How Go GungHo Tapped the Power of YouTube and Pinterest to Launch Their New Energy Drink

June 19, 2012

With the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, image sharing has become one of the biggest social media trends of the year–video and YouTube, less so. According to StruckAxiom, images are shared 11 times more often than video. Looking at how often videos are repinned on Pinterest it is likely that Pinterest follows this trend.

Recently, Pinterest announced that you can pin videos from Vimeo in addition to YouTube. However, looking through the top brands or categories on Pinterest you won’t find a lot of videos being pinned or repinned. Even in the video category there are almost no videos with more than a single repin.

An example of the weakness of video on Pinterest is the beauty retailer Birchbox. On Pinterest, Birchbox has over 22,000 followers for it’s unboxing video board, but unfortunately they do not have more than a single repin on any of their videos.

With these numbers, it might be surprising to know that Birchbox does well on YouTube. They have over 11,000 active subscribers on their YouTube channel, and close to a million views. Yet, when these same videos are pinned, the Pinterest community doesn’t visibly engage (though, undoubtedly their Pinterest fans help their overall YouTube viewing numbers).

Speaking to Danny Mason, co-founder of Go GungHo, a new alternative to caffeine rich energy drinks, he shows three possible reasons for why people don’t share videos as often as images:
1. People are not sure what the video is before they click it.
2. People are not sure what their time commitment will be to watch the video.
3. People are not sure they will want to share the video.

Aware of the challenges of getting people to share video, Danny and his new company found a way to combine video marketing with Pinterest — and it is not in the traditional Pinterest way.

Instead of incentivizing people to pin videos on Pinterest and hoping for the best, Danny tapped into the power of a YouTube community. They invited YouTube viewers to go to a landing page for a special offer for sharing their funny ninja images (ninjas are a serious part of Go GungHo’s brand).

Go GungHo initially thought they were marketing to a younger male demographic, which fit best with YouTube. Their focus was on college students who want extra energy to get through their finals and college courses.

Go GungHo looked for a YouTube celebrity that could reach both men and women. They found the husband and wife duo, Charles and Ally Trippy. The couple agreed to do a video review of the product. Danny provided an exclusive deal to the Trippy audience, giving free samples to the first 5,000 people to respond.

The Trippy’s shared how they were fans of the “world’s only energy shot with Ninja-like focus”  and then provided the exclusive offer to their 760,000 plus viewers. Within seven hours Go GungHo had given out all of their 5,000 free samples, beating Orabrush’s YouTube marketing record that moved 10,000 free samples in ten days.

Yet, the success of this launch really wasn’t about how quickly Go GungHo gave out free samples, or even the power of the Trippy’s YouTube community. The true magic came when all of the Trippy fans hit the Go GungHo landing page.

On the landing page people could choose several funny ninja images to share on social sites including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. To entice people to share, the Go GungHo group promised to provide additional free samples or a steep discount if someone bought product after clicking on one of their ninja images.

The second wave of sharing brought down their website for over an hour. As unfortunate as a crashed website is on a product launch, the massive amount of response Go GungHo received  provided some great insights.

The first insight they gained was that women were more gung ho than men about sharing on social media sites. According to Danny, almost 60% of the social engagement was from women.

Women also proved to be a valuable contribution to the campaign because they often added their personal endorsement with their shares. These findings made the team re-evaluate their strategy, which included a redesign of their packaging to make it more appealing to women.

“We learned our most vocal advocates are women. Men would just share to get the product. Women would add their comments about it, even though they didn’t have to. Men also tried to game the system” more than women did, stated Danny.

Finally, Go GungHo learned the power of Pinterest. Even though more people used Facebook and Twitter to share, Pinterest users were more active in endorsing the energy shot. Due to this level of engagement, Pinterest outpaced the other social networks when it came to referral traffic.

Video is powerful, though it may not necessarily be in getting pins and repins on Pinterest. Instead, by tapping into the YouTube community Go Gungho was able to grow all of their social numbers, and get increased engagement from women — on Pinterest in particular.

The funny images combined with an easy way to share resulted in growing their fan base on every network.

Key Stats:

  • The GungHo webs site got 69,000 hits within hours. The 5000 free were gone in 23 minutes. The next 5000 (with discount) was gone in under 4 hour live up time (site was down for >1.5 hrs). After 40 minutes when site went down, they turned off the discount. With no barriers to sharing it spread too fast. Only Trippy’s fans got the discount after that.
  • Of the 69,000, over 5,700 bought or got the free sample, but the company had to turn off the viral share piece because they lost money on the $10 discount if they chose the monthly auto-delivery option. They are convinced they would have been wiped out of product if Trippy’s fans’ friends got the offer. Trippy’s fans friends just saw the funny image but did NOT get the offer.
  • Our buyers from the Trippy’s site was about 59% female.
  • The men tended to share via Faceboko and Twitter. The women, via Pinterest.
  • Women shared their endorsement (comments from them vs our pre-populated text in the FB, twitter or Pinterest window). Less than 5% of the time men shared personal endorsement. Over 80% of the women did.
  • Go GungHo got over 1300 new Twitter followers and over 1100 new FB fans in a matter of hours from the Trippy offer. They had almost zero following before (this was our launch campaign).
  • The community loved the offer from the Trippys. They had over 80 tweets, posts or other comments from his fans thanking for the hook-up. We had over 60 comments / reviews on our fan-page (we offered a free 12-pack for the best review).
  • 5778 customers total pinned their image before they turned off the offer. 3409 were women. 2292 of those women chose to pin vs. share on Facebook or Twitter (67% chose pinterest vs FB or twitter). They determined the sex of people sharing by looking at the name of the person.

Have any launch tips or stories of how you successfully leveraged social media or Pinterest? Please share in the comments?

Written by Janet Thaeler, @Newspapergrl and Paul Wilson, cofounders of – a new free tool to let you see what’s being pinned on Pinterest. You get an email whenever someone pins something from your blog. Their Pinterest account is

Highlights of #StartupChat “Do-It-Yourself PR”

August 22, 2011


On August 17th our #StartupChat (every Wed 2pm EST) topic was Do-It-Yourself PR. Guests included PR experts: @newspapergrl @newspapergrl and @prtini! We also included some of our participants tweets here who added great value. Thanks everyone! Fun topic.

Here’s highlights of the conversation:


How do you know you’re ready for press?

LibbyDowd: When you have a story to chat about, dig into the background of your pitch, find the interesting piece of news and expand it.

NewspaperGrl: When you have something to say besides ‘buy from me.’ You have an interesting angle or story.

prtini: If you have an interesting story to tell that will help your start-up achieve goals, be proactive in telling it.

startupprincess: Businesses are ready for press when branding, website, services/product is done, they have compelling story to tell. STORY is key! being polished is essential.


What are the benefits/dangers of do it yourself PR?

NewspaperGrl: Benefit of DIY PR: You know your brand best & are its most passionate spokesperson. Danger of DIY PR: You blow opportunities or look bad because you’re not prepared.

prtini: DIY PR pros: Can save $$; you know the product/service better than anyone else; build relationships w reporter w/o middle man.

startupprincess: Benefits: low cost/risk Dangers: looks small, might not come off polished, etc.

LibbyDowd: The relationship building is most important in PR. know ur media and their audience first.


What types of press do you recommend a small biz should go after by themselves if they lack budget to hire someone?

NewspaperGrl: Start local – local bloggers, reporters, news stations, magazines, etc. Local stories can turn into national stories. Position yourself as a local expert. Tips on how here –>

prtini: Identify your target audience. What media outlets (online & offline) are they reading/watching? Start there.

startupprincess: I highly recommend a blog for every business owner if they can keep it updated weekly- a free form of PR!


What types of news is press release worthy?

startupprincess: Launch of a new product/service, new executive, new partnership, charity support, events.

NewspaperGrl: I use press releases both for media & online exposure. Send a press release to share tips, events, milestones, trends, etc.

prtini: If you’re pitching a trend story, send a short pitch, not a release. Bullet key facts.

LibbyDowd: Press worthy release is new, different, timely, any and all of the above.


What press release distribution sites do you recommend?

NewspaperGrl: Free sites: have had good success with @Smallbiztrends press release service for SEO. We have a list of over 140 sites with notes about links/features/cost breakdown at

startupprincess: I always at least hire someone to distribute our press releases because distribution lists are KEY

prtini: @Pitchengine is helpful for creating a social media release, but it’s not a distribution channel. Helpful tool, though.


Advice on working with local news? local TV?

prtini: Local media needs a local hook. Who can you offer as an interview that gives story local connection?

startupprincess: Ask for editorial calendars and then customize your pitches for TV/print.

NewspaperGrl: Offering insight into trends that are big or how you were affected by larger news story can be very effective.

startupprincess: When you’re asked to be on a TV show be SURE to practice speaking in sound bites.


How can video be a form of PR when done well?

prtini: Video is powerful. Wear your journalist hat & think about how to convey emotion & tell a story.

NewspaperGrl: Ex of using video: I filmed a local bank closing. Posted it on YouTube, CNN’s ireport & tweeted, etc. Got a call back.

startupprincess: Video builds trust when done well and you an demo your product/service beautifully.

IAmAmeerah: Since YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google, video is great for SEO.


How do you get national media to look at a story?

prtini: For nat’l media coverage, position your biz as part of a larger trend, instead of pitching a company-focused story.

NewspaperGrl: If the reporter has a blog read it, comment. If they are on Twitter, follow them. Get to know what they cover.

KaraKennedy: Relate it to current hot topics….that are happening in the media at the national level.


What do you recommend doing before press hits/airs?

startupprincess: Before PR hits, be SURE you have CALL TO ACTION, easy to navigate website, email capture, all products IN HOUSE

michelledoodads: Make sure your infrastructure is in place, website, phone calls, etc. How will you handle further questions and inquiries.

entbootcamp: Be prepared for customer questions after news hits the media. Planning after getting leads is worst thing


What do you recommend doing after Press hits?

startupprincess: Be sure to create a Press page on your website, link all interviews there, great for credibility & to get MORE.

entbootcamp: Use a lead management software to better follow ups. After all this handwork is to get good quality leads.


Thanks for the wonderful tips and insight into Do-It-Yourself PR!

For FREE PR, create a video to enter our Video Marketing Competition for Touchpoint! Create a compelling marketing video for a competition AND use that video to promote your business online!

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