Storytelling Weekly – #027 Darn Tough

In April 2021, I had my first shocking experience of hiking.

I spent 4 hours conquering the North Peak of HeHuan Mountain (3,422m).

It was a disaster for my feet, taking over a month to recover.

So, when two years later…

(on a random afternoon on Feb 4, 2023)

My wife texted me:

“Oh, by the way—we’re going to climb Mt. Jade Main Peak (3,952m) next month… on March 4.”

by Tracy, 15:20, Feb 4, 2023

It’s hard to describe my feelings.

First, I felt betrayed…

Second, I felt devastated.

Third, I said:

“I needed better hiking socks.”

So, my wife made it up to me by gifting me two pairs of –

Darn Tough Hiking Socks.

(it’s probably the best socks I’ve ever worn…)

(but, no, it did not make up for the betrayal)

(and, no, I’m not going on any hiking trip EVER)

Recap of Storytelling Weekly

Before diving in, here’s a quick recap for newcomers just tuning in to my One Story A Week Series. 

  • Once a week, I’ll find an interesting brand to study.
  • I’ll break down what I like about their storytelling techniques.
  • Then, I’ll show you how to utilize these techniques in email.
Full Disclaimer

I don’t have any insider info or access to their account. So, I’m writing based on studying their website, interviews, and emails. However, I don’t have proof of earning claims or results of specific campaigns.

Now, there won’t be any “hard selling” in this series, but – 

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Brand Introduction

Ecommerce Email Marketing - Darn Tough Logo

Darn Tough was launched in 2004.

It had only one principle – to create the “best ever” socks.

Well, this Vermont brand kind of lived up to the hype…

For over 20 years, they continued to use Merino wools to make the most comfortable, durable, moisture-wicking, and thermoregulating socks.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast… and haven’t tried Darn Tough yet… then you’re missing out!!

Storytelling Tactics

When trying to be “THE BEST,” there will always be a bank of stories you can tell. From the origin idea…

…to the creation challenge

…to the manufacturing difficulty

…to the business operation

…to the marketing.

(and everything in between)

All of these stories help create your positioning of the best.

But, even with all these stories, you still lack something – 

A proof that can demonstrate your confidence, destroying all competitors.

And this is where Darn Tough’s ambitious warranty stands out:

Unconditionally Guaranteed for Life

“If these aren’t the longest lasting socks you’ve ever owned, you can return them to us for another pair. No receipt needed, just the pair in question.”

Darn Tough Warranty

This warranty settles the game.

Because no other brands are confident enough to offer the same guarantee.

(I know because I had to wrestle a past client – who also sold hiking socks – through endless irritating meetings… only to FAIL in extending their one-year guarantee)

Email Tip of The Week

Risk reversal is one of the core elements of persuasion.

When you include one…

It will always certainly increase your sales.

But the good news?

In general, most people never ask for a refund/exchange.

So, it doesn’t really increase your cost as much as businesses fear.

And that’s why when I first started writing promotional campaigns, my mentor told me:

“If you have a good guarantee, always put it front and center for your promos.” (along with the BJO and the deadline)

It’s one of the easiest ways to boost sales.


It’s funny how many brands claim they have the best quality…

Yet, they are terrified of providing an ironclad guarantee.

It’s like…

Claiming you’re brave but insist on holding hands while going to the restroom at night. This behavior will destroy any credibility you have.

So, do better.

And if you want help creating a better offer, you can find me here.