Where does a brand go when it is looking to reinvent its consumer perception? In the case of Timex, company executives went to some of YouTube’s biggest stars turning to Frisbee trick-shot artist Brodie Smith and extreme sport videographer Devin Graham, aka Devin Supertramp. Launching the company’s new large-scale social media campaign, called the #MyExpedition Project, to promote the company’s Expedition watch, the one-two punch paid off, as the video quickly broke a million views and made Brodie #1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. The video can be found here.
The #MyExpedition Project was launched to “spark conversation and to encourage moments of personal exploration and discovery, Timex is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to create and share original and engaging content on Instagram” while collaborating with Outside Magazine by offering a grand prize trip for the winner and a guest to select from Machu Picchu, British Columbia, Costa Rica, Alaska, and others for their ultimate trip.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Timex Brand Director Sam Martin about the company’s sports marketing strategy, the campaign and how the brand is evolving.
Martin on marketing through sports: We have had the opportunity to develop a few new programs that bring the product to life and appeal to a new generation of consumers. Timex has a long, extraordinary history – 160 years – of watch-selling experience, but we are really excited to bring new products to life, particularly a new consumer, the 18-45 year old. On the Ironman side, we recently changed strategy. We were historically sponsoring the big tentpole events, the New York Marathon for example. They were amazing partners and terrific to work with, but we recognized that we were really a small fish in a big pond of sponsors. So we reset our strategy about a year and a half ago to focus on more local events, smaller, grassroots races where we could get a much bigger group of runners overall who were geographically dispersed.
On the Expedition brand: We actually haven’t spent a ton of money in several years on the Expedition brand and yet we’ve got a product to really appeals to that outdoor-minded consumer. We tested a little bit on social media last year, kind of a beta version of the #MyExpedition program, where we asked people to share their content and outdoor adventures for a chance to win a watch. Based on the result we came from that, and Instagram in particular, it gave us the idea that we should expand this and find a publication partner that can help us bring this to life and that’s where Outside came into the mix.
On content: We sat down with Catalyst, which has a great creative department with new ideas we could use, and then with Outside, which is so right for that consumer we are trying to appeal to. We pulled those partners together to do some brainstorming. We didn’t want to put a lot of shackles on the consumer base because they are creating so much beautiful content on their own, so we really just wanted to help them develop that content to be able to share on their own and also to win a trip as an incentive. That’s where the whole program started. It was about turning the camera around and letting the customer base drive it. We also wanted to seed it in a big way, by taking somebody who already had a big following with the younger demographic. We landed on naturally on Devin Supertramp and got Brodie Smith through them, who has his own following. It was a really natural partnership and ended up being a version of what their Expedition would be.
On results: We are up to around 1.3 million people who probably haven’t had a lot of interaction with Timex, so it was a really nice bridge of getting in front of this consumer who we had been inspiring to have, but not necessarily connecting with, at least on their terms with something that was cool and compelling.