Introducing SMASHD—The Innovative Rebrand Behind “Nicole the Intern’s” Viral Instagram Challenge

With Over 120,000,000 Views To-Date, the Viral Marketing Campaign Drove Brand Sales to Increase 800% and Earned Over 500,000 Followers and Counting

On April 13, “Nicole the intern,” an intern at non-alcoholic cocktail brand MIXOLOSHE seemingly launched a challenge on Instagram using the handle @thebestmarketingstrategyever, aiming to prove that she could create a better marketing strategy than her boss by smashing cans. She set a goal to earn 500,000 followers by June 10, 60 days from launch. Merely days in, the challenge took off, with millions of viewers tuning in and thousands beginning to follow the journey.

Nicole continuously ramped up the videos, finding fresh new ways to creatively smash MIXOLOSHE cans—from rolling them over with a tank to recreating moments in pop culture—and incorporating feedback from loyal followers, who fondly dubbed themselves the “Smash Army,” along the way.

Today, June 10th, she released her final video, which announced MIXOLOSHE’s rebrand including a new name—SMASHD—and new look, in a post-apocalyptic style video that included blowing up a car with a palette of MIXOLOSHE to reveal the rebranded SMASHD product. The brand also shared a video of Nicole’s boss, Mike Chambers—previously Chief Marketing Officer who the brand announced today as CEO —smashing cans as the Joker in the iconic stairs sequence, subtly nodding to the audience, he was in on it. 

Chambers and the brand were actually behind the entire campaign and challenge. The challenge began as a social-first strategy to increase awareness and buzz, and simultaneously get rid of some product that was set to expire. Once Chambers saw the incredibly strong response it received, he knew it was lightning in a bottle and the perfect onramp to the rebrand that was in discussion. 

The challenge resulted in three days of record sales for the company, plus revenue increased 800% since its launch on April 13. @thebestmarketingstrategyever flew past the 500,000 followers goal weeks before the deadline, raising the stakes and moving the target to 1,000,000 followers to keep the audience engaged through the big rebrand reveal. 

Chambers credits the campaign’s success to the brand’s ability to provide an entertaining story that engaged people and allowed them to feel invested in the brand and an active part of its community. The “Smash Army” was so invested that they became brand evangelists. The campaign also created the opportunity for SMASHD, an early stage startup, to build a highly-engaged following that rivals and even exceeds those of more established beverage brands, positioning it as a force in the industry. The incredible viral success wasn’t the result of a star studded campaign, rather it came from creative and strategic storytelling on social media, capturing the story of an unknown (at the time!) girl in her backyard with an iPhone, a can, and a baseball bat. 

The brand’s new name—SMASHD—is a playful take on “smashed” that captures the brand’s ethos and encourages consumers to rethink what it means to enjoy non-alcoholic beverages—smashing the stigma and infusing the fun. Its new look follows the same theme, with an array of vibrant colors that exude brightness and associate the beverages with a good time. 

SMASHD is sold at retailers across the country and on