Commentary

Teens Flip For New Sport: Gtramp

As traditional youth sports continue to lose popularity, a new one has taken their place: Gtramp. Short for “garden trampoline,” it’s a sport where athletes (typically tween and teen males) use a trampoline to perform flips. It started about three years ago, and has exploded ever since on social media. Today, over 100K Instagram posts feature a #Gtramp hashtag, and some of the sport’s leading athletes have 30K-60K Instagram followers.

An entire ecosystem has developed around the sport. While it’s very much an individual, freeform pastime that anybody can do in a backyard alone or with friends, the most dedicated participants hold meet-ups, such as Gravalanche in Venice Beach, or the GT Games in the U.S., Australia and Europe.

While athletes compete at the meet-ups, theirs is a friendly competition, more about meeting like-minded people and supporting other “flippers.” Most flippers are male, with a few high-profile females, such as Brittany Hertz.

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Gtramp has its own brands, too. The trampoline brand AlleyOOP sponsors high-profile flippers like Colby Iverson. The GT Games are sponsored by companies such as SkyBound Trampolines and the Greg Roe Trampoline coaching service.

And two flippers, Andrew Friedman and Solomon Berg, started their own clothing brand, Gravitated Equations, which sponsors meet-ups and is to flipping what Speedo is to swimming.

Why has Gtramp been soaring toward the sky, and what can brands learn from it?

*It’s inclusive. Anybody with a trampoline can participate, regardless of age, gender or physical ability. Nobody needs to find a league, join a team or worry they’ll be a benchwarmer.

It’s something teens can do themselves, with a small group of friends, or with 500 people at a meet-up. There are no rules to learn or follow; everything is freeform, and everybody is learning as they go.

And while there are risks in using a trampoline, most flippers take care to put safety first, and nobody is intentionally colliding or facing off against another player. Gtramp strips away all the barriers to entry raised by most other sports.

For brands: What are the barriers to entry in your category, and what can you do to remove them so that anybody interested can participate?

*It’s a grass-roots movement. Gtramp wasn’t concocted in the boardroom of Nike or ESPN; it’s something that teens themselves developed and evangelized to others. Even the brands that sponsor it are largely home-grown; flippers wear Gravitated Equations rather than Adidas or Under Armor.

For brands: What are the movements “bubbling up” with teens on social media, and what can your brand do to support them? Your brand will make a strong impression on teens by providing them with better tools to enjoy their passions, sponsoring the leaders of teen online communities, and sponsoring events where these communities can meet up IRL (in real life).

*It provides great viral content. The rocket fuel powering the Gtramp craze has been the amazing viral content made by flippers, showing them doing up to five flips at a time.

The videos are inexpensive to make and quick to watch, but provide an “OMG” moment as you watch somebody make a seemingly impossible flip. They’re also pretty kid- and advertiser-friendly: Flippers are generally pretty wholesome and good-natured, they’re doing something athletic, and the flips look dangerous but aren’t life-threatening.

For brands: Look for ways to showcase your brand in short videos with somebody jumping, flipping, stretching or doing something else unexpected. Those videos just might go viral -- and take your brand with them.

Gtramp shows that even something as old and “low-tech” as the trampoline can be made cool again, thanks to the power of teens and the Internet.
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