In the dead of night, with temperatures rivaling the icy chill of a Stanley-tumbler-kept beverage, a peculiar phenomenon is unfolding across the United States. People are braving the predawn hours, forming lines that snake around Target stores, not for the latest tech gadget or limited-edition sneakers, but for a water tumbler. Yes, you read that correctly — a water tumbler.
Last week, Stanley, the brand renowned for its sturdy beverage containers and outdoor gear, released two special-edition sets of cups – one in collaboration with Starbucks– just in time for Valentine’s Day. The result? Chaos. A frantic quest for the 40-ounce pink and red tumblers ensued, with customers practically engaged in retail warfare, all to claim their own stylish sipper.
Our social feeds–especially Tiktok–were flooded with videos of this peculiar retail combat of near-brawls and stores overrun by Stanley enthusiasts. Fans are reportedly pitching tents outside Target, camping overnight to secure the coveted Valentine’s Day Cup. If you’re scratching your head, wondering if you missed the memo on the latest trend, fear not; we’re here to guide you through the wild world of Stanley ‘Quenchers’ and the absurd obsession thereof.
WHO IS STANLEY?
Before the days of galvanized retail warfare, Stanley was quietly making sturdy beverage containers for over a century – 111 years, to be precise. The brainchild of inventor William Stanley Jr., the company initially targeted blue-collar workers and adventurers, basically people who needed their drinks to be at a specific temperature inside a strong container.
STANLEY’S WWII ROOTS
Unbeknownst to many, Stanley’s journey into the hearts (and hands) of the public started long before its recent rise to fame. During World War II, Stanley became a trusted companion for pilots, providing them with insulated beverage containers for their high-flying missions. This heritage of reliability has quietly persisted through the decades, long before the now-viral cup stepped into the social media spotlight.
@heysweetkay the teddy bear straw toppers 🤭✨ #amazonfinds #stanleytumbler #stanleyquencher #stanleyaccessories ♬ original sound – Katie | Amazon Finds
WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSED WITH THE STANLEY CUP?
A pivotal shift occurred in 2017 when a blog called ‘The Buy Guide’ propelled the 40-ounce ‘Quencher’ cup into the limelight, transforming Stanley’s image from rugged to trendy. The ‘Quencher’ evolved into a social media sensation, with influencers on TikTok and Instagram flaunting their Stanleys on the regular. The hashtag #StanleyTumbler racked up millions of eyeballs, pushing the cup from a drinking vessel to a must-have fashion accessory.
STANLEY SURVIVES A FIRE
The Quencher’s reputation for toughness hit an all-time high in 2023 when a viral video showed a Stanley tumbler surviving a deadly car fire. In a testament to its ‘Built For Life’ tagline, a woman named Danielle discovered her Stanley standing proudly in her destroyed car’s cup holder amid ash and melted rubber. The drink inside? Still cold. Stanley not only offered Danielle a new cup (duh) for the free marketing but also–brace yourself* a new car. Yes, that actually happened.
@danimarielettering Thirsty after you catch on fire? @Stanley 1913 is like no problem i gotchu #fyp #carfire #accident #stanleycup ♬ original sound – Danielle
THE UNSTOPPABLE STANLEY EMPIRE
Stanley’s ‘Quencher’ became the top-selling product, skyrocketing sales by a whopping 275 percent from 2020 to 2021. But Stanley’s smooth glide to fame hardly stopped there. With a reported leap from $73 million in revenue in 2019 to a staggering $750 million in 2023, Stanley has triumphantly quenched the thirst of millions, all while amassing a fortune for itself.
The brand rode the wave of success into 2024, its Valentine’s Day collection serving as a reminder that Stanley is not just a water bottle; it’s a status symbol, a fashion statement, and a cultural phenomenon that leaves us all wondering, “Why do I even want one?” As Stanley continues to reign supreme, the world eagerly awaits to see if a new water bottle king will emerge to dethrone the mighty Quencher. Until then, happy sipping.