From The Straits Times    |

Following last year’s #WaterTok trend, where users were mixing water with water-flavouring packets like Strawberry Nerds, the latest TikTok sensation that’s taking over the internet is the Stanley Quencher. Garnering seven billion views over the past few months, the water tumbler has evolved into a symbol of consumerism meeting the most basic of our needs – our thirst for water.

The company was established in 1913 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Stanley’s bottles, designed to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, were mostly targeted towards men, especially blue-collar workers and outdoor recreationists. However, the brand neglected half of the population in its marketing and only achieved viral success after launching its iconic Stanley Quencher in 2016. 

But what catapulted Stanley to viral fame was when The Buy Guide, a blog and Instagram account, promoted the products to their audience. The owners became enamoured with it and began endorsing it on Instagram in 2017, stating it was the ultimate choice among insulated cups. Eventually, the Quencher was consistently sold out whenever it was promoted, leading to widespread adoption by more women. 

@danimarielettering

Thirsty after you catch on fire? @Stanley 1913 is like no problem i gotchu #fyp #carfire #accident #stanleycup

♬ original sound – Danielle

In November 2023, the tumblers gained increased attention after a viral video showed the Stanley Quencher surviving a car fire while the ice inside remained intact, cementing its reputation for endurance and quality.

There was even an incident in the US when hoards of die-hard fans scrambled to grab hold of Stanley’s new limited edition Valentine’s Day cups in Target stores.

Celebrities, including Shay Mitchell and Adele, are also Stanley fans. In April 2023, Adele even brought her rose quartz-coloured tumbler along for Carpool Karaoke with James Corden.

@lindseyharbison

Y’all asked for it so here ya go! My stanley cup collection! 💖✨ #cupcollection #stanleycup #stanleycups

♬ original sound – songs!🫶🏽🫶🏽

On TikTok, videos featuring influencers proudly displaying extensive Stanley collections on custom shelving, along with emotional scenes of young girls joyously receiving the cup as a popular Christmas gift, underscore the prevailing hyperfixation on this particular tumbler. This viral success has been a significant driver behind the century-old company’s revenue skyrocketing from US$74 million in 2019 to a remarkable US$750 million in 2023, as reported by CNBC.

While it was originally designed for outdoor enthusiasts, Stanley tumblers have become a must-have accessory. Enthusiastic fans extoll the fact that they feel compelled to stay hydrated, but we have to ponder: Has society reached the pinnacle of overconsumption when we label a simple water bottle as a status symbol, even when it starts at a price of US$60 ($80)?