Active Marketing

Athletes are a special breed. Marketing to athletes requires a balance of creativity, intense research, and a deep truth that may be absent in other genres. When it comes to their gear, active people are deep thinkers. Research shows that what we call AHLs (active, healthy lifestyle) tend to spend more money on products that have been deeply considered and researched. Simply put, AHLs realize that you pay for what you get. 

In 2015 I spent months researching and reporting on the buying and consuming habits of AHLs. All of this work was a contribution to a greater book by the Seattle marketing agency Williams-Helde. You can request a copy of the book through Williams-Helde's webpage. 

Bringing Dreams to Fruition

It's not too often in life we have the opportunity to bring pie-in-the-sky dreams to reality. With the DreamRide project, everything I ever wanted to do creatively was brought to life by an amazing team of people. This wasn't a simple story to execute. Dozens of ideas were tossed around. Some were great. Some were simply terrible. In the end I decided on something that held true to the original concept of something along the lines of Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go. I wanted riding a bike to be a metaphor for life - the ups and downs, highs and lows. 

 

This project was created as a product launch video for Diamondback's LevelLink suspension platform. It was a huge initiative for the company, which in turn made it a huge project for me to execute perfectly. The athlete in the video, Mike Hopkins, was a crucial component to this story and his role went well beyond riding the bike. Mike's relationship with a production house in Rossland, BC ended up being the golden ticket to make this project shine. Juicy Studios is responsible for a number of beautiful video pieces, but the one that resonates most to me is Life Cycles - one of mountain biking's most progressive and cinematically breathtaking videos. The brains behind the operation at Juicy are filmer, director Ryan Gibb, and editor Scotty Carlson.

Early talks with Mike, Scotty, and Ryan had us all eager to get rolling on this project. It was different, creatively inspiring, and we thought it would make people talk- the goal of any marketing video. After sussing out the basic shot list and storyline, filming began in southern Utah. We brought on Scott Secco from Victoria, BC as an additional filmer and drone operator, and Bruno Long of Revelstoke, BC as the project still photographer. Bruno's role ended up expanding into camera assistant, prop builder, etc. He was invaluable. 

The boys set off on a three week road tripping adventure through the American west. With filming taking place in Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, they were truly on a mission of greatness. The best and worst part of a project like DreamRide is the insane amount of quality footage that gets created. Only so much can be crafted into a final product. The rest ends up on the cutting room floor, which is a sad fate for so many beautiful shots (though we are currently exploring ways to utilize some of this leftover footage). The editing process was laborious, and that's putting it kindly. After Gibb and Secco finished shooting, the drives were handed off to Scotty, where he and Mike spent sleepless months creating what would end up being an award-winning five minute short. 

My original script was long and energetic. After watching the footage it was decided that the mood needed to shift to something a bit more dynamic and the story shortened. Mike and I rewrote the script dozens of times and he finally called it good when we were nearing the production deadline. The result was five minutes of beauty, inspiration, creativity, and amazing riding, and I couldn't be more proud of the project. 

Does Size Matter?

We are creators of content. This can be anything from a well-thought out journalistic article, a photo gallery for a product launch, or a short film showcasing an athlete, event, or something else. For the past 3 years I'd been pining to tell the stories of the digging/build crews at Red Bull Rampage, the premiere event in mountain biking. If you're unfamiliar with the event, get up to speed here

In October 2015 we were finally granted permission to shoot on the premises of the sacred Virgin, Utah grounds. We chose to work with the build teams of event favorite Graham Agassiz, potential dark horse Tyler McCaul, and Diamondback's great hope, Carson Storch. What resulted was a short film that showcases immense emotion and effort- but simply a small slice of the pie that is Red Bull Rampage.


When producing this piece we struggled with the length. Did it make more sense to create one long-form piece or multiple pieces that create sort of a mini-series? When considering our target audience- action sports enthusiasts and mountain bike lovers everywhere- we were really on the fence about what to do. On one had, shorter content is easier to absorb and digest. On the other, it just fades into the background quickly and has less of a chance to make an impact on the viewer. With this last thought in mind we opted to make a longer piece.

At over 17 minutes it was a big risk. The average mountain bike video clocks in around 2.5 minutes. However, the this isn't an average video, and it's not telling an average story. Each team is well documented within the piece, and since each has a vastly different story, the length was easy to comprehend. Once the piece was released there were few complaints about length. We heard the story was engrossing to the point of not even realizing the time had passed.

What are your thoughts on content length? Does size matter or does it really just depend on the story being told?

Z Girls

Last year I came into contact with a company called Z Girls. Essentially Z Girls is run by two women who are creating an avenue where young girls and women can use their experience in athletics as a way to gain more confidence in other areas of their lives. The sessions are run by elite female athletes known as Leaders. The Leaders take groups of girls that are in their simiar sport, or one that has similar dynamics and they run through a cirriculum of activities that teach girls all about self confidence, motivation, peer pressure, and other issues that adolescent girls face each day.

Recently Z Girls held an Evening of Empowerment in Sammamish, Washington. We were asked to capture the excitement of the evening through video. My friend John Murphy was behind the lens and together we were able to create something that seemed to encapsulate the vibe of the event.

Check out Z Girls at http://www.zgirls.com

Athlete bio video: Mike Hopkins

When it came time to announce Diamondback Bike's latest addition to their athlete roster, we were tapped to make something original that differs from the standard "welcome to the team" video. Mike's personality is electric and he's truly Canadian and not afraid to poke a little fun at his quirks. We think this video shows off his personality, brand, and the bike he's representing, the Diamondback Mission. 

Marketing to the Active Healthy Lifestyle sector with Williams-Helde

In December 2014 we were asked to help with a massive undertaking: create a guide that would help brands - of any type- market to people who practice an active, healthy lifestyle. This could be someone who is dedicated to sport and fitness, someone who is an extremel healthy eater, or even someone who just loves athletic fashion (hello yoga pants!) We teamed up with six individuals to hear their stories of fitness and health and got real-life anecdotal information on brands that are doing it right. The guide should be out in Q2 of 2015. Stay tuned for a link to download!

The above photo is one from our shoot for the guide. The model is Alexandra Sweeney, a certified yoga teacher, triathlete, and Flywheel instructor. 

Beyond the Bike Episode 11: Jill Kintner

Jill Kintner is one of the most dominant names in women's mountain biking. She's been racing professionally for several decades and is the most decorated female gravity racer on US soil. Her story goes well beyond her race victories though, back to a place of family and incredible dedication. For our 11th episode of Beyond the Bike we stayed right here in the PNW and got to know Jill and her husband Bryn a little bit better.