195 – Does sex sell? 350,000 Instagram followers of frank body scrub think so.

195 – Does sex sell? 350,000 Instagram followers of frank body scrub think so.

In this week’s episode, I ask the age old question – Does sex sell? And you will probably be unsurprised to know that the answer is a resounding YES – at least, if your brand is relevant to the occasional flash of flesh. And one brand that certainly is relevant is frank coffee scrub. This unique body scrub made from coffee grinds has been active for just over a year and has had incredible success in that time, in so small part because of the risqué snaps that the brand users post on Instagram and Pinterest. *fans self*

I speak with Jess and Erica, two of five partners of frank coffee scrub, and they talk through their astounding growth to 350,000 Instagram followers, why a little bit of cheekiness never hurt anyone, how they commit to such a strong identity throughout all their branding, and the benefits of having a low price point.

PLUS, I get to grips with feedback from the Small Business Big Marketing forum and give you some pro tips on creating your own podcast. Let’s get started!


In this session of Small Business Big Marketing, you’ll discover:

  • Why having a strong sense of your brand throughout every touchpoint is vital to business success.
  • How you can hand over your content marketing job to your consumers with user generated content.
  • Where and how twenty somethings are consuming their media.
  • Why sex sells – IF it is relevant to the brand.
  • Why being sales focused in your brand messaging might actually turn potential consumers away.
  • How reaching out to bloggers and local influencers can be just as effective as celebrity endorsements.
  • How Jess and Erica’s business partner found a business niche by looking at coffee grinds in a unique way.
  • Why injecting a sense of fun into your business can provide you with great rewards and a point of difference.

Episode Timeline

  • 5.30 A quick tip from Netregistry – use the WordPress CMS to build a great business website.
  • 6.30 I answer some forum questions and give my pro tips on starting a podcast.
  • 10.00 Introducing Jess and Erica from frank coffee scrub, 2 of 5 partners in a new skincare business.
  • 13.30 The opportunity that came from identifying a niche in the market and committing completely to a strong brand identity.
  • 15.00  Jess and Erica talk about the importance of making your brand communicate with the same tone of voice through every touchpoint.
  • 19.00 The girls talk Instagram strategy and why involving people in creating user generated content is so important for them.
  • 21.30 Jess and Erica reveal why Instagram is not all about sales – it’s about building an online community that is fun and enaging.
  • 24.00 The girls talk about the labour intensive marketing strategy of reaching out to bloggers and building social media, but why it is better for them than celebrity endorsements.
  • 29.00 We talk Facebook, and how gaining traction on this platform is reliant on investment.
  • 34.00  The girls talk about their low price point and brand accessibility.
  • 35.50 Me and the girls get to grips with the S word. Does sex sell? Evidently it does for frank.
  • 37.40 The importance of not flooding your consumer base with sales messages. What do they actually want to hear?
  • 42.30 Head over to Swiftly.com for 2000 free online templates!
  • 43.00 My top three takeaways from my fireside chat with Jess and Erica.

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode


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Over to you!

Let us know YOUR key takeaways from this episode by leaving a comment below. I personally read and respond to every comment!

6 thoughts on “195 – Does sex sell? 350,000 Instagram followers of frank body scrub think so.”

  1. Simon Clarke

    Eureka!! user generated content is the answer!! I have been trying hard to figure out what content our customers want and the answer is in the inspiration of others!!

  2. That’s certainly one way, Simon. You be the primary source of creating content, but also lean on the knowledge of others. When you do, I think it’s always nice to both acknowledge them, and wrap your own thoughts and opinions around them.

  3. thefatbadger


    I’m just not convinced.

    There’s a few things that are missing from this story. Now, you normally extract all the nitty-gritty details from your interviewees but I get the feeling that you were….let’s say….distracted on this podcast…I just can’t think why?????

    There’s no denying that 350,000 instagram followers is a lot however there’s a few things I wished you had asked.

    1. What’s the segmentation of the followers? How many are in the target market, and therefore likely to purchase, and how many follow simply because of the photos?

    2. Normally you’d ask the interviewees to ‘wrap some numbers around this’. But not so this time. How much of that huge instagram following converted into sales?

    3. The response to your question about the desired result from the instagram following and why they used it was unconvincing. It’s fine to say ‘brand awareness’ that supports other marketing and promotional activities or even ‘we don’t know’. But the answer was ‘wishy washy’.

    Something else that concerned me was the response to your question about the price positioning. ‘mid market’ at around $16??? This to me, for what they state is a product with a unique element, seems entry level. However by my own admission I’m no skincare expert (but I do see the receipts my wife brings home).

    Another thing was that they haven’t been able to spend as much time on the brand as they would like. One reason was that there are 5 of them and like to take their time to make decisions. To me this response may be indicating that they don’t have clear enough responsibilities for the brand and reaching a decision everyone is happy with is often difficult. I think they need to make a tough decision and put a clear boundary between the 2 businesses; including it’s management. Markets change quickly and you need to be responsive or risk your competition moving past you while you’re stuck in deliberation.

    To me they seem to enjoy the social media side of things but are lacking in other areas of business. A business coach or some strong mentors with experience in the industry would be very useful.

    I congratulate them on what they have achieved so far and hopefully my comments are taken with the best of intentions.

  4. I really enjoyed this one, and I found a little bit inspirational. It is amazing what you can do with some solid brand building and a tiny little idea.

    I have to disagree with the fat badger on the pricing. It is “only” $14 to get into the mid range, but that is only for a very small package. They did this on purpose, and I think it is a very clever pricing strategy:
    – it is priced high, per kilogram
    – reduce the package size down so the price per unit comes down to suit the market
    – makes for free shipping!

    Good work Timbo!

  5. thefatbadger

    Yea. Great point re the price per weight.
    Makes it scary to think about the comparative price of some items eg petrol v coke per litre. Particularly when you pay $4.50 for 600ml at a service station. Then again most people wouldn’t drink a tank full a week.. Well I hope not.

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