In the campaign from The Republik, Triumph's Durham, NC-based agency, an eponymous redneck drags a Triumph boat down a highway, through the woods, slams it into a parked car and abuses it in ways too numerous to mention before fishtailing it into a lake.
The company is hoping the ad and videos on a Triumph Web site will be sufficiently appealing to take off as viral pass-alongs.
The ad uses no special effects or CGI. The actor--who actually runs a go-cart track in Arkansas--is in fact dragging the boat down roads at highway speed, through fields and into trees, according to David Smith, creative director at Republik, Triumph's agency of two years. "We have a limited budget, and we had the world's toughest boat and we knew we wanted to show that. I thought, 'Let's go the exact opposite of the direction everyone else goes in.'"
The print ads will run in 11 outdoor and fishing magazines starting this month, with TV breaking later on cable fishing channels like Fox Sports' FLW Outdoor. Print ads, TV ads and Internet efforts direct consumers to www.toughtest.com. The site has been running for several days as a test, and shows a long version of the ad, as well as a series of other videos in which the boat gets brutalized by Triumph engineers who drop it from a helicopter, and attack it with sledgehammers.
Smith said the agency this week will begin seeding hundreds of fishing and equipment blogs and Web sites to direct people to the site. "We had in the tens of thousands [of site visitors] within the first five days without seeding it," he said. Lead generation for Triumph dealers is the objective--and in the first five days, leads were up 50 percent, he said.
Doug Andersen, president of Triumph, said the point is to get as much attention as possible in a fragmented market. "We are a fairly new brand. This is the largest, most recognizable thing we have ever done. The plan is that this will be a true viral campaign, that it will have a life of its own."
Though winter might seem an odd time to launch a boat campaign, it aligns well with boat shows, which begin now and run through March.
The campaign runs through next July, said Andersen, adding that Triumph has nine current models and a new one coming out in 2007. "This is an awareness builder," he said. "We need to turn peoples' heads and get them into dealers' front doors."
Triumph is a division of Minneapolis-based boat-maker Genmar.