How Chubbies Sends Rad Push Notifications Users Love

By: Kahuna | June 25, 2015 | Customer Spotlight
Customer Spotlight: Chubbies

Get ready for weekend! With an editorial voice that celebrates everything from “The ‘Mericas” to daily musings on manliness, Chubbies has built a unique brand around its increasingly famous collection of shorts and shirts. Any touchpoint a potential customer has with the Chubbies brand is fun, if not hilarious, and that special relationship plays an important role in attracting and retaining customers. For Chubbies today, the question becomes: how do we translate our strategy onto mobile?

“On mobile, we have a more captive audience that is willing to give us more attention and time,” said Preston Rutherford, co-founder of Chubbies. “They’re coming to us as they are on the bus, walking to class, or bored in their meetings. In those moments, we have to instantly present value to our potential customer.”

Here’s how Chubbies builds long term relationships with customers on mobile:

  1. Knowing Their Users

The relationships that are created with customers on mobile are closer than the relationships created on any other device. Because mobile is a more intimate environment, brands must be on point with each message they send to users. The first step to building a special relationship and making sure that your messages resonate with customers is to understand them. Who are your customers? What do they do for fun? What do they like to talk about with their friends? Once you understand your target audience, you can start a conversation that speaks to your customers’ interests.

For Chubbies, the key to brand engagement is to treat customers like friends who they know extremely well. The Chubbies brand is all about promoting a casual conversation, which is perfect for the close, personal nature of mobile. Interacting with Chubbies is like texting a buddy—your conversations are often funny, irreverent, and can touch on any subject. To offer up bite-sized messages that intrigue users, Chubbies takes memorable one-liners from movies that their customers likely enjoyed and optimizes the content by testing the messages and finding the one with the best response. The following quote taken from the movie Point Break, for example, was sent to every user and improved engagement rate by 16%.

Chubbies push

Of all the movie quotes to choose from, Chubbies chose one that would be relatively obscure to the general public but would uniquely resonate with its specific target demographic. Point Break, which was released in 1991, before most of Chubbies’ customer base was even born, has become a cult hit among today’s college-age kids, and the quote “Utah, get me two!” has become a beloved meme on the Internet, spurring countless shares. The core of Chubbies’ strategy is to know its customers well and serve up content that truly strikes a chord.

2) Making Them Laugh

The main goal of Chubbies’ mobile messaging campaigns is to make people laugh. By doing so, the brand reaps great rewards. Laughter is the best medicine for any of the stresses in everyday life, and if a brand can provide an effective dosage to a user every time he looks at his phone, it can quickly create brand affinity. “We asked ourselves—how can we present the brand and provide a quick chuckle to a person who has a thousand other things going on?” Preston said.

With every message, Chubbies focuses on making the user laugh, rather than using more traditional marketing tactics. “The young consumer is smart,” Preston said. “They downloaded the Chubbies app knowing that it’s meant to sell them shorts and shirts and only need to hear about it occasionally.” Very rarely will a Chubbies user see a message touting the app’s value proposition, explaining new features, or reminding users to convert—all common strategies that mobile brands use to encourage people to return to or engage more with their apps. Yet, by providing a stream of entertainment that keeps people smiling, Chubbies is constantly reminding users of the brand, while making sure that it doesn’t go overboard by watching opt-outs and uninstalls. Users who maintain a conversation with Chubbies on their mobile phones will naturally think of the brand the next time they need something for the weekend.

Below is an example of a Chubbies push notification that puts these dynamics into play:

Chubbies push

Instead of mentioning anything about shorts and shirts, Chubbies eschews traditional marketing language and employs a Pig Latin greeting that translates to “Let’s Party”, capturing the spirit of the weekend in two irreverent words. The message stayed in line with the overall strategy of using humor to retain audiences and posted a 20% improvement in conversions.


Chubbies has successfully aligned its brand goals with messaging that truly resonates with its customer base. Push notifications are a form of entertainment that Chubbies’ audience looks forward to getting every day. Like a breath of fresh air, they provide tidbits of fun and irreverence, working their way into the lifestyles of their customers. Mobile has become the primary channel to build that authentic relationship, one that paves the way to conversions through long-term engagement.

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