Author: Anna

Ah yes, it’s that season again. You know the one. The season that only comes every four years and brings with it such a hullabaloo that no one can escape the blaring images of multi-colored rings, panoramic venue shots, and tearful athletes. Social media has been buzzing about amazing feats of human endurance for the last week and a half. These successes are so amazing you might even call them Olympic.

 

Oh wait. You can’t.

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is extra committed to keeping their intellectual property to themselves and official sponsors this year. Essentially the IOC and the 11 sponsor companies own the rights to wishing athletes luck on social media, mentioning the city the games are held in, the year the games are held in, the year or the city the next two games will be held in, and adding “lympic” to the end of other words to make them sound like they have something to do with the games.

Despite the IOC “loosening” their restrictions on rules for advertising during many events that are happening in a certain South American country, it’s still a big challenge for many brands to get their campaigns on the podium.

For example, if your brand sponsored an athlete but not the Big Event itself, you could fill out waivers (which had to include your campaign plans) to the U.S Olympic Committee by the end of January 2016. This would have allowed your brand to use generic sports advertising without getting sued!

That being said, you still weren’t allowed to use certain trademarked images or phrases like what year the event happens, the name of a certain Brazilian city, or even the periodic element Au. Oh, your brand also can’t even retweet content created by an official sponsor. The IOC was clearly very generous with these “looser” terms.

Although these restrictions have led to some wonderfully creative ads, and some even better newscasts, some are questioning how these trademark laws restrict businesses’ speech and saying the USOC has overstepped the authority these laws give them. Many brands (especially small businesses) are simply asking to be allowed to retweet content or congratulate their local athletes.

All of this begs an important question: can the games be owned? Of course sponsorships are a huge part of any athletic event; for the longest time I thought Real Madrid was actually called Fly Emirates. However, with an international event the size of the Games, is it ethical to ban brands from joining the conversation entirely? The playing field is inherently uneven. A sponsorship can cost over $200 million—cash that a small business just doesn’t have. Businesses of all sizes though have the same pride in our country and athletes. Shouldn’t they be allowed to celebrate too? The spirit of the games is about opening borders and joining together in sport—not instituting petty barriers over who owns words.

With the team fresh off of Outdoor Retailer, I took a few minutes to reflect on my own experiences in the outdoor industry space. From the ten thousand lakes of my Minnesotan motherland to my new home full of purple mountain majesty, there are literally thousands of opportunities to explore the great American wilderness, but Millennials like myself just don’t. I know what you’re thinking, “can the articles about that stupid lazy generation just stop already!” Hear me out though.

We want so badly to see the world. We don’t like the stereotype of the lazy, entitled 90’s kid as much as you don’t like reading about it. We want to see mountains and lakes and everything in-between. Here’s the thing though: we’re confused, broke, and primarily urban. We are not, however, hopeless cases.

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Proof I go outside sometimes.

The outdoor industry, like many others, will benefit from targeting Millennials. We’re expected to have more purchasing power than any generation before. There are also just a lot of us, which doesn’t hurt. None of this is a surprise. Outdoor brands specifically however have several hurdles that need to be addressed before they can get a hold of such a lucrative market.

First off, products need to be marketed as more accessible. Walk into your local REI and you’ll be bombarded with tons of great gear. Where to even start? I have no idea what an ultralight synthetic hard-shell jacket that allows air permeability of 20 CFM even is. For years outdoor brands have made leaps and bounds in innovating gear to compete with each other. This technology has moved so fast with so few noticing that now, unless you’re a die-hard outdoors person, even shopping for something as simple as a shirt can make you feel alienated.

By no means should brands abandon this innovation. However, when it comes to branding, by focusing less on the specs of the gear itself and more on the lifestyle surrounding it, the products will be inherently more accessible and attractive to a wider market.unspecified-4

Outdoor brands also need to consider how Millennials will use their product. We’re broke. There’s no hiding that. We can’t simply pack up after work one day and fly to Mount Hood or the Black hills for an adventure. Instead we’re looking for adventure where we already live—typically the metropolis. Activities like paddle sports, indoor bouldering, and indoor climbing are gaining popularity. In 2014 alone, 2.8 million people in the U.S. participated in stand up paddleboarding and that number is still growing. With these activities gaining traction the demand for new gear will skyrocket: something outdoor brands should keep in mind.

Like every other industry, the success of a brand depends entirely on its ability to understand and engage with consumers. By carving out a more accessible, urban space in the existing industry, outdoor brands will effectively be able to entice the ever elusive millennial into the wild.

P.s if anyone has any pack suggestions for this clueless, broke millennial put it in the comments!

 

If you haven’t heard about Pokémon Go, you’ve either been wearing blinders for the last week or you’re lying to yourself. The augmented-reality app based around the beloved Pokémon characters already has more users than the ever-infamous dating app, Tinder (it’s good to see people have their priorities straight). Even more impressive, however, is that the number of trainers looking to “catch ’em all” is about to overtake the number of daily active users on Twitter.

Trainers are going all in, too. You may have noticed that Snapchat’s newest universal geotag gives you the option to log the number of miles snappers have traveled in their quest to be the very best there ever was. True to its name, Pokémon Go has people going.

Thanks Wazee Super Club!

Thanks Wazee Super Club!

If you have had your blinders on, let me fill you in….

Players move through their real world to find one of two places: a Pokéstop to refresh on Pokéballs, potions, and other items or to gyms where they can battle Pokémon to gain control of the location for their team (go Valor!) Both of these locations are typically places of note around your respective city. Even some of our own clients have found themselves to be Pokéstops!

Already, businesses have realized something revolutionary: these gyms and Pokéstops are absurdly efficient at luring in customers. Literally.

In the game, items called lures can be purchased using in-game currency (each one costs about 99 cents) and are essentially upgrades to increase the number of Pokémon in the vicinity for a half an hour at a time. Lures are public and show up on the app’s map so everyone can see and take advantage of them. Look at it this way, for $5 anyone can instantly make hundreds of Pokémon Go users aware of their establishment. That’s minimal spending for two-and-a-half hours with hordes of trainers looking to park it somewhere and catch Pokémon. Restaurants and coffee shops especially are capitalizing on this opportunity. At the time of this writing someone has put a lure on the Pokéstop at the restaurant right across from our office.

Even just yesterday I found myself at a new happy hour place simply because they were right on a lure site. Realistically I never would have given the place a second glance had it not been for the pretty falling petals on my app’s map. Not only was it an amazing happy hour but I also caught a Pidgeot!

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Instagram @sandwichbowl_lawrenceks

If your business isn’t on or near a Pokéstop, there are still ways to capitalize on the craze. Some places are going so far as to offer a discount to trainers from their favorite team whether it’s Instinct, Mystic, or Valor.

 

Fortunately this craze, and the opportunities it presents, is just getting started. The game creates a unique hybrid of virtual and in-person chances to get creative and goofy and interact with people who could easily become lifetime customers.

 

What is your brand doing to take advantage of the Pokécraze?

With the Cannes Lions wrapping up, I’m reminded of my own first run-ins with the finest creative that agencies have to offer. Growing up, my account executive mother decided to spearhead a Christmas Eve tradition for our family. Namely, attending a showing of The British Arrow Awards at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While to most it might seem like a waste of time to watch commercials for an hour and a half, the evening is actually a wonderful celebration of creativity in the art of advertising. Between that and our religious viewings of new episodes of Mad Men, you could say that I never stood a chance.

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So here I am: A proud Scream Agency intern. Learning how to take the pulse of what’s going on in the world and turn them into moving, memorable stories. Helping businesses be seen and heard while getting to hang out with some pretty amazing people. Needless to say it’s a pretty perfect post-grad summer.

What most people don’t realize is the blood, sweat and tears that go into curating the perfect story to tell. The Lions demonstrate perfectly ads that have successfully captured the circumstances of the world and turned them into performances. For example, this year in particular was a big year for sports. With COPA recently wrapped up, the Euro cup entering the quarterfinals, and the Rio Olympic qualifiers in full swing, it’s no wonder that the most outstanding agencies tapped into this spirit for their clients. 25% of the Grand Prix and gold winners from the two-film contest were sports-related. Of these, half were not selling sports gear. Beer behemoth Guinness won by highlighting the coming out story of rugby player Gareth Thomas. Evoking powerful emotions on the importance of teammates the spot, Never Alone, is truly goosebump inducing. Sony (TKO) and Bodyform (Blood) made waves, as well, using robust sports cinematography and themes of endurance to stand out from the competition all while not touting athletic gear.

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Using world events as a springboard for your brand’s campaign is a great way to get your audience’s attention. Beautiful imagery and clever copywriting are, of course, a must. However, there needs to be an underlying strategy of storytelling. The use of universally recognized events such as COPA or the Olympics and their themes of endurance, camaraderie, and heart makes your brand immediately accessible to millions while simultaneously making it memorable.

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