Friday, December 01, 2006

Triumph Is Edutainment & Engagement, Not Interruption

The NYTimes reports today about Genmar Industries’ use of online product demonstrations for its line of Triumph power and fishing boats. The catch? These videos double as entertainment:
The campaign, by an agency in Durham, N.C., known as the Republik, is centered on efforts to demonstrate that Triumph boats are “the world’s toughest…Up first is what is titled the bubba test: a good ol’ boy, considering buying a Triumph boat, hitches it to the back of his pickup, without a trailer, and drives it at high speeds on dry land, bashing and bumping the boat innumerable times until it fishtails into a lake…“I’ll take it,” he tells the dealer, who replies with a nonchalant “O.K.”…The bubba test is available for viewing on a special Web site (, along with similar video clips showing Triumph boats dropping from helicopters and being pounded by sledgehammers.

Triumph executives [note] its model of engagement rather than interruption: people watching the bubba test online choose to be there, making it likely that more than a few of them are in the market for a boat…“We can start a conversation with the consumer,” said Doug Andersen, president of Triumph Boats in Durham…“And it’s measurable,” he added, referring to the ability to gather data like how long people remain on the Web site to watch the video clips and whether they click on a link to the regular Triumph Web site (
Advertising that people really want to watch? Advertising that entices prospects to assimilate with the brand? Advertising that is measurable in its ability to pull people into the sales pipeline? With a campaign budget of $250,000, it seems that Genmar Industries could have a good campaign on its hands.

But one must not omit two factors in this equation: the creative and the perceived integrity of the product plays a major role, in a high-consideration product category. While certainly not a rule, this case underscores how good creative and product, combined, can be effective with little or less paid media.

Also, the Triumph campaign has redneck and testosterone appeal. But its sensational affiliation with quality and toughness is not original for small watercraft. Credit is due to the Boston Whaler and its inventor, marketing and engineering guru Dick Fisher:

Boston Whaler was thrust into the national limelight on May 19, 1961, when Life magazine featured photographs of Fisher sitting in a boat as it was sawed in half. Subsequent photographs depicted Fisher casually driving away in only half a boat. Thus, the "Unsinkable Legend" was born.

(Time Life photo from Continuous Wave.)

Finally, here’s the buba video. Interestingly, the Toughboats site does not enable embedded video, but I found the spot on YouTube. I contacted Triumph customer service by email to tell them of this missed opportunity, and they responded in 15 minutes with this message: “THANKS YOU ARE CORRECT I WILL SEE IF THEY CAN CHANGE THAT.”


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