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Spending $15K on Pizzas to Get $1M

Why Antimetal sent 1,000 pizzas to startups and VCs on launch day.

Hey — It’s Nico.

This is another edition of Failory’s Behind Tactics 🧠, the newsletter in which I analyze the different strategies startups use to get ahead in their markets.

In this issue:

  • Antimetal launched recently with an original campaign: they spent $15,000 on pizzas and sent it to VCs and other startups.

  • The campaign was very successful: it made $1M in direct revenue.

  • This type of marketing stunt can be very cost-effective if done correctly.

  • The launch was an example of a founder-led launch, a trend that has been growing in popularity.

Let’s get into it.

The Strategy

The Pizza Launch

Antimetal is a new SaaS platform that launched on April 4. It helps businesses control their cloud costs, which have become increasingly expensive and complex to manage. 

Here's the gist:

  • Problem: Cloud costs are high and managing them is complicated.

  • Solution: Antimetal uses AI to help businesses save on cloud costs.

It is an easy-to-sell idea. For many companies, this is like finding free money. Instead of spending thousands on monthly AWS costs, businesses can subscribe to Antimetal for $600 and let the platform reduce their cloud expenses.

Launch Day

Imagine you are the founder of Antimetal. You've created a product that you know will attract many companies. Your main challenge now is getting the right people to know about it. What would you do?

If you guessed something conventional like cold emails or social media ads, think again.

Antimetal had a much more original idea. On the day of the launch, they spent $15,000 on pizzas. Yes, pizzas.

They sent these pizzas to various VCs, startups, and influencers in New York and San Francisco.

This strategy was incredibly successful. As the pizzas started to arrive, a bunch of very famous startup founders and influencers began posting about it on social media. 

Each pizza came in a box filled with Antimetal’s branding, turning every social media post into free advertising for the company.

They also sent some really personalized gifts. For example, they delivered 7 pizzas to this developer who joked on Twitter about being laid off by 7 companies. This was the twitter post that got the most traction, proving that personalized gifts are the way to go.


The launch was extremely successful:

  • 75% of the companies that received a pizza ended up becoming customers of Antimetal. This directly translates to $1M in ARR from a $15,000 marketing campaign.

  • They got a lot of people talking about the product. On the day of the launch, Antimetal was everywhere on social media. They made a big splash, precisely what you want from a product launch campaign.

  • They got the right people talking about the product. They sent the pizzas directly to the people who might be most interested in their product: startups and VC firms.

Should I?

Why This Works

  • Dual Purpose: 

    • Indirect Benefits: The social media traction achieved through posts about the pizzas increased brand recognition and got people talking about Antimetal.

    • Direct Benefits: Many companies that received the pizzas became customers, turning the marketing expense into direct revenue.

  • Company Positioning: By executing such a creative and unexpected marketing campaign, Antimetal positioned itself as an innovative company. Moreover, the campaign also showed that Antimetal is willing to go the extra mile to engage potential customers. This kind of customer-centric approach can foster goodwill and make potential clients feel valued, which can be a deciding factor when choosing a service provider.

  • Founder-Led Launch: The whole product launch was promoted through the founder’s Twitter account, a strategy known as a “Founder-led Launch.” This approach has gained popularity because people tend to engage more with personal accounts than with brand accounts. Other successful examples of founder-led launches include The Browser Company, OpenAI, and Airbnb.

How to Apply It

  • Think outside the box: Do something unique and fun that people will want to share on social media. The simplicity of sending pizzas worked because it was different enough to get people talking. Look for ideas that stand out and create a memorable experience for your target audience.

  • Personalize as much as possible: Antimetal sent notes with the pizzas. These notes were different depending on who received them. For example, to the VCs, they sent the following note.

  • Make it Founder-Led: Use the founder’s account as much as possible. This will increase the interactions you get and humanize your brand, creating a stronger connection with the audience. Make sure to follow up and engage with the people who post about our campaign on social media.

Yes, But

  • This type of marketing stunt could be annoying to some people. No one will get mad for getting a free pizza, but other ideas could bother the receipts. When considering ideas for your stunt, avoid anything that can potentially annoy some part of the recipients.

  • Not every founder enjoys having a social media presence. In order to do a Founder-led Launch, the founder must have a strong presence on social media. If this is not the case, then you should probably stick to using the brand’s account.

Keep Learning

Others Playing It

  • Uber has done several marketing stunts in which they gift free ice cream to their riders. This tradition began in 2012 and has had several editions since. It always manages to get significant traction in social media, positioning it as a company that cares for its riders.

  • Snapchat started selling Spectacle glasses with attached cameras in 2016. To promote this new product they placed several vending machines around the world were people could buy the glasses only for a day. This was not a gift to customers, but generated similar traction in social media.

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