The Lonely Life of the Long-Distance Brander
Scott Cowan & Randall Schoonover of the Great Society
The Running Superfans campaign tells the story of Karl and Carl Underwood, Running’s #1 Superfans, metaphors for the lengths that Brooks will go to support runners and to champion the running experience. Using a carefully orchestrated mix of traditional and untraditional media to advance and provide depth to the transmedia narrative, the Superfans effort was a huge viral hit for Brooks among runners, the running blogoshere and the running press, with the videos alone amassing more than 3 million views. For a taste, go to runningsuperfans.com.
“We’re from Portland, Oregon and we help good clients build powerful brands.”
Three Simple Principles
1. The most powerful brands are leaders not followers.
This is a difficult thing to do. Challenging the status quo is a mind set. What we have to remember as marketers is that new and novel things make an impression.
2. Emotion, Not more rationality.
Have a take on the world. Neuroscientists tell us that if you want a memory to stick it has to have emotion attached to it.
3. Peer-Peer, NOT Corporation-to-consumer
Humanity is important. Strip away corporate marketing speak. Have a human over the hedge conversational tone
The Great Society motto is: THINK DIFFERENT, ACT DIFFERENT, BE DIFFERENT
Being authentically different and achieving irrational loyalty pays off:
These brands more likely to be profitable
These brands more likely to charge more for products
These brands are harder to compete with
These brands are more likely to grow their category
“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them and, sometimes, it’s an ad.” Howard Luck Gossage
Great marketing is great storytelling. More and more we are using a transmedia approach to storytelling.
We’re going to share a recent campaign for Brooks as a single case study to illustrate this approach.
Strategic context: Brooks running is a high end running shoe with eight years of continuous growth. Market research revealed that people know of Brooks Running Shoes but they don’t know them well. They have rationality but no emotion. We need love in the equation. Our job is to make people fall in love with Brooks.
Three familiar advertising conventions:
#1 Big Sweat
#2 Big Shoe
#3 Hybrid = Big Shoe + Big Sweat
There has been an enormous sea change in the running category. It is more diverse, democratic and multi-faceted. But this is being ignored.
Brooks has identified the old two-dimensional approach to running as their enemy.
The Brooks Point of View on Running: Run Happy
Runners are Machines Runners Are People
Brooks exists to be a supporter. Championing the Hell out of Running.
RunHappy is a tagline that also guides Brooks’ communication efforts as a metaphor.
In creating a campaign, they set to work on a creative brief. The kernel of the Creative Brief is that runners, unlike many sports don’t have fans, the Great Society team sought to create fans.
They created Carl Underwood, a singular super fan. As the idea evolved, Carl started to feel a little creepy. They began casting for a video and their concerns grew until the Sklar Brothers arrived. They are a comedy duo and they brought an epiphany: having two men is better than one.
All of the GS concepts were given greater dimension and playfulness by casting Carl and Karl for execution.