Culture and trends

Trend alert: Crumbl Cookies

Gen Zers having a great time at a festival
Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
October 14, 2022
Last updated
June 3, 2024

What this article covers

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While many established retail chains have been forced to close stores during the pandemic, one fast-growing food brand has achieved the opposite.

Who are Crumbl Cookies?

Crumbl Cookies has opened over 250 stores since it was founded four years ago, and 180 of those opened since the pandemic began. Founder Jason McGowan predicts they’ll have at least 600 by the end of 2022. So what’s the secret to their success? Put simply, they have marketed their products like a pair of limited edition sneakers.

Crumbl has used a strategy they call “hype cycle marketing” to create buzz around the brand and its weekly product releases. TikTok has played a key role in this. Incredibly, their account @crumblcookies gained 2 million followers in just six weeks after it launched in February. Crumbl’s audience is looking out for their product drops, and will not only engage with their posts when they appear on their ‘for you’ page, but independently seek them out so they don’t miss the latest update.

What's the appeal for Gen Z?

Each week, the brand premieres its latest selection of new flavours on TikTok. They realised that in order to succeed on the social video app, they needed their content to align with what cookie fans were already doing there rather than taking the more traditional approach of advertising new products. To announce each new product, they post tantalising, up-close video footage of their cookies being made - essentially “food porn.” And of course, the clips are soundtracked with the latest songs that are trending on TikTok. They’ve also adapted their content strategy for other platforms, such as weekly unboxing videos on YouTube where charismatic Crumbl employees give each cookie a rating out of 10.

While Crumbl is a new brand, there’s a lot that more established brands can learn from their strategy in order to achieve similar growth and engagement with the Gen Z market. Taking the time to understand what works and why on the social media platforms that are relevant to this demographic is vital. A one-size-fits-all approach across multiple platforms will not be effective, especially when challenger brands like Crumbl are emerging with such a natural instinct for how to win the loyalty of young consumers.

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