Whether it’s a five second Vine of your roommate doing a drunken back-flip, an Instagram mash-up of the last concert you were at, or a GoPro video of you jumping off a cliff in Jamaica, technology has made capturing an experience authentically and effortlessly extremely simple. While drunken back flips are good for a laugh, user-generated adventure sport videos are grabbing more eyeballs than ever.
Check out this Vimeo production by French free-diving champions Guillaume Nery and Julie Gautier. Nery is captured base-jumping at Deans Blue Hole by girlfriend, Gautier. The entire video was produced on breath hold and has over 16 million views.
I’m assuming that knocked your socks off, so you’re forgiven for not noticing the subtle little branding moment three minutes in. As the soundtrack soars and Nery touches down on the ocean floor, he faces the camera and thrusts his Sony-Ericson emblazoned chest toward the camera for a few seconds.
Subtlety seems to be the name of the game in the adventure sports realm. Competing with or trying to upstage these amazing men and woman who are pushing the limits of human possibility is both futile and inauthentic.
Nobody understands this better than Red Bull. While Baumgartner’s Stratos jump made history and revolutionized the way people thought about branded entertainment, it demonstrated immense restraint on Red Bull’s part. The video wasn’t splashed with the Red Bull logo nor was Baumgartner pictured swigging from a can of the energy drink before he gets his “wings”. Instead Red Bull demonstrated its commitment to this incredible endeavor and managed to silently elevate its brand by association. GoPro recently released the Red Bull Stratos footage filmed from Baumgartner’s perspective, giving itself and Red Bull a whole lot of brand buzz.
Both Red Bull and GoPro have been long time supporters of user-generated adventure content. In fact Red Bull has hundreds of “brand ambassadors” who travel the world doing an array of unbelievable things and capture it on video. By associating with people who encapsulate what it wants its brand to represent, Red Bull’s letting its brand spread its wings in the most authentic way possible.
Needless to say, none of this would be possible without the immense creative liberty, reach and versatility that the online video format provides for. In fact, GoPro just partnered with Microsoft to launch a GoPro on-demand video channel on XBOX Live, demonstrating that this trend is here to stay.
Finally, watch this preview for a movie sponsored by The North Face, which features free rock climber Alex Honnold and echoes the “go subtle” trend in adventure sport related entertainment.