Case Study: Gel Blaster

#1 With a Gellet™: AI-Driven Influencer Content Shot Gel Blaster to the Top

About Gel Blaster

Gel Blaster is the brand behind the Surge, the StarFire, and other awesome water-based bead blasters. They’re not water guns, they’re not pellet shooters, they’re the best of both worlds. Gel Blaster Gellets™ expand in water and disappear after the battle has been waged.  

Gel Blaster is a toy at heart, created to get people outside, active, and playing together. Its fun, unthreatening design belies the advanced technology and build quality that make Gel Blaster the water bead blaster to beat.

Client Location

Austin, TX, USA

Campaign platform

YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch

Campaign snapshot
#1

In Market Share

307

Creators Activated

342M

Impressions

50%

Walmart Market Share

26.37%

Amazon Market Share

3.13x

RoAS Overall

The big question

How Does a Toy Brand Tap Content Creators to Secure Market Share in the Face of Rising Competition?

The background

Gel Blaster Invites Everyone to Go Play

Today, Gel Blaster is the clear leader in its category and is the #1 spot in market share. It wasn’t always that way.

Early success for Gel Blaster led to a flood of knock-off water bead blasters on store shelves and online, including from some big name competitors looking to muscle in on the category Gel Blaster effectively created.

Gel Blaster turned to BENlabs to create an AI-driven content influencer campaign that would bring the Gel Blaster “go play” motto to life. Product sales presented an obvious campaign goal, but with mounting competition, securing market share — ensuring the Gel Blaster brand rose even faster than the burgeoning water bead shooter category it popularized — was the real key.

The AI

BENlabs AI Keeps Campaigns On Target

BENlabs AI unlocks actionable influencer marketing insights that would otherwise be lost in unstructured data. BENlabs AI helps to create campaigns that continuously optimize, getting better, more targeted, and smarter as they learn from campaign data. With reliable predictive data, brands can act quickly on opportunities, knowing exactly what results to expect. 

With BENlabs AI insights on early campaign data, it was clear that the presumed Gel Blaster audience personas (dads, outdoor lifestyle, sports enthusiasts) were not where the biggest opportunities lay. 

BENlabs AI built more receptive audience clusters for the Gel Blaster message. Data gathered throughout the campaign unlocked incredible predictive performance accuracy that allowed Gel Blaster to confidently increase campaign spend, beating the main KPI with a 3.13x RoAS, driving sales, and cementing market share.

Audience Cluster Analysis

BENlabs AI identified some unexpected but highly receptive audience clusters, ready to hear about Gel Blaster from their favorite content creators. BENlabs AI highlighted Couple Lifestyle, Family Vloggers, Moms and interestingly, Beauty and Lifestyle audience clusters as clear paths to scale campaign success. Suburban Dad audience clusters were confirmed as an opportunity, though AI audience intelligence showed that this audience cluster was key for awareness but secondary in purchase decision making.

Smart Creator Matching

With high performing audiences identified, BENlabs AI surfaced the most influential creators to share Gel Blaster’s go play message from the BENlabs Creator Community of over 13 million pre-vetted creators. Smart Creator Matching looks beyond simple creator metrics like audience size and engagement. AI creates a clear, data-driven picture of how creators align with brand values, how audiences will respond, and the bottom line results to expect. 

Predictive Analytics

With previous performance data from Gel Blaster, BENlabs data gained over 10s of thousands of campaigns, and early campaign data, BENlabs AI created custom predictive models. With BENlabs machine learning AI, these models got even more accurate as the campaign progressed and allowed BENlabs to accurately predict outcomes when adding a new creator, audience cluster, paid ad, or brand message into the campaign mix.  

THE CREATIVE

Content Creators Go Play With Gel Blaster

Gel Blaster is founded on a desire to get people outside and having fun. The brand needed aligned content creators to bring the go play ethos to life for target audiences. 

With BENlabs AI highlighting creators that were a clear match for Gel Blaster’s values, style, and target audience, creators were freed to authentically integrate Gel Blaster into their content. After all, no one knows what moves an audience better than the content creator who built it.

BENlabs brought 307 creators into the fray including heavy-hitters like @PrestonPlayz, @RyanTrahan, @Kazsawyer and more. @unboxtherapy, @walcoms7 and other creators dug into what makes Gel Blaster shooters different and better with demos, specs, speeds, and design points. Couple lifestyle influencers like @lindy_and_jlo and @kokoandsymba, mom and family influencers like @savagemomlife and @thebigefamily shared skits, vlogs, and all kinds of fun “go play” content.

With mega, macro, and mid-level influencers, as well as micro influencers in the creator mix, the campaign scaled quickly, ensuring Gel Blaster was top of mind leading up to and through the important Black Friday and holiday shopping windows.

The results

#1 With a Gellet™

BENlabs AI-driven creator campaign helped propel Gel Blaster to #1 in market share. 

Gel Blaster content garnered over 342M views and impressions across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. In addition, audiences made their own user generated content, inspired by their favorite creators. 

As the campaign drove awareness, sales exploded across the category. With BENlabs AI driving scale and informing strategy, we ensured that Gel Blaster — not copycats or even challengers from the biggest name in blaster style toys (you know the one) — reaped the rewards of rising consumer interest.

With clear return on its influencer content investment, and with BENlabs AI powering reliable predictive analytics at every step, Gel Blaster could confidently increase spend, maximizing impact with a KPI-beating 3.13x RoAS.

As a result, Gel Blaster SKUs accounted for half (49.98%) of all units sold at Walmart in the all important December retail window. Up from less than one in 10 (9.05%) in March, 2022 and two in 10 (20.9%) in September, 2022 when the campaign kicked into high gear. 

Amazon sales numbers tell a similar success story, from 2.3% market share in August 2022 to 26.37% in December, a more than 10X increase.

Gel Blaster In Action

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