From 0 to 10 Million, a Textbook of Digital Marketing Strategy of a DTC Brand

Nov. 1, 2023
Today I will introduce to you a case of an independent website, which has become popular on major platforms in North America in a very short time. It has received 1 billion+ views and 10 million US dollars in revenue on TikTok. Its founders are only 21 years old, and their start-up fund is only 3,000 dollars. That’s too amazing!
Their videos are quite simple and roughly made, but the views and clicks are over 1 million. How could this happen?
The fun part is that Tabs is an independent website which publicly sells chocolate to their targeted customers. Different from ordinary ones, the chocolate they sell is used in sex. Tabs was founded in 2021 by two students graduated from UMich, Jake Lewin and Oliver Brocato. As we all know, the adult products track is very profitable, but it has a natural difficulty in marketing: any mainstream media social platform or payment channel will restrict the adult products.
So, there is a huge obstacle that this DTC brand has to overcome – product categories are naturally difficult to promote. Before they can start marketing, they need to reshape the sense of shame of adult products.

Destigmatization

The two founders of Tabs Chocolate said they focused on the marketing strategy by destigmatizing the product and then making it stand out from the competition.
It can be seen from the product design that Tabs chocolate is suitable for both parts of a couple. They will split the chocolate from the middle and then take their own half to enjoy together. Not only does this create a visual metaphor that attracts customers, it also completely removes any taboos around using sexual enhancement products.

Product Design

There are two key steps in Tabs’ product design:
  1. They select ingredients that commonly used in adult health products and use them in chocolate making to create the uniqueness of sex chocolate. This shows up Tabs chocolate differently from other adult health products and ordinary candies.
  2. The founders of Tab chocolate integrated the use and sharing scenarios of the product into the design of the product.

As the founders said, “we are not selling chocolate, but great experience and emotion; what they are actually selling is a wonderful night in your life and a high-quality intimate relationship.

Package Design

In the packaging design of Tabs chocolate, we can see that they hope to present a luxury-like feeling: its outer packaging is only made up by color of black and gold, so that couples can easily give it away without feeling ashamed.
Meanwhile, in order to maintain the feeling of scarcity and luxury, they deliberately keep only 3 pieces of chocolate per box.

Marketing Strategy

In terms of marketing strategy and traffic acquisition, Tabs’ method is more precise and worth learning from. The marketing has gone through several stages of development, and the strategies of each stage have helped their sales amazingly grow.

Conclusion

Beyond the uniqueness of the product itself, Tabs did one thing so well that very worth learning: super-vertical virally-spreading short videos.
But what about the quality of their videos?
These roughly-made videos are only about 10 seconds long and are actually produced by real TikTok accounts. What an interesting fact is that the videos don’t look like ads at all. Some of them are even too blurry to see clearly. But no one can prevent them becoming so popular.

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