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SAN FRANCISCO For the launch of its newest cameras and software, GoPro focused on two things: introducing the product to fans worldwide and providing an opportunity for its target audience—influencers, journalists, and sponsored athletes—to test the products firsthand. Working with experiential marketing agency Pen&Public, GoPro created a unique launch event September 28 in San Francisco that achieved both of those goals.
“We delivered on the news—meaning we didn’t bring people out to an event only to have them say ‘ I came out for this?’” said Kelly Baker, GoPro’s senior director of product and lifestyle public relations. “We know they took time out of their day and schedule, and we wanted to make it worthwhile.”
More than 200 invited guests gathered in the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences in the morning to hear from GoPro C.E.O. Nick Woodman. Baker said they chose this venue because the dome structure allowed them to show GoPro’s capabilities with 360-degree content while Woodman was speaking about the new Hero6 and Fusion cameras.
“It felt more like a ride than a keynote, and I think that was really true to their brand,” said Liam Smith, C.E.O. of Pen&Public. “We were able, by manipulating content and manipulating where people looked in the dome at certain times, to actually make it feel as if it was moving, which was a really cool feeling.”
To reach a worldwide audience, the presentation was streamed live on GoPro.com, the first time the brand has done that.
Following the presentation, about 180 of the guests spent the rest of the day testing the cameras while participating in a variety of adrenaline-fueled activities. Organizers divided them into groups, gave each person a set of gear that included a new camera and SD card, and sent them around the city with the help of GoPro brand ambassadors. Some groups went on seaplane or hydrofoil rides while others rode go-karts, went kayaking, or took a private tour of the Museum of Ice Cream pop-up exhibition.
To maintain participants’ enthusiasm as they traveled for as long as 30 minutes from one activity to another, GoPro provided unusual transportation solutions including vintage VW buses, BMW M6 convertibles, and more. “We did our best to make the transportation to and from seem just as exciting as the activity itself,” Baker said.
The experience ended in the evening with a party at Spark Social, with dinner provided by food trucks and a question-and-answer session with Woodman. Baker said that while it was logistically challenging to coordinate so many different activities around the city over the course of nine hours, it created exactly the sort of authentic, engaging experiences they wanted for their guests.
“We gave them experiences that for a lot of them were once in a lifetime,“ she said. “We gave them a day they’ll probably never forget. And we had all these people making it this really easy, seamless, effortless experience so they could just be there and enjoy and capture it on GoPro. I think everyone walked away with a real high.”