To build buzz for its coverage of the 2010 Winter X Games, ESPN launched the Snowcam experience on the slopes of Aspen, CO, in the week before the event, which ran January 28 to 31. The sports channel set up an “extreme” ski and snowboard track where brand ambassadors signed up skiers of all ages to strap on a pair of hi-def, helmet-mounted webcams called a Snowcam. The brave skiers hit the slopes, tried to catch air off a little ramp mid-course and coasted into the finish with a cheer (or a sigh of relief, if survival was the objective.) Before the Snowcam experience hit the slopes, ESPN deployed street teams in-market, shooting video coverage and inviting consumers to be the stars.
It wasn’t just about on-site fun, though. Those videos were posted to an X Games YouTube channel and propagated all over the web via viral posts and reposts, all of which contributed to the brand’s larger goal of driving increased viewership. Before the folks hit the course, each one picked up a new nickname (i.e. Ken “the Mad Irishman” Briodagh). Then post-run, that nickname was used in the creation of the final video. Each skier or boarder filmed the footage for a mock action movie trailer, starring themselves, under the new moniker. ESPN posted the videos to YouTube and encouraged the consumers to repost them everywhere, and of course to watch the games. All in all there were about 420 videos posted with each one generating about 30 views online.
“We were trying to reach fans on a grassroots level because the X Games has always been on a more community-oriented level,” Lorelei “Gnar” Wall, marketing director at ESPN, told Buzz. “This was kind of a test to see if there was an appreciation for [the event]. ESPN is trying to find new ways to connect at a grassroots level.” Agency: rEvolution, Chicago.