Monday, August 27, 2012

Vibram Achieves Success with Mobile Ad

As an avid smartphone user, I'm usually quite reluctant to embrace mobile advertisements. And I would assume the same goes for most individuals trying to use their phones. But despite the expected resentment towards towards this kind of interruption, Vibram has achieved success with a rich media mobile ad.

Vibram's app, supported by Amp Agency, Nail Agency, and Jumptap, uses touch screen technology to gamify the barefoot running experience. It allows users to virtually test out the versatility of Fivefingers technology on a variety of different terrains like grass, a dirt trail, and a blacktop road. To participate, users use their fingers to tap the virtual pair of FiveFingers shoes on the screen and 'run' to the nearest Vibram store. Before embarking on this virtual run, users enter their zip code to find the location of the nearest Vibram store, adding a layer of utility to the ad.    

The ad was also quite successful in driving viewers to online stores with embedded links in the app. The ad inspired 1.41% ad expansion, drove brand awareness, and resulted in a 1.3% click-through rate on iPad devices.

The mobile ad follows the correct formula for increasing mobile consumer engagement: gamification and utility. According to an executive at Jumptap, effectiveness comes from visually appealing creative, engaging content, and apt audience targeting to increase the relevancy of the rich media unit. Judging by their 60% engagement rate, Vibram achieved all three.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

REI Reveals New Partnerships

Folks at REI have certainly been busy. The leader in outdoor retail announced two new partnerships this week with LAN Airlines and Salomon Sports.

REI is working with Lan Airlines, the leading international airline in South America, to award a lucky winner an all-inclusive travel package to Patagonia. The adventure package also includes tours through Buenos Aires, Los Glaciares National Park, and Chile's Torres del Paine. REI prides itself on helping to encourage fans and customers to get out and explore the world, and this partnership seems to be an extension of that promise.

The retailer will also team up with Salomon Sports to extend their combined passion for trail running to urbanites. The companies will collaboratively host a month long trail running seminar, making 14 stops in ten states. REI and Salomon footwear specialists will present about trail running safety, accessibility of local trails, how to get involved in the trail running community. Attendees will also have the opportunity to test Salomon's line of trail shoes, the XR Crossmax, Speedcross 3, and XR Mission.

The tour seeks to embolden those who live in urban areas to step outside their fitness comfort zone and discover the trail running lifestyle. The partnership follows a common thread amongst outdoor companies, for whom education and outreach continue to be a integral component of the marketing efforts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nike Deems August 12 as 'Most Active Day' Ever

Nike has set out to make this Sunday, August 12 the most active day ever, using its Nike+ digital ecosystem. Nike+ is calling on its fan base of over 8.5 million members to engage in the "Greatness is Ours" mission by sharing their activity with fellow participants, no matter the sport or endeavor. Sunday's event will be supported heavily in Nike Running's social media channels, using the hashtag #findgreatness.

Fans can share their activities and achievements on Facebook and Twitter, which are then aggregated on an online hub, The site encourages users to interact and motivate fellow athletes to get outside and achieve fitness goals.

The endeavor is part of a the larger "Find Your Greatness" campaign story, which Nike launched on Youtube several days before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games. This is a great example of Nike's ability to keep their audience engaged by extending their story with fresh and exciting creative.

Nike launched a new spot yesterday to support the challenge.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Teva Signs on First Winter Athlete, Looks to Expand Audience

Teva, an outdoor company that has cornered the market for high quality sports sandals, has signed on its first winter athlete to support the launch of a new line of winter boots this fall. Lel Ton, a professional ski patroller and heli-ski guide, will join the rest of the Teva brand team of athletes to support the new series, known as the Lifty Collection. According to Teva, this push will represent the brand's first entrance into the winter sports market.

I'm interested to see if the new boot will gain traction with Teva's loyal fan base. Teva has achieved such credibility for their stronghold on sports sandals, which have been popularized by paddle racers, kayakers, wake boarders and other water athletes. Ton's presence could strike a chord with winter athletes who might look to Teva for their winter gear solution. Or it could be seen as a misguided attempt to enter a market already controlled by longstanding competitors. Stay tuned for updates!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nike vs. Adidias: 2012 Olympics Edition

The 2012 Olympics mean big business for sport apparel leaders Nike and Adidas. Every four years, the Nike-Adidas rivalry is revived during the Olympic Games, but this year it’s more heated than usual. Adidas has invested an estimated $150 million to become the official sponsor of Olympic athletes, and Nike’s not happy.

The problem stems from Nike sponsored athletes donning the official Adidas sponsored Olympic gear. In past Olympic Games, the two companies have upheld a gentleman’s agreement that allowed for sponsorship conflicts to be overlooked. Now, with more money on the line, Nike and Adidas are no longer content sharing the spotlight.

In recent days Nike sponsored athletes have taken to Twitter in protest of Olympic rule 40, which prohibit athletes from advertising for non-Olympic sponsors. The Olympic committee stresses the fact that this rule is only active for 30 days every four years and hardly makes an impact on existing sponsors. Nike doesn’t see it that way, and neither do the athletes who have a personal service agreement. They know it's Nike who will continue paying bills after the Olympics, and none are keen to endanger that relationship. Adidas’s $150 million gamble might ultimately hurt the brand’s perception if athletes continue to voice their disgruntlement over not wearing their beloved Nike products.

The conflict sheds light on the ever-problematic details surrounding athletes and sponsorships. In order for celebrity brand ambassadors and spokespeople to be credible in the eyes of consumers, they should be donning one and only one logo.

 *Thanks to Mark Stephens, our Media Team intern, for the guest post!

The North Face Nods to Heritage with "Back to Berkeley" Boot

It's often easy to forget that The North Face, now heralded as one of the most innovative and comprehensive solutions for climbers, hikers, runners and outdoor enthusiasts, began as a modest mountaineering store in a small Bay Area neighborhood back in 1966.

But much like Merrell has done with the Origins Collection, TNF has introduced their "Back to Berkeley" Boot in an effort to return to their 1960s California roots. The boot mixes brand heritage with the modern technical innovations that have enabled TNF to ascend the ranks in outdoor gear. The boot, available in three color sets, incorporates 4-season protection from the elements, waterproof mudguard and Hydroseal membrane, and a layer of insulation to protect feet from the cold.    

The boots will launch in October as part of the Fall/Winter 2012 line and will be available in TNF stores for $170. I'm interested to see if they'll feature the new style in advertising across print, digital, and TV.