But despite its success, the campaign nearly fell apart before Solo Stove and The Martin Agency—which worked with the brand to develop the campaign and partnership with Snoop Dogg—could get it to the finish line, Merris told Ad Age. He was adamant that the marketing push run ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which together comprise Solo Stove’s “biggest sales period and most-concentrated web traffic period,” but efforts by the agency to reach Snoop’s team ground to a halt in late September, he said.
“Ultimately, I was able to backchannel my way to Snoop in a really fortuitous series of connections,” Merris said, explaining that his general counsel is friends with a chief marketing officer at another company, and that CMO is friends with another marketer who had worked with Snoop on a past campaign. That web of relationships led to the formation of a group chat and a month of text message and voice memo exchanges before Merris finally spoke with the rapper in early November. (Of course, Snoop’s marketing network is vast, considering he endorses multiple products, including Corona, Jack in the Box and Skechers, to name a few.)
“The guy who I roundabout got connected with had pitched Snoop the campaign high-level [and] verbally, and I got a text message from the guy saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to call you in three minutes. Make sure you pick up the phone,’” Merris said. “When I pick up the phone, it’s Snoop on the other end. We pitched the idea to him—the genesis of it was ‘You’re the “Doggfather of smoke,” and we manufacture smokeless fire pits. We think there could be something super special here—almost a double entendre.’ And he was like, ‘This is so dope. You need to talk to my attorneys, and if you can get them there, we can move fast on this.’”
Snoop didn’t officially sign the contract with Solo Stove to become the brand’s “smokesman” until roughly seven days before the campaign video was filmed, Merris said—and the shoot itself took place Nov. 10, just six days before Snoop made his viral social media announcement. “Everybody that I talked to, including [Snoop’s] whole team, was like, ‘It’s miraculous that we pulled this off,’” he said.