In early 2013 Bubba Watson signed with Oakley after winning the 2012 Masters Tournament last spring. Since his sponsorship deal, Oakley has been wracking their brain for a proper marketing stunt. They knew with a viral video it would quickly get passed around, it was just a matter of brainstorming ideas.
Creating the world’s first golf cart hovercraft excited Watson immediately. “Bubba was out of his mind”, said Nathan Strange, the company’s head of global marketing for golf, “This is the kind of stuff he loves.”
While the makers of apparel and eyewear are not formally knowledgeable on golf cart or hovercraft design, Oakley felt confident turning to Neoteric Hovercraft in Terre Haut, Ind. to do the job.
“Bubba’s Hover” certainly intrigues any viewer, interested in golf or not. “It takes you everywhere you want to go, through sand traps, through waters, shortcuts, into the woods, out of the woods,” Watson says of his upgrade from the standard four-wheeled golf cart.
Although this video represents an innovative invention to improve some of the limitations of existing golf carts, it actually is the result of Oakley’s idea of creating a viral video to promote one of its athletes. DC SHOES did something similar in February by taking one of their sponsored athletes and creating a viral video promoting the company in the athlete’s natural setting, resulting in almost 2 million hits to date.
In just 5 days “Bubba’s Hover” has already allocated over 4 million views. With the success of this branded viral video, Oakley and Neoteric are actually considering going into the hovercraft business, especially after receiving a call from a man in Australia requesting 100, said Strange.
Based on the interest due to the popularity of the video, both companies are open to partnering after receiving 150 serious inquiries of both corporate branding and direct purchasing. Another prime example of the power of going viral.