Let’s think of the last fishing advertisements you’ve seen. What did it look like? I think there are only two or three anyway… so let’s be specific.
First you have the NASCAR type. These generally target the gear-side of the industry. Musically, we’ve probably got some lightly distorted electric guitar riffs. Visually, we’ve got short cuts. Bass boat. Hook set on the bow. Rod bent to about the midpoint. Aggressively postured fish-grip. Lure colors are garish reds, or cream white. Soft plastics are muted. Narration throughout, emphasizing numbers and specifications if possible. As if numbers have anything to do with fishing.
Option two is less specific, but it’s dust-covered. The transition between shots is less jumpy, and the mood is milder overall. Some quieter guitar music, acoustic optional. Emphasize family. Emphasize tradition. Emphasize values. Bass Pro Shops has run some of these recently I believe…
Don’t even get me started on commercials that are lazy enough to use the dopey-fisherman stereotype…
In fly fishing, we’re working with a smaller market segment, so there are less TV spots. That being said, there are corporate messages that get across. These generally come from our film festivals, digital media, branding, word-of-mouth, etc. Irregardless, there are only a few messages. Quality comes first, but tradition is a close second. Hardy’s logo is the turret of a castle, Eagle Claw drapes the American flag on their brand, and Orvis is old enough to have sold Jesus a rod or two.
Anyway, that’s not necessarily my point. In particular, I want to talk a bit about how this seeps into conservation marketing as well. But first I’ll have to talk about something no one wants to talk about… PokemonGo.
PokemonGo is an alternate reality game wherein players walk around the real world looking for imaginary animals/characters called pokemon. Once you find a pokemon, you do your best to catch it before it runs away. Anyway, there’s a ton of crap you can do in the game, but the main goal is to “catch ’em all” (i.e. all 150ish pokemon). You’ve likely seen a bunch of kids walking around your neighborhood recently. Their necks are bent at 90 degree angles, and their eyes are physically attached to their phones.
That’s PokemonGo, but that’s not all it is. PokemonGo is a market force. It added $11 BILLION to the net worth of Nintendo in the week of its release. There are about 7 billion people on earth. If every one of them put a dollar into a pot, planet earth could not buy PokemonGo.
I love my TROUT (unlimited) magazine. But the last issue was “Pride” themed. There’s nothing wrong with pride. It’s evocative, relatable, and a catchall for a broad range of other emotions. But we’re targeting the same demos that the commercial guys target, and that excludes the young. These tactics target the white, the pocketbook, the tradition, the fathers, the male, the family values, but more importantly, the old.
I have a confession to make. I play PokemonGo.
It’s a silly game, but it’s fun for the same reasons that fishing is fun. It’s getting outside and exploring what’s around you. It’s the unknown. It’s the excitement of catching something you never have before. It’s ‘adding something to your list.’ It’s making friends in a community of other players and interacting.
The similarities are actually laughable. In a void of information regarding pokemon location, theories have risen based upon time of day, location, day of week, population density, etc. Other people ferociously counter with their own rumors or theories. Players chum-the-water (so to speak) using in-game “incense” or “lures” to attract pokemon.
Anyway, this game is an $11 billion dollar giant for a bunch of the same reasons that I enjoy fishing.
Maybe… perhaps… we could start leveraging those assets to draw people into fishing?
Maybe we can retire some of the tropes we currently find in our collective marketing handbooks?
Maybe we can get a new generation involved in protecting our wildlife?