Tri Wars was a campaign developed for the spring/summer/fall racing season of 2011. The campaign pitted professional triathletes sponsored by our two brands, Fuji & Kestrel, (playfully) against each other. The underlying concept was, with two viable lines in the triathlon market, if either is going to lose out on sales to another brand, we want it to be to one of our own, not to another company.
The production began with a jammed packed 2-day photo shoot with athletes and the talented photographer Eric Wynn. The cooperation, buy-in, and energy I received from these athletes truly made this campaign possible. Which brings me to my Rule #1 of a successful marketing campaign: Work with good people.
Phase 2 was to review the assets and bring together the design team to develop the look and feel of the campaign. It was decided to go with an in-your-face “street” look for the “Team Fuji” vs. “Team Kestrel” assets, and a throw-back boxing theme for the specific Matty Reed vs Andy Potts – the respective brands’ premier athletes (& two of the top in the sport).
The campaign was implemented in three phases:
- Static Engagement – I strategically laid out an ad plan with heavy impressions in the late winter/early spring – the height of consumer interest in new equipment – as well as key issues/months leading up to big events where many of our athletes would be competing.
- Interactive Engagement – Once the message was out in the marketplace, and spring events were drawing near, we engaged our fan base thru our brand Facebook pages, as well as a third “spin-off” page dedicated to the Tri Wars campaign. Through the three pages we created an environment of tongue-in-cheek Fuji vs Kestrel animosity amongst our consumers, and even had our pro athletes join in the fun of smack talk about who/which were the better athletes/bikes. We also used this platform to inform our customer base as to what races our athletes would be attending so they could come meet with them (and their bikes, of course).
- Dynamic Engagement – The final phase was to fully engage the consumer with the athletes and equipment. We did so by executing a number of dealer visits and race expo appearances. Here, athletes were able to directly interact with their heroes, check out their bikes, and walk away with Fuji & Kestrel branded paraphernalia.
- Synergic Engagement – The effort comes full circle and is complete when these legions of fans (whether already Fuji or Kestrel riders or not), fresh off being rewarded thru dynamic engagement with our athletes, spread the word of their experience or join the online “war” as allies to their idol pros.
The campaign culminated in two premier events throughout the season. The first, mid-way through the race calendar where we had six total athletes racing in the Philadelphia Triathlon. The lead sponsor of the event caught wind of our “Tri Wars” and offered to put up additional $10,000 in prize money to use at our disposal. We opted to dangle a $6000 bonus to be split by the team of two males and one female per brand that clocked the fastest cumulative “team” time.
We then used the balance of the money to post an additional bonus to the winner of the head-to-head battle of Potts vs Reed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona (IM), Hawai’i.
Overall the campaign was a rousing success. Online traffic and interaction was up, event crowds were endless, and we posted very favorable results at the famed “Kona Count” – an annual measuring stick that analyzes brand preference by top athletes at the IM World Championships event – with Fuji growing in number of bikes raced in Kona by 240% over recent years, and Kestrel up 54%.