After appearing on “Shark Tank” in 2021, Deux founder Sabeena Ladha wanted to continue the direct-to-consumer plant-based functional foods brand’s momentum from the television show by working with influencers and leaning into social media and out-of-home ads. In doing so, the brand, known for its cookies, is building a community of Gen Z fans.
Ladha came up with the idea for Deux because she was sick of taking tons of vitamins and at the same time was passionate about sweet snacks. The brand’s cookies are made from functional ingredients that help consumers get their vitamins while also satisfying their sweet tooth. Since its founding in 2021, Deux has tapped influencer partnerships, billboards, Instagram and TikTok to get in front of consumers. But the team didn’t want to have an Instagram feed full of cookies, so their focus has been on creating good content that followers would actually care about and ultimately share on their own feeds.
“Shareability is our No. 1 goal. Our No. 2 goal is making people laugh,” Ladha said of the company’s approach to its social content and advertising. With over 80,000 followers combined on Instagram and TikTok, Deux has cultivated its social media presence by collaborating with like-minded brands and influencers. Deux’s collaborations have included brands such as Summer Fridays, Amanda Hirsch from her podcast “Not Skinny But Not Fat” and wellness influencers Sweats and the City by Eliz and Dale.
Deux’s content has also included a baking series titled “Hot Guys Who Bake,” with Mike Johnson, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette.” “We create content that entertains. Even when we create campaigns like our OOH billboards (“Honk If You Like It Raw”), we made sure it was super sharable, and it went viral on TikTok. Everything we do — both paid and organic marketing — ladders back up to shareability,” Ladha said.
As part of the brand’s influencer marketing strategy, Deux seeks out influencers who align with the brand ethos. “We gift, send mailers for launches and work deeply with a handful of influencers who are really aligned with the brand in the form of exclusive collaboration flavors or content creation,” said Ladha. For instance, Deux currently has an influencer collaboration with health and wellness influencers Sweats & the City on a s’mores cookie dough flavor. A few of Deux’s other partnerships include fitness influencers Mari Llewellyn and Lauryn Evarts Bosstick (The Skinny Confidential), food blogger Nicole Cogan, actress and singer Alyssa Lynch, and reality tv star Katie Maloney. “Gen Z is hyper-aware of staying healthy enough to enjoy life, as they were most impacted when many pivotal moments of their youth were compromised or canceled when the world shut down,” said Margo Kahnrose, CMO of Skai. “They don’t want to miss out on any more of life’s biggest moments because of health issues.”
It’s unclear how much of Deux’s advertising budget is allocated to its influencer spend and OOH billboards, as Ladha would not share exact figures. According to Kantar data, Deux spent a little over $35,000 so far on advertising efforts in 2022. That said, Ladha did share some insight into how the brand breaks up its budget. “We spend about 20% of our ‘working’ media ad spend on Meta, which is a much lower reliance than most DTC brands. Our influencer spend including gifting makes up about 30%,” she said, commenting on Deux’s influencer spend.
Working with influential endorsers, transparency around labels and ingredients, clean visuals that stand out on the shelf and online, as well as an ability to utilize the native capabilities of digital and social media will likely help Deux stand out and reach Gen Z consumers, according to analysts. “By targeting a generation that’d grown up with access to more information than any generation before, their approach is tailor made to succeed on their audience’s terms,” said Edward Mclarnon, svp and regional experience strategy lead at creative marketing agency RAPP.
Deux is not the only brand taking to OOH marketing and social media to reach Gen Z. Gut health soda brand Poppi and DTC chocolate vitamin brand Sourse have taken similar approaches to reach that demographic, as Gen Z consumers are more aware of what goes into their bodies.
“The type of full-spectrum wellness being embraced by brands like Deux — where gratification, wellbeing, and even decadence can coexist — is critical to reach Gen Z as they’re getting to a stage of life where they’re beginning to feel less invincible, but they aren’t ready to compromise with their choices,” said Colton Morris, senior planner, insights and action, at Mediahub.
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