Columbia

February 3, 2016

Challenge

Columbia Sportswear has always been a brand best known for quality and consistency – in fact – more people claim to have Columbia in their closets than any other outerwear brand in the US.  But this popularity wasn’t enough for Columbia.  They recognized a serious lack of innovation within the category and jumped on the opportunity to bring something newer, warmer, and shinier to the table.  They introduced Omni-Heat Reflective: visible innovation that uses tiny silver dots to reflect your body heat back to you resulting in a product that is 20% warmer than a traditional jacket liner. This was the biggest and most technically advanced product launch in years.

Solution

We thought the best way to illustrate the extreme warmth and comfort of Omni-Heat was to try it out on some of the coldest people on the planet.  We devised a campaign based around a series of “Cold Stunts” featuring a variety of frozen scenarios including a man in his boxers being blasted by snowballs and a bikini clad woman being towed behind a snowmobile on skis.  At the end of the spots our test subjects are rewarded with a warm and shiny Omni-Heat jacket.  The spots are unique in that they were filmed with an international cast and in Swedish, Korean and Russian languages in addition to English.  They were also filmed with the intent of running primarily on web broadcast platforms like Hulu and ABC.com.

We developed print and online components of this campaign featuring the distinctive silver interior of Omni-Heat Reflective products as a unique visual component that telegraphs warmth instantly.

Our print campaign featured Omni-Heat Technology and our “cold stunt” subjects experiencing the cold first-hand.  The campaign was supported in over 14 major print publications and included several multi-page high impact executions in outdoor, technology and sports oriented publications.

The online portion of our campaign was equally robust with a plan totaling over 500,000,000 impressions over a 3-month period.  This campaign included video and high-impact rich media units running on a wide variety of sites including Weather.com, Outside.com, Facebook, Pandora and several ad networks targeting outdoors enthusiasts.  The campaign was also supported in mobile media through partnerships with NBC and AdMob.  The centerpiece of our online efforts was a custom landing page where users are encouraged to watch more of our video content, learn about Omni-Heat and purchase items on Columbia’s new E-Commerce site.

Results

Despite the tough economy, Columbia Sportswear Company had one of their best years ever. They finished 2010 with revenue up 19% over 2009, in large part due to the success of the collective efforts around Omni-Heat.

Brand tracking demonstrated that consumers paid attention to the campaign. Both top-of-mind brand awareness and unaided ad awareness were up with our core target (Active Americans) at the end of 2010, 6 points and 4 points respectively. And they were recalling new language like technology, warmth, Omni and innovative.

Among the general population unaided ad awareness increased 4 points and we saw a 15-point increase in “Columbia is an innovative brand.” We also saw a significant (6-point) increase in brand advocacy (willingness to recommend to a friend).

From our Dynamic Logic brand study, message association and persuasion metrics ranked excellent against other retail campaigns. Furthermore, consumers in the market for sportswear became more likely to purchase Columbia following exposure to the online ads.

The engagement metrics we saw were staggering. Our average CTR was 0.38%, far above the retail category average of 0.07%. We saw the sharing rates of our video content average between 2% and 3%, far exceeding the industry average of between 0.5% and 1.5%.

Our social efforts on Facebook took our community from 65,000 Likes to over 100,000 Likes.

Not only did our audience engage with Omni-Heat, but they went on to purchase. Nine out of 10 jackets sold on the e-commerce site during our campaign were Omni-Heat. And the campaign generated $2.2MM in total revenue.