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Episode 8

Mixoloshe/SMASHD - Nicole Wingard & Mike Chambers

Tune in to our chat with Nicole The Intern, where we cover her journey and the significant steps she took that led to Mixoloshe’s upcoming rebrand to SMASHD. Plus, learn why her account is known as having "the best marketing strategy ever". In this episode, we talk with CMO Mike Chambers and Nicole about the importance of consistent content creation and following through to see tangible results. Discover tips on how to stay motivated — even when you don’t have immediate success. Learn about the benefits of rewarding and involving your community throughout your entire brand evolution. Leverage learnings from the viral strategy of Mixoloshe/SMASHD to help guide your own marketing initiatives. Follow Nicole The Intern @TheBestMarketingStrategyEver and the brand she blew up @mixoloshe (soon to be SMASHD).

Beyond Influence Podcast by Later with Nicole Wingard & Mike Chambers

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Oops! Our video transcriptions might have a few quirks since they’re hot off the press. Rest assured, the good stuff is all there, even if the occasional typo slips through. Thanks for understanding!


Hey, everybody. Welcome to today's episode of Beyond Influence. I am Kwame Appiah, one of your hosts. I'll pass it over to our co-host.


Scott Sutton. Welcome back to another episode. I could not be more thrilled for today's episode. This one is very close to my heart. And I was the one who entered. Nicole, Mike, and the team at the best marketing strategy ever / Mixoloshe / SMASHD / all in the team and I've been following their channel and what they're doing from a content creation perspective, from a marketing perspective and so many amazing things happening. So welcome Nicole and Mike to the podcast.


Great to be here, Scott. Thanks so much for having us.


So just. Yeah, where to start? There are so many fans and I have to give some of our listeners context. If you haven't already, pause the video. Go to Instagram, and check out the best marketing strategy ever for the Instagram channel. Get up to speed on what's been happening. And today, the day we're recording is 610, which is the big infamous state for the team.

So, that's some context. And, I guess to dive in, like, how did you, Nicole, and Mike get connected? Like, where was the inception of this whole journey?


Yeah. So Nicole started working for Christina Roth and Mixoloshe. So Mixoloshe was founded by a very incredible and successful entrepreneur by the name of Christina Roth. And co-founded by many people. I don't know this, but it was co-founded by Zayn Malik from One Direction. And, you know, Nicole, you could tell your story probably better in terms of how you found Christina, but we ended up connecting, coming just a few months apart, to join the Mixoloshe team myself in the capacity of a sort of fractional CMO at the time. And Nicole really was indeed an intern. From the very beginning of this, I know there are a lot of question marks regarding, “What she really was an intern? Is she an actress?”

What is, you know, what's the whole deal? But no, I mean, Nicole really was an intern from the beginning of this.


Yeah, basically how I found her was I decided to challenge myself to do a year of no drinking last May 20th of 2023. And also alongside that, I quit my corporate job because I didn't like it at all, and I wanted to find something different. And while I was job hunting, I came across this LinkedIn page and I clicked on Christina's name, and I started doing research on her and read a Forbes article and her whole background.

And I was like, hold up, this woman is awesome. Like, I have to work for her. And so I got connected with her because I actually had a connection through my boyfriend, funnily enough. And I asked to work for her and she said no. And then I asked again, and she said no again. And then I asked for a month and she still said no.

And finally, I just, you know, persistently impatient with me, I offered to work for free or in an intern capacity because, you know, startup. And she was like, we just can't give you a full-time job at the moment. And I was like, well, I'll do anything. And so she said, okay, you can be an intern.

And that's how it started.


That's amazing. I just love persistence. And, you know, we talk a lot about the creative journey and just being successful in life. And a business is so much of it is not who has the best idea or necessarily the best execution. It's also those who are so persistent and don't quit and just continue to kind of persist and find and find different ways to be successful.

So I just love that as a personal story. I love the way you found it to be this kind of no alcohol challenge. And, you know, getting inspired, I think for a lot of people, a chance to work with someone truly inspirational is such an important part of their career. So I'm glad you found that.

And Mike, I'm curious, how did you end up connecting with the Mixoloshe team and coming on board? Yeah.


So I had known Christina through a mutual friend, like, many years ago. My background is sort of an intersection of media marketing and tech. And, so I had been sort of working on this, like, a little side project that Christina had come across, which was this online community that I created for dads called Dad Pack. And it's basically, you know, a fun celebration of fatherhood, a page where we've grown it to, you know, over a million followers in the last basically, a year and a half.

And she was excited by that. And, I had had some successes in the marketing space before. So she reached out and kind of, pitched me a little bit on her vision for Mixoloshe. And really, you know, much like Nicole, I had, you know, I've got three kids, approaching middle age.

If not, maybe I am already middle-aged and I sort of stopped drinking in the last couple of years as well. It just wasn't this sort of at odds with, you know, with my life and my lifestyle, it's already hard enough to, you know, wake up every morning at 430 with kids jumping on you.

You know, I don't really want to be waking up with a hangover. So I was really intrigued with what she was doing. And I was like, well, look, you know, I'm pretty busy right now, but send over some product and, you know, let's have a conversation. And, she sent over some products and I was really blown away, quite frankly, like, I had done some marketing work for Athletic Brewing in the past.

And when I'd had my first Mixoloshe old fashion, I was like, "Oh my God, like she's done with non-alcoholic cocktails. What Athletic Brewing had done in the beer space, like she's made it taste like the real thing. And that's really, really cool because it's not just like a soda or sparkling water. Like it really has this sort of unique flavor experience.

And, so I was a believer in the product. And then after a few months, you know, she had convinced me to come join in a more full-time capacity right around the time that, you know, she was launching the brand in the fall. And so Nicole started. Nicole and I started working together.

I guess it was, like, officially in November. Maybe early December. And we really just started to, you know, I think I sort of approached all of these, you know, marketing campaigns and marketing ideas as much like you would approach a startup, which is sort of a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what's going to work. And if you start to get some signal from an audience that they're intrigued with the type of content that you're putting out there, like keep pulling on that thread and keep pulling on that thread.

And so we had tried, you know, a couple different things, for the first few months and, you know, kind of, you know, following trends and seeing, you know, if we could get, get some traction on any of these ideas simultaneously, we had been having a conversation regarding, the need for a rebrand and primary like the primary reason behind that was, you know, mix all she is meant to be sort of a play on Mixoloshe, which is sort of the art of, of, you know, making cocktails.

And it was really hard for people to pronounce, like, you know, it's, it's sort of a tongue twister. We had, you know, people calling it mix a lotion mix, Alicia, and like, all sorts of like. So that was really challenging. And then also just like, you know, it was really challenging. It's a gendered name. And our product actually tastes good for everyone.

It really wasn't just solely designed for women to buy. And so we kind of sort of felt like we were cutting off half of our consumer base. So we'd been having all these conversations like, what could we do? You know, we just launched, you know, it's crazy to be going through a rebrand right after you just launched.

We have all this inventory, so we sort of had that idea parked in the back of our minds. And then, yeah, I mean, we can you I mean, I just keep just keep going here into how the whole campaign went or keep rolling.


Yeah, man. I mean, yeah, yeah, there's so many questions I have on, you know, even down to the production quality, the first video, it's like a very much fun set on chair vibes. I'm like, is this a design esthetic? And the whole plan is to get bigger and bigger or is it like, no, we're just going to go try this?

So like literally going to SMASHD in your backyard. Massive. Yeah, I'm just curious how planned out like yeah how orchestrated. And like obviously Nicole's personality shines through and there's so much of that element. I'm just curious how you wove all those different elements together.


Yeah. So the true origin of everything is I came across an account, in late winter, or early spring called Monkey Marketing and it was a guy who had been putting a picture up of the monkey. and the caption was, I wanted to prove to my marketing professor that this picture of a monkey was actually more effective than his marketing strategy, and he started getting some.


Sorry, it's funny how the algo works, but I've definitely seen the picture of the monkey. Yeah, I didn't log the connection and that's that's amazing.


Yeah. So I was really fascinated by this construct of having a goal content every single day for a period of time. However, like with Monkey Marketing, they weren't really marketing anything. It was just, you know, the followers were kind of the goal, the end goal, and that was the currency that they were trading in.

And so I wanted to come up with like our version of that basically, and like there were a few ideas where we were going to do like, we weren't going to kind of count down, we were going to count up. And then we were like, you know, are we going to smash as many cans as many followers we get?

Like, we had like a bunch of different sort of ideas, and then like one day, Nicole and I were having our weekly, you know, call and I was just like, look, Nicole, just go in your backyard. Literally, as you said, and take a slight like, take a baseball bat and smash it in. That's it. Just like smashing a can.

And I texted her the caption, it's like 60 days remaining to prove to my boss that smashing this can is more effective than his entire marketing strategy. And you know, we set the stakes for her getting a full-time job here. I myself, she's an intern. She was really an intern. and so that was it. So she was like that.

She was kind of like that. Like just smash the cans, like, all right, like whatever. Like, let's do it. And so she. I mean, because she's always just so down for everything. And, the first video she posts, you know, we get a couple hundred views. Second video, she posts, we, you know, we get maybe a thousand views and like, you know, 15 followers.

And then the third video she posts, she gets 30 million views on it and it's, it's it was like just the perfect. Like she made a really funny noise after she swung the bat. And like the internet, I loved it. It was just like a, like a hey. Yeah or something like that. And anyhow, the video went totally bonkers.

And, that's when we like, kind of all huddled and came together and we were like, this, this is our opportunity to really do something special here. and so we immediately, you know, took a step back and started to think about what kind of the big picture would be here. Like, what could this look like if we do this really well, what would we want to get out of this?

What's worked well in the past? And from there, you know, pivoted quickly, filed the trademark for SMASHD, and began to really sort of run multiple storylines in this campaign. So you sort of had the creative production of Nicole actually smashing the cans and unique ways. And it's just really sort of funny.

You have this storyline of this unsupportive boomer millennial boss who is just not really at all with the times and interested in, in, you know, what his intern is doing, you know, and, and it sort of just kind of tapped into I think everyone's like it was just constructed in a way that it could like to tap into.

Everyone's personal experience, like everyone's sort of had a bad boss that hasn't believed in them or has had someone that sort of undermined their ideas. And I think that really resonated with people like Nicole who really represented, you know, a hero. And in fighting back against those bad experiences. and so I had to assume the role of horrible Mike, which is really hard.

And Yeah, that's, that's sort of how it all began.


So I had to either ask Nicole, like, what was your mindset, like 30 million views? You had to be, like freaking out. Like running around your house or something. You know, just that that's not that huge.


Yeah. I mean, I honestly, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't journal as much during this whole process because I've done a lot of reflecting over the past 60 days because, I mean, it's just a little bit unreal. Like, what the heck? I can't believe this happened. but I do remember kind of being like, oh, wow, okay, this is a really big deal.

And then right away, Mike and I just started making a plan. And for that first 40, some days, it was me. And then my roommate who would film me. And all of a sudden we had this huge audience that we had to just keep making the videos better and better and come up with different ideas and start incorporating costumes.

And, I don't know, I remember feeling a little bit intimidated, like, Holy cow, you know, I can either take this and really run with it or, you know, not. And so it was a mixed feeling. I think.


You know, honestly, it's funny that it's a page called The Best Marketing Strategy Ever, because in all honesty, like this does feel like the best marketing strategy ever. It has all these Incredibles-like points in areas that you all focus on, like you had all the different bullet points that would appeal to a massive audience and you got people interested, you got people bought and you had other people would try their own versions of smashing.

And so it was just it's an incredible collaboration of all of these ideas, and you see it coming in like, I love I like, I really want to know what was that moment where you, you just you hit and you were like, wow. Like we struck gold, you know, like, how did that feel?


I remember it because I remember sitting on the couch with my wife. It was like a Sunday. And I had been on calls all day with Nicole, and we were talking about different SMASHD videos and things, and I was like, I just remember telling her, like, this is, this is going to be big. Like, I need your support over the next couple of weeks.

And she was like, I got you. And like, I ended up and she really, I like, really needed her support because I ended up having to leave her, you know, solo with the kids for basically three and a half weeks. while we were traveling and filming all this stuff. But, yeah, it was, you know, just seeing, like, the passion with which the community was engaging and, and, you know, the ideas that they were bringing to the table and like, they were truly, just really, really invested in the success of Nicole and, you know, I think also, you know, one of the, one of the storylines that were really important to me from the beginning was sort of, I say radical transparency because like, of course, this was all, you know, a little bit of like a movie. and we definitely stretched the truth on certain things, but we were very much so radically transparent about the impact on the business and, when I started to see this translate to sales and traffic and, and, and really, you know, we were smashing sales records, you know, and it was, it was really to me like, wow, you know, a lot of these a lot of times in my experience, like these viral campaigns are good.

They are super helpful for top-of-funnel awareness. But to actually drive conversions from a really low budget, organic campaign like this, you know, it was a real moment for me where I was like, wow, we're really onto something here.


Yeah, I think it's funny. I think it's funny that you mentioned the word budget. One of the questions that I really had was once you hit a certain point, like, was there a budget when y'all initially started this, and then was there a point where you were like, we have to throw it out the window, invest every dollar?


Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It's a really good question. there wasn't really a budget when we first started because we didn't really know what it would become. We were just like, let's, let's just try this. And then the moment we started to see some traction, like the budget increased, you know, to be able to get costumes and to be able to, you know, help for Nicole's roommate, who was a saint in helping us film some of these and, and, you know, it was really like we had so much content to create every day.

Because we weren't just doing the actual videos, we were doing the storyline, content, and everything. So we did as it started to get more and more successful, began to throw money at the problem so that we could focus on, on, on, you know, continuing to, to, to like, move things forward. But here's what I'll say.

If it weren't so we did the $10,000 giveaway. Kim. So this is like a whole lesson. Like this whole thing was like, build the plan as you fly it, right? Like we're, we're making decisions every single day based on, like, how people are responding, what's getting good engagement, what's not. So we decided to do this $10,000 giveaway to like, really fuel growth and the campaign got taken down by Instagram.

We modeled it exactly after Mr. Beast's latest campaign that he did on, where he gave away 36 Teslas to the T like the terms and conditions, like everything was like very much so modeled after that. And somehow we got taken down and we still don't know why we posted it again and it got taken down again. And then like a day later, Instagram just reinstated it.

And it was like such a thrash moment for the community. We were like, what should we do? You know, should we try and run it like we really haven't squeezed all the juice out of this $10,000 campaign? and for this $10,000 giveaway. And finally we were just like, I was just too worried, you know, we were too worried that Instagram was like we were doing something wrong and we didn't really know what was going on.

So we just decided not to go through with it. But the total budget for everything on this campaign was just under $30,000. we spent $10,000 on and $10,000 of that was for the, you know, the botched, giveaway. it wasn't totally botched. We got some traction out of it, but, yeah, I mean, the biggest expenses were, you know, the tank, the tank video, and the explosion in Las Vegas.

And then aside from that, I mean, all the costumes and stuff were Amazon and, you know, we had some we had to travel, some travel expenses, to go film with Gary V and stuff like that. But aside from that, like, it was a relatively low budget.


So it's so funny to me that people latch onto that about the costuming. I'm like, well, you can go on Amazon and just search literally any person or character in any movie and you can find something for 30 or 40 bucks. So we just, you know, I was good about planning and we just get the costume and then it comes and you film and it wasn't that expensive.


I do love that. It's like, you know, college party prep mentality versus full production. We need a seamstress and all this crazy costume design. I think that is part of what makes it so endearing is it's, I'll say like the explosion video, like the costuming and that the whole execution, the camerawork, like, there is quite like another level of production on that.

But everything else, I think that was like part of the draw was that it felt more authentic to like the whole way it was being produced. so I'm curious and I don't know, our listeners might not know, but, you know, Nicole also has a very successful past, as, and I'm going to mess it up, but as a part of kind of the Miss Texas pageant system, I don't know, at the right, but very successful.

And I, you know, I was like, who is this Nicole? You know, there's got to be a backstory. And so I started to like your profile and dig in. One reflection I had and I love Mike, where you talked about love, support, and from your family and like, Nicole, your roommate. But I think about what, you know, being in a pageant and that process of being so highly controlled, always be showing up in this, like, perfect way.

Was there a weird kind of moment for you, Nicole, where you're like, I'm showing up on social media and all these costumes smashing cans, and this is very juxtaposed to this training? I've had to be perfect and to be completely buttoned up and everything dialed in was there. Did it feel natural was a different like, I feel like there had to be something there mentally or like, you know, putting yourself out there to so many people in a different way.


Yeah, I love that you asked this question because it's one of the biggest things I've learned from this campaign, both for myself personally, but also for an organization that I care very deeply about, especially in the aftermath of the whole Miss USA debacle. I'm not sure if you added that in the news, but basically the USA organization, I compete in America, they were controlling their girls like the girls had no freedom to post on social media.

Everything had to be checked. they wouldn't let them post certain things that didn't pass some type of inspection. And I think that's something that pageantry can do. So much better, that we're past the time of people wanting to see perfectly curated content. it's just not as relatable and it's not as much fun to watch, and it's harder to build a community around that.

And so at first, it was really difficult. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, and I was like, oh, I'm being a total weirdo on the internet. And over the past 60 days, I love it. I've grown so much personally and professionally because Mike has really helped me with this too, that when you let go of what people think about you, it's so much easier to be successful, I think.

And I've taken that mentality into my Miss Texas content and into the actual competition. I'm competing in two weeks and I'm really excited to share that perspective of, yeah, I compete in pageants, but I don't need to have this perfect face on social media.


I love that. And, you know, we talk a lot about authenticity and getting to know yourself and, you know, connecting you. We talked about connecting your head, your heart, your identity, and what you stand for. And when you do that, the community follows. And, you know, I think it's interesting too. We talk about the power that brands have and the deep care that brands and brand marketers actually have for the clientele they're serving.

And like, Mike, your story about, you know, wanting to step away from alcohol and Nicole, you as well, like on your year-long journey and then seeing this product that's really high quality, that helps people in a variety of ways, and has like a deeper purpose and meaning for the clientele. Like, I think a lot of people are like, oh, it's just like a canned beverage company.

But I think the level of connection with clientele and trying to better their lives like there's something to be said there. And, I think other brand marketers or creators can learn a lesson about authenticity and connect with people as humans. and I think that is unique to social media. and so it allows us to connect with people.

We would never, ever have the opportunity to do so otherwise. Totally, I love that. Yeah.


I mean, I feel like, you know, a big part of what's important to this brand, you know, formerly Mixoloshe now SMASHD, is there there is so much stigma around not drinking and not having fun. Like if you don't drink, you're not fun. You're not. You can't have a good time. You can't be. You can't get weird. You can't get wild.

You can't. You're stiff and like, I think with this campaign especially like we've tried to really embody the fact that, like, you can have an absolute blast and not drink alcohol. And I think like, that's kind of the whole vibe for what we're going for moving forward is really leaning into that, you know, just kind of smashing the stigma around what it means to, to not drink.

And Nicole. Nicole is like an absolute pro at, at these, at these videos and like, just, you know, taking that to the next level.


So yeah, I was like driving a tank and blowing up the car, and having no alcohol related is a massive milestone of sorts.


Exactly. Yeah.


You know, I think touching on a couple of things, I think, starting on what Nicole was just speaking to and, and I think when I look at any kind of foundation or platform that I've ever built, I think it's cool that you're having this moment, Nicole, where you are seeing things that, affect something that you deeply care about and you now have this platform and hopefully you'll be able to leverage that to talk about those things and maybe help the people who are being affected by things, within, you know, a past that was really, really sacred to you.

And you care about those things. So, I don't know, I just love the idea and ability of gaining a platform and using it for things that you really care about. And when we think about all these things coming together and the connections that are created through the journeys of creators and influencers, however, you want to refer to them, I do think the connections that you create are amazing, right?

And so we all want to know how to create certain connections, and we can talk about, you know, maybe the connections we have here, so on and so forth. But you had a moment with Garyvee, and I'm sure that people who listen to this one understand how to put themselves in positions to meet people like Gary Vee, so I'd love to know how that was all setup.


Oh, yeah. Do you want me to jump in? Yeah, yeah. So early on, he said in his podcast when he was talking about Nicole, that she had like 37 followers. I think she was probably a little bit further along than that. But early on, one of Gary's colleagues, Nick Dio, had found the account and reached out.

And I think Nick was like, oh my God, I found the next star for VaynerMedia. and I responded, I was like, you know, not looking for. He was like, not looking for it. He was like, you know, let us know if you want to come work for VaynerMedia. And I was like, you know, how about we start by having Gary smash a can and, you know, he just kind of laughed and he and Gary sort of followed along throughout the journey.

And at one point, I think we were at around like 375,000 followers and, I would always like, send him a little DM, just like waving from Nicole the intern, like, hi and act like, you know those don't forget about us. And he finally, finally Rudy was like, okay, Nicole, it's time you're coming to New York.

So, yeah, he, he reached out and he set up the opportunity to do it with Gary. And it was such a great full circle moment because he became a character in the storyline early by, you know, recognizing her. And we were like, we were trying to squeeze on everything that we could find to continue to build hype for the story.

Like we had some local news person pick it up early on, and we were showing that to like, build a little momentum. And then and then Gary mentioned this in the podcast. And so to have that full circle moment of Gary come back, you know after she had already hit 500, she had already accomplished her goal without Gary.

Yeah, it was really cool. And he and his team couldn't have been nicer and more supportive, you know, to give us that time and, so yeah, that was really cool.


So I'm curious now we're at the big rebrand day. We hit a big goal. you did get the job. Although you kept the title as that was, that was a controversial move. I love all the stuff. It's like the ultimate power move is to have the title give it a try. But you know, where do you go from here?

Like, how do you continue to evolve that account? Do you rebrand it now to the SMASHD account? Like there are so many questions I have is like, there was a time by our nature to this of virality. How do you keep that momentum high? Yeah. And keep the SMASHD army, keep the audience engaged and keep driving the brand forward.


It's a good question, boss. Mike would say it's a flash in the pan. Right. but yeah, it's a really good question. I think, you know, what we would like to do, just given sort of the success to this point, is we have a community of half a million people who have literally created this brand in the past 60 days.

They are so invested in Nicole, they are so invested in this, you know, in having been able to take part in this process. And we very much intend to keep that going. I think in terms of what, what we do with the page specifically, you know, this is something that we've, we've talked a lot about. And I, I was thinking about this this morning as like, I, I don't want us to decide that.

I want the community to decide what we're going to do with this page. I think we're going to rebrand the existing Mixoloshe page to SMASHD, and this is going to be the page for the SMASHD Army. and we, we sort of I would like to try and do something a little bit different with this and, and, it's, it's we're still having conversations in terms of like how we could actually pull this off.

But I would really like for this community that we've built to be able to take part in the ownership of the success of Mixoloshe and the success of SMASHD in some capacity. So we need to figure out, like what, what that looks like. and how we could actually, you know, pull that off, but I, I, I really do believe that there's an opportunity here for us to continue to, you know, work with our community to determine the future of this company.

And, how amazing would it be if, you know, we've built this, this, this community created community-owned, beverage brand that, you know, goes on to do great things. So I think that that is like, you know, there's all sorts of potential storylines we're playing into and like different, different, you know, different ideas.

But in general, I think, like, you know, Highline is we really want to make sure that, you know, this, this community feels invested in the success of the company and, and this is the SMASHD Army's company, after all. So, whatever we do next is going to make sure it's going to, you know, it's going to respect that.


I love that I, it's, it's finding comments. I talk a lot, and I think part of my job and our job as business leaders is like a dream bigger than most people would. It's very easy to see SMASHDFest with musical artists. Can smash content creation opportunities, celebrating like not having to drink but having a great time.

Kind of like an outdoor style. There are so many cool things I can imagine. Sure. And like meetups and connections and being a part of, like a non-alcoholic version of a lot of the major events that could be cool in a whole different way. Yeah. It does. Coachella needs to be like everyone's smash dancing? Could it be?

Oh, I guess smash has a double meaning for everyone. it could be everyone smashing in a different way. But anyway, I think that there are so many opportunities to explore and connect in the community, and I keep going back in my mind to this. You have such an amazing community. How do you, like you said, give them direction, but also connect them and allow them to actually meet in person or virtually.

Connect with you all in the brand and new and experiential ways. It's like there's so many cool opportunities.


Yeah. I mean, we've had, we've actually talked a lot about like, we're going to be doing like, like we want to do a SMASHD pop up, basically like have like a rage room, SMASHD rage room that we're going to activate all of our off-premise partners. We're going to have Nicole, do some stuff. They're like, we want to build out like, yeah, there's all sorts of things.

Like, we want to build out like a SMASHD factory and like, imagine basically like the childhood dream of, like all of the destruction, the most like epic tools of destruction that you could possibly have, you know, like, almost like, robbed your fantasy factory, but just for SMASHD. I mean, there's all sorts of different, like, directions and cool, fun things that we could do.

But I think, you know, the most important is that, like, we are really making sure that this community, you know, you know, knows that they're appreciated and, and, and they can take part in the success of this in a meaningful way.

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I think the recurring themes, whenever we have these conversations, I know that community is a big one, and I love that you keep referring to it because, without our communities, we really don't have a whole lot, right? Our communities really power everything that we do moving forward. And, you know, as, you know, Scott and I both at later, like a big part of what later tries to do is, kind of close that gap between the community, the creator, and, you know, the brand that they're working with, and y'all have married it in such an incredible way.

It used to be that social and brand were so far apart and, like, people would just, like, have these, you know, one-off, like, yeah, let's see if we can get this one created to create something that then connects. And, you know, we'll see where it goes. And it powers impressions and so on and so forth. Like, but now it is a beautiful matriculation of actual growth in not just the business in a massive way.

not just the page, not just the brand, but the community. And it all comes together and it's being married in such a cool way. So I love what y'all have done. Oh, I think it's super cool. I'm excited to see how it moves going forward. And as we have this podcast are a few staple questions that we like to ask.

You know, and I know that you've had some incredible people that you've probably encountered along the way. Have you? But, if we were to put this out to the world and say, hey, SMASHD or Mixoloshe or Mike or Nicole would love to collaborate with someone else out there, who would it be?


We both want to do a dude-perfect collaboration. Primarily because the dude-perfect headquarters is right by, right by, Nicole in Dallas. So. Dude. Perfect. If you're listening, let's, let's hang out.


20 minutes away from my house.


Yeah, we love that. So we're gonna make sure we're gonna send that to dude. Perfect. So do it perfectly. If y'all are listening, you know, please, please make sure we reach out to the SMASHD. And another question that I always love to touch on as well is obviously y'all, as it says, have had the best marketing strategy ever.

But, nothing is perfect, right? And so with that being said, was there anything along the way, any campaigns or ideas that you kind of threw out that didn't exactly hit? or is there anything along that you mean that you wish you did a little differently?


Oh, man, there's a lot. Nicole, do you want to go? Want to take this one?


Yeah, I, I'm going to kind of answer your question about a little bit of, in terms of my, my main job was treating the videos every day. So, you know, I would look at the comments and kind of 70% do what our community wanted, and then 30% if they didn't have any new suggestions, come up with my own things.

Whereas Mike mostly handled the storyline. So I'm sure Mike has a whole, you know, different response to what this question would be. But I think for my part, something that I just struggled with and it wasn't necessarily decisions that we made, it was just the fact that this took off in such an exciting and huge way.

And then all of a sudden, we had a lot of people that on face value, really seemed to believe what was like that I was going to be fired. And, this is my first experience in marketing before I was an IT recruiter. And so in large part, I'm learning a lot about what marketing is.

And, you know, everything that goes into it. And so for a while, I did kind of struggle with, oh, you know, yes, I'm an intern, but like, it's kind of a shtick and it really is a shtick. And people don't know that they don't know that. And so, that was kind of part, I think, for me, for the most part, yeah.


I mean, we had half of the people who are like, this is a shtick. And I'm here for it. And then half the people were like, like, Mike is the worst human.


Being in the world. Like, how could you possibly work for that guy?


And trust me, like, I read every single comment and someday I'll do a mean to tweets read on those. But like but yeah, that was that was definitely and like I felt a lot of responsibility because knowing Nicole was like super mindful of that as well. Like to make sure that this was treated properly as, as, you know, as it ended.

So, you know, that was definitely a big challenge. I, you know, like the campaign, the contest not going the way, you know, we wanted to was a big issue. Another one was, you know, guys, we didn't expect to hit half a million followers in 40 days. We thought this was going to take. We thought we would be sliding into the end of this thing.

Maybe if we were lucky and like, or maybe we would have to do this thing like do the rebrand without actually having hit the goal. So then we hit, you know, for 40 days into this thing, we hit half a million followers. Like, fortunately, timing-wise, we had planned to be in Vegas to do this last shoot.

And like we had the content for that last thing. But then I was like, man, I got 20 days to figure out how we're going to keep people interested in the Nicole smashing cans, like, how are we going to do this? And the answer was like, we needed to up the creativity of the cans, mashed videos, and the production value and like, do you know, really make sure we were leaning into it and, and, and kind of try and keep the storyline going.

But we didn't, you know, and then we had weird things with Instagram, which we still don't really have answers to, where, like, we like there are like five days where our content wasn't being seen by any non-followers. And so there was a bunch of weird stuff behind the scenes. And we'll totally open the kimono on all this stuff eventually.

But, it was like every single day you would have a plan and then you'd wake up and something would happen and you'd be like, okay, we need a new plan. Like, how are we going to be? How are we gonna respond to this? And I will say throughout this whole experience, like, I have the utmost respect for content creators in terms of the amount of work that goes into delivering, like a really exceptional performance on a daily basis.

Like, you know, you know, there's like, oh, you're an influencer and like, no, it is a lot the planning, the preparation, the like execution, the community management, the, you know, all of that stuff. It is insanely challenging. And if done well, like, like, you know, it's like a whole team's full-time job. So it's that to me I never really, I don't think understood the full you know the full picture there.

And so yeah that's awesome.


It's definitely a recurring theme for us as you know, a lot of people want to be content creators. We had Jason Tartick on and it was funny, he had a line. It's like, okay, you want to be a content creator every day. You need to make a post every day of the week, and then you need to have three stories a day.

And he's like, after doing that for seven weeks, tell me what works or not. And I'm doing the mental math of like creating 300 pieces of content in like, whatever, seven weeks. And it's exhausting. I can barely think of something to say. You know, once per day. And so, like having something relevant to say and all the production work, you know, depending on what your content is, you know, even just nailing a story correctly, then cutting it up, getting it out there, and just like you said, fielding the comments, engaging with the community, there's just so much behind it.

Yeah, I did have a question because there was a whole bot incident and then a shadow-banning piece. Was that all actual?


Yeah, that was real. That was real. So. Well, actually, I don't know what the truth is on that point like we don't really know what happened. So this is what I can tell you. We were in Vegas and or. No, sorry. We had just been in Oregon, we're filming. And, we knew that we were going to hit 500,000 within the next couple of days, and it was like a Saturday or something, or Friday.

And I was watching the numbers very closely. You can watch, you know if you jump into insights like see the actual numbers, you know, you know, how fast you're growing. and we had like these really weird spikes, like, right, you know, probably around 480,000 followers where it would, like, jump off like 1000 or 2000 followers. And then I was just keeping an eye on it.

And like that day, we, like, had the biggest growth, like our biggest growth day prior to that was like 20,000 followers, like that day, like went up to like almost 30. And I was like. And then that night we hit half a million followers. We didn't expect to hit it for three more days. And then things got really weird.

We hit, we hit the half a million, and we were like, all right. Like we would expect to just keep blasting through if like, this growth rate was really indicative of, like, you know, the reality. And it was honestly Scott, like I thought we were being trolled like I thought someone had said, okay, I'm going to buy, you know, 5000 followers for this account to get them over the line.

And then I'm going to teeter. I'm going to keep them right on the line. And it was literally like new followers were coming in at the exact pace. The bot accounts were being deactivated and we were stuck at like this 500,000 mark for so long. And I was like, why are we in Insta jail? Like, all of that was like, we were like, we had no idea what was going on.

But we didn't not only like ourselves, we didn't like the way it looked. We were like, oh God, we look like we're doing something weird here. And we did. You know, we didn't do anything weird. This was 100% organic. And so anyhow, so that that was sort of still unresolved. And I think like, we didn't really like we got out of that, we got like up to 507,000 and we did the Gary collab, which kind of shot us up to like 520.

But you know, who knows the real answer there? I think part of the community was just there because it was like this GameStop meme stock. Nicole is trying to skewer the boss over. Great. I'm here for it. Take my follow. Okay. She hit her goal. I'm out. and so maybe, you know, maybe a part of it was like, her people saw that she hit her goal and they didn't really care anymore.

You know, maybe part of it was we got boarded by someone, and then Instagram saw this influx of bots and then we were, you know, somehow a shadow band. We had been in touch with Meta, the meta team, like during the whole thing. And they were like, there are no restrictions on your account. like they finally told us that after like about a week.

So, I don't know who knows.




I’m paying, though. It was nerve-wracking for sure.


Yeah, I think whatever it was, though, it was so cool. Going back again to the radical transparency piece that Mike was talking about, his first instinct was like, we have to let the community know. And so he made a post in, and did our little funny voice and immediately it was, hey, this is what's happening. This or this is what we think is happening, because people, of course, were like, what's wrong with your followers?


What's going on? And it was a perfect opportunity to blame it on Mike, right? Yeah. Perfect opportunity to like, blame it on the awful boss who was trying to sabotage Nicole.


I like the Mike character storyline. We talked, we talked to quite a few people who are on reality TV, and we always talked about getting portrayed as bad at it. But you, you're the one who edited your own self, kind of a villain corner and how you like, you know, whatever.


My wife was like, you're a sicko. You secretly.


I do think it's a good reminder that storytelling is what engages folks. And just the amount of storylines, the amount of different things that people like. I was there for the original run-up, and then I called it like the 501 502 days. It was like that 5 or 6 days you're just stuck. And I was like, oh, this is drama.

What's happened? Yeah. Like I'm here and then I'm checking every day to see, like, are they unstuck? And there were just so many different storylines to follow and just good storytelling, having a lot of different ways for people to engage or get emotionally invested. Yeah, was, I think, part of the recipe for success.


Yeah. Yeah, I totally agree.


Well, it looks like we're kind of coming up to the end of this. And so I wanted to just take a moment to separate Mixoloshe and SMASHD and really just focus on Mike and Nicole for a second before we get out of here. I'd love to know for you it's a celebration y'all hit where y'all want it to be.


What do y'all have planned for the summer? That's what's going on? What's fun? What are you excited about? It's coming up.


Well, the call is about to become this Texas. So she's got no plans?


No, no.


Go ahead. Yeah.


Yeah. We'll see, we'll see if this is my fourth time competing and I'm really, really excited. Over the past four years, I have grown a lot personally and have grown in the organization as a competitor. And then really, I mean, working with this team has been such a privilege. And, I've very exciting things to talk to the judges about.

And my on-stage performance, I'm hyper, I'm an Irish dancer, so my talent is Irish dancing. If you're free on Saturday, June 29th, go to unless you live in Texas then it will be on TV. and watch the final night competition because it'll be really great.


I'm excited. yeah. I mean, for me, you know, this really does represent the beginning of this journey, with SMASHD. And I'm incredibly excited about the opportunities that we have, to do marketing differently with this company. And, you know, ultimately beverage brands are really, you know, good successful beverage brands are really just media companies that happen to sell a beverage product.

And I feel like, I feel like we have an upper hand, in that, in that sense. So, you know, going through this rebrand, we've sort of announced it. We've got a lot of things going on behind the scenes here in terms of getting ready. But, expect to see some really exciting content coming from this company, you know, over the next couple of months.


Amazing we really appreciate the time. We're huge, fans of both y'all and SMASHD. We look forward to seeing what you guys can do next. And, you know, just to see that good people do prevail and, and good ideas and putting yourself out there. This is a success. So we're huge champions of you. Thank you for your time.

And, that was a great episode. And until the next one, we'll see. All right. Thanks, guys.


See you next time.

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