your intended use].

Prompt suggestions:

  • “I want to create a high converting video ad for [my company]. The ad needs to be designed for Meta, under [30 seconds] in length, and optimized to impress [target customer]. Use the transcript provided to write me a script, with [five] variations for a hook (opening 3-5 seconds).”
  • “Use the transcript provided to pull out the most impressive/meaningful/impactful quotes that would motivate [target customer] to [desired action].”
  • “Here is a transcript from [person], talking about [topic], use it to write me a script for a YouTube video, that outlines the top reasons why people should buy [product].”

Here is a sample of a response from ChatGPT…

This ChatGPT prompt should NOT replace your creative process; it should supercharge it.

This strategy has dramatically decreased the time it takes the Pilothouse team to develop new ad angles, isolate killer soundbytes and quotes, and supercharge the video creation process. 🏆

Weathering a tough week for performance marketing

Thanks to our friends at Northbeam, we’re bringing you what’s happening and current in the world of media buying. 🗺️

If you’re a buyer, step right up and get your insights. If you’re not, forward this email to your media buying friends or coworkers!

🧠 Northbeam’s insights

Budget shares remain relatively stable this week, but Meta continues to pull budget (+2.63%) from the other channels. CPMs spiked on TikTok (+13.07%) and Pinterest (+13.74%) while ROAS dropped off on Meta (-4.36%). CACs increased on Meta (+3.69%) and MS Ads (+6.74%). Overall, a tougher week for performance marketing.


🪟 Microsoft tests ads in Bing Chat. This could influence the credibility of AI-generated responses and marketing strategies as they cater to search agents rather than search engines.

🎥 YouTube adds Shorts data to its “Total Reach” metric for content. With Shorts generating over 50 billion views daily, Shorts account for an 80% growth in creators’ unique views.

👽 Reddit shared its 2022 Transparency Report. Highlights include increased manual takedowns of malicious content and more unique subreddits created than ever before, allowing marketers to safely and reliably target niche audiences.

🍋 Lemon8 reaches the top 10 downloads in the US. ByteDance is pushing the adoption of the TikTok rival as government deliberation continues regarding privacy concerns.

🐥 Twitter announces 3-tiered API pricing. Higher tiers face criticism for their cost while lower tiers fail to provide enough value for budget-conscious third-party developers.


🐶 Pet Health Comes Home with MySimplePetLab's Jen Hagness.

☠️ Liquid Death Mountain Water: Hamid Saify - Death, Beverages, and the Attention Economy.

🟥 Mid-Day Squares: Jake Karls and Nick Saltarelli - Rainmaking, Fundraising and "One word: F&%^ng Crazy."

🧖‍♀️ Bushbalm's David Gaylord goes B2B, Enters US retail bigly, and rides the Vajacial wave on DTC.

👀 Ronak Shah - Obvi Collagen - Obvi's biggest blunders (and how you can avoid them) - C-Suite Mentor Preview.

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight, Drew Arciuolo, and Michael Venditti. Edited by Eric Dyck.

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