Patagonia’s RUFA campaign combines Sport with Environmental Awareness
A digital marketing case study showcasing the efficacy of a multistage Facebook & Instagram advertising funnel to drive event attendance and product sales within the European market.
A key focus for the European marketing team at Patagonia for Spring 2019 was Trail Running. The outdoor behemoths at Patagonia are renowned for their technical outdoor gear and 2019 had already seen European-wide marketing campaigns for their Snow line, R1 jacket and Technical Tees collections, but now it was time for the runners to take to the spotlight.
The Patagonia Trail Running collection and kit had been reimagined, one of their ambassadors was set to tour the continent, and they were on the cusp of launching their own brand new trail running race; so everything was aligned for a big trail running push, and they needed a digital marketing strategy to support this.
Event Promotion: Running Up For Air
We were approached to support and assist Patagonia as part of a three-pronged digital marketing strategy. The first of which revolved around the promotion of Running Up For Air, or RUFA; a multi-distance endurance trail run that was created to raise money in support of the fight for improved air quality for those who live in the Chamonix Valley. The RUFA event already exists across the pond but this was the first time that Patagonia had ever put on a trail run in Europe.
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The actual event involves participants running for 3, 6 or 12 hours up and down the trails of Les Planards, Chamonix, so not something for the faint-hearted. Most long distance runners plan out their race seasons months in advance; although we got the go-ahead to begin promoting the event just 6 weeks before race day, so we really had our work cut out to not only introduce RUFA to the trail runners of Europe but to encourage them to sign up and come along to the event as well.
The promotion consisted firstly of a series of boosted organic posts to raise awareness and reach as many potentially interested parties as possible. These posts introduced the RUFA race and educated our target audience on the importance of the cause. These posts were accompanied by ongoing paid Instagram Story Feed adverts both from the @patagoniaeurope and @patagoniachamonix accounts. We then pushed the actual RUFA Facebook event page, targeted at Patagonia’s existing trail running audience as well as anyone that had engaged with the initial phase of promotion.
The aim of the campaign was to get 50 trail runners over to Chamonix for the event, in the end, 84 runners went along to do their bit to promote clean air and, as a result, helped establish RUFA as a future staple in the trail running calendar.
Brand Ambassador Tour: Clare Gallagher
One of the main campaigners and advocates of RUFA is the endurance athlete and Patagonia Trail Running ambassador, Clare Gallagher. Clare set off on a European tour, including taking part in the Chamonix RUFA event, to talk about both trail running and important environmental issues. The tour visited a string of locations across Europe and of those 8 stops, 5 required promotion.
Our aim was to not only fill the events but to attract an engaged audience that cared for the cause. So, as well as targeting Patagonia’s current trail running audience with geo-specific targeting, we also used legacy campaign data to show the ads to a wider running audience combined with specific interest targeting to hone in on those most concerned with environmental issues.
The ads were successful in their objective with 48% of the total event responses for the Clare Gallagher tour attributed to the Facebook ads.
Driving Trail Running Product Sales
The objective of the first two stages of this campaign was to raise the profile of Patagonia and promote events that would resonate with the trail running community. This final stage’s objective was focused on the bottom of the funnel and aimed to generate awareness around the latest trail running product line.
The first stage of this was via boosted organic posts, organic Instagram Stories and paid Instagram Stories. The creative for which was lifestyle content that was split into three segments; men’s, women’s and unisex.
The follow-up promotion was in the form of re-marketing product carousel ads. The ads were targeted at the curated audience we had cultivated in the initial stages of the campaign. The audience being made up of;
- Browsing behaviour pixel data,
- Lookalike audiences and
- Interest-based trail running enthusiasts across the major European markets.
All ads linked through directly to a point of purchase on the website, a gender-specific trail running product range.
Marketing Campaign Results
With this digital marketing campaign, we had set out to strengthen the affiliation of the Patagonia brand with the trail running community. Throughout the entire campaign, ads reached 2,424,249 people and generated 39,663 link clicks. Both the RUFA race and the Clare Gallagher tour were well attended and the product ads saw a 217% increase in trail running store traffic when compared with the previous period, resulting in 396 purchases and solidifying Patagonia’s market positioning as a key trail running brand.
Are you a brand looking to target and engage a specific community using a multi-stage marketing funnel? Or are you looking to sell-out your next event? Maybe we can help, tell us about your plans here.