Last year’s video of Christophe Le Mevel soaring above the snowline was a good video and now Garmin have a fresh advert for their new devices featuring their team’s riders and of course the features of the product.
This blog isn’t in the habit of hosting ads for free nor wowing because a rider endorses a product. But a quick note about this clever promotion that explains the product but also exploits the obvious links to the team, famous riders and reaches out to the fans. Why isn’t every other cycling sponsor doing the same?
The ad showcases a new function. When coupled with a smartphone the GPS device will send co-ordinates to a Garmin website allowing others to track the rider as they do their thing. Before you get excited ahead of the 2013 racing season note this is banned in competition as for now the UCI forbids telemetry so you won’t be able to follow a race live.
This tracking feature could be essential for likes of Alex Rasmussen or Yoann Offredo to prevent WADA Whereabouts mistakes. But for everyone else? Well it’s ok if you’re a pro sitting around with nothing to do but drain a cup of coffee. But for “civilians” this could be a most frustrating application. You could be locked in work or stuck in the car only for your phone to beep. You discover a friend asks you to follow them as they go for a spin. Surely the only thing worse than missing a ride is knowing that someone else is out there riding whilst you’re not?
But the cleverest feature is the ad itself, the way it uses high quality photography, well known riders and the product to make a clip that fans will watch. It’s remarkable because not many others do it.
When was the last time you saw Cadel Evans doing a video for BMC? Have you seen Thomas Voeckler pulling faces as he drives a Europcar rental across the Pyrenees? Is there a Pinarello advert with Wiggins? This isn’t to say it’s not done, last summer several adverts were covered on here. It’s more that these stand out as rare exceptions. A highlight from last summer was this clip for scratch cards from the French state lottery, better known as FDJ.
But these things are rare. Yes we have posters of riders winning races in bike shops and some smaller sponsors try to exploit the links, for example the Quickstep riders posing for latex pillows. And of course, publicity on TV is the main value. But smaller examples can help reach the target audience
Take the team bike. It might be a workhorse but it is also a valuable consumer good. Every team website lists the riders and their bios but not all state what bikes the team rides; it took some detective work to compile my list of 2013 pro team bikes when it should be really easy to learn every detail of each team’s machine all year long.
The genius of the Garmin promotion is the way it uses its riders to explain the product in a message that many will watch and understand. Sponsors can have up to 30 riders on their books and winning races isn’t the only way to promote a brand.