On 14th October 2012, the world stopped to watch Felix Baumgartner’s incredible Red Bull Stratos jump from the edge of space, 127,852 feet in the air. Almost a year and a half later, GoPro, the high-definition personal camera company, released stunning new shots of the jump filmed from seven of their cameras placed on Baumgartner’s body and capsule. This footage was first released as an advert during the 2014 Super Bowl, one of the world’s most lucrative commercial windows, and their ability to compete on this platform emphasises the growth in both size and influence that GoPro has made in the last few years. From humble beginnings in 2004, GoPro has grown to become a company worth billions of dollars and a source of seemingly limitless creativity.
The GoPro camera was originally created by founder Nick Woodman as a way for surfers to catch high quality images of themselves in action. Its practical size and weight, coupled with the high quality nature of the resulting images and videos, ensured that the outputs from the camera were instantly eye-catching. The attraction of the content is clear – one could, cheaply and simply, capture high quality footage that would have previously been almost impossible. Before GoPro, the rare clips that people may have of themselves being active would, at the very least, require a skilled assistant. GoPro removed this barrier and created an incredibly open platform for creativity to be unleashed.
It was not long before the cameras spread beyond surfers and sport, with the adaptability of the camera meaning that there is very little that couldn’t (or hasn’t) been captured by the devices. The first-person nature of the footage means that amateur GoPro clips can easily go viral. This video of a man’s unique relationship with wild lions in South Africa and this video of a Californian fireman saving a stricken kitten emphasise both the versatility of the camera and the appetite for unprecedented point-of-view filming. That little kitten’s re-awakening has been viewed over 20 million times…
With such watchable content and eye-watering YouTube numbers, brands did not need a second invitation to join the party. With GoPro’s foundations built upon capturing extreme sports footage, brands with properties in the sporting world were unsurprisingly at the forefront of the movement. As well as Felix Baumgartner’s Stratos jump, Red Bull have used the cameras to exhibit the most watchable of films utilising sportsmen and women from their extreme sports roster.
Here at Synergy, we are always looking to integrate new and innovative tech into our campaigns and exciting use of GoPro cameras can be seen through the BMW #Tweetchariot activity around the RBS 6 Nations. An inventive use of the technology, the #TweetChariot will build on current Sweet Chariot activity and act as a roving behind-the-scenes reporter offering a new angle of insight for rugby fans.
With sports fans exhibiting both a voracious appetite to get as close as possible to sportspeople, as well as an increased sense of alienation from their increasingly monied heroes, point-of-view content can help elite sports clubs and teams deal with the tricky double-edged sword of modern fandom. GoPro gives an opportunity to sidestep increasingly mundane tactical pieces that offer only a mirage of ‘behind the scenes access’ in favour of truly insightful content. As a continuation of their impressive and innovative digital work, Manchester City are predictably ahead of the curve. In the Summer of 2013, they released unprecedented footage of their players on pre-season in America using a GoPro. The content gives a view of elite sportsmen in training, joking around and even walking out for a match in front of tens of thousands of fans. FC Porto of Portugal have followed City’s lead and it must be hoped that other sports teams pick up the creative baton and run with it.
With companies increasingly looking to GoPro and the like to keep their brands fresh, it is incredibly exciting to see the ground-breaking ways in which this technology will be used. Other companies will begin to present a sustained challenge to GoPro’s current dominance of the market and this will catalyse creativity and lead to further innovation. Google Glass, in particular, will look to take wearable tech to the next level through increased digital integration, however the accessibility and affordability of these products at the moment still presents a barrier to widespread use.
Typical of their brand personality, GoPro are themselves not resting on their laurels. Company employees talk excitedly about the low cost ‘GoPro drones’ that can deliver controllable air-based filming to push boundaries of amateur filming even further. Through their various communications channels, they also continue to release distinct footage daily from around the world and their mutually beneficial sponsorships of daredevils such as record-breaking surfer Kelly Slater and wing-suit pilot Jeb Corliss show their understanding for the needs of association with those that live the brand and push boundaries. As Woodman has previously stated, these partnerships are all based on authenticity. These daredevils are not purely producing content as they are compelled to but also because they can see the value of the product and love the footage that it produces. As founder Woodman himself explains, this authenticity is at the very heart of GoPro’s general marketability and success: ‘People love to self-document and are so happy with the content that is produced that they will give GoPro credit: ‘My GoPro ski trip’, ‘My GoPro trip to the park’ etc. It is a marketers dream.’
By Rob Guppy on February 21st, 2014
Tags: Blogging, Brand marketing, Branded content, Content, Creative, Default, Digital marketing, GoPro, Innovation, Media, Red Bull, Sponsorship, Sport, Synergy, Synergy Loves, Synopsis, Twitter, Viral Marketing