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How Simply Measured Helped Saddleback Leather Co. Launch an Invisible Product

Saddleback Leather Co. makes the most high-quality, over-engineered, full-grain leather bags you can find. That is, until we were recently tasked with launching a new line of heavy-duty waxed canvas bags called Mountainback.

With videos like “How to Knock Off a Bag“…

…and the “#TakeMyCrappyWallet” Giveaway

…Saddleback has a long-held tradition of non-traditional marketing practices that are just as effective as they are fun (and somewhat irreverent). Mountainback was to be no exception.

We’ve all taken part in those far-flung creative brainstorms where, once the laughter dies down, a more practical approach is finally decided upon. On this occasion, I blurted out an idea about how we should launch Mountainback by asking customers to buy without actually showing them the product. Half expecting to receive a few laughs, followed by an appeal for a serious approach, we instead opted to explore the idea.

Engagement Top 10
A sample of our top posts from the Mountainback campaign from Simply Measured’s Cross-Channel Social Performance Report

Before we move on, I should highlight that Saddleback is an e-commerce-only business that relies entirely on images, videos, and other content to promote its products. There is no way to handle one of these bags without buying one outright. That said, asking customers to buy a product without at least showing them a photo is counter-intuitive, to say the least.

How to Define Social Impact and Communicate Your Performance

The angle, in this case, was banking on the deep level of trust that Saddleback had already established with its existing customers as a purveyor of quality goods. The pitch was, simply put, “You know you can trust us on the quality and the look, so you don’t need to see it before you buy.” 

The question that we needed to answer on the front end was this:

How will our core audience respond to a tease of this magnitude, and what can we do to evaluate and measure that response?

In other words, is there anything we can do to make sure this doesn’t blow up in our face?

This chart comes from the Simply Measured Cross-Channel Social Performance Report.

It was a question that Simply Measured allowed us to easily answer. In order to first identify this core audience, we referenced the Cross-Channel Social Performance report, which clearly showed that Instagram was Saddleback’s most engaged channel.

Using this report in combination with the Instagram Hashtag Report, we also knew that Instagram was where Saddleback’s core brand advocates and influencers operated.

This one is simple – first person to guess the right number gets a high-quality, beautiful, beat-back-the-compliments-with-a-stick ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ from @mountainbackbags before anybody else. Seriously, these ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ are truly beautiful – wish you could see them! As the story goes, Dave once hatched a brilliant idea for a new line of rugged ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ called Mountainback. It's been days, and days, and DAYS of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly sweat – Michoacán gets HOT) since then. First person to guess just how many days Dave's been hard at work on these new Mountainback ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ gets the very first ⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ before anyone else. HINT: you should know by now that we never give out hints #QuitLookingForHintsInTheHashtags #⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️⬛️ #Mountainback #SaddlebackLeather

A post shared by Saddleback Leather Co. (@saddlebackbags) on

In order to evaluate what sort of response we might receive from this campaign, we tried teasing this audience first. We were able to push the envelope with a handful of posts prior to the product launch that were enthusiastic, yet painfully censored and vague.

How to Define Social Impact and Communicate Your Performance

Using Simply Measured’s Instagram Account Report, we were able to easily keep an eye on both engagement and sentiment, then share these results directly with upper management. Because the response from our Instagram followers was overwhelmingly positive, we felt confident moving forward.

Saddleback's top Instagram posts during this campaign.
Saddleback’s top Instagram posts during this campaign

On launch day, we announced this Mystery Bag via Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Periscope, and then prompted our viewers to buy (again, that’s without even one image of the item we were launching). The campaign was a huge success—we sold out in twenty minutes.

Mystery Bag

We used Simply Measured’s social analytics throughout the campaign — from evaluating whether this “mystery” strategy would work, to honing in on the social channel where we should devote most of our efforts, to measuring our success during and afterwards. If you want to give Simply Measured a whirl, click below to request a demo today!

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Keenan Erwin

I’m a freelance Social Media Marketer living in Glasgow, Scotland. I specialize in brand positioning, storytelling, and community growth. I also once jumped out of a helicopter with a chainsaw.

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